Page 2 - Work Force July-August 2016
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Photo of the Month
CSEA rejects corporatization of New York State Fair
SYRACUSE — Will the New York State Fairgrounds’ brand new entrance gates soon read “Welcome to the Six FlagsTM State Fairgrounds” or “Welcome to DisneyTM Northeast?”
That’s one of the disturbing possibilities following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement
about the creation of a task force to examine the possibility of transferring ownership and/or operation of the fairgrounds to a private corporation.
The announcement came as Cuomo visited the fairgrounds for a public progress report on the $50 million renovation project underway at the fairgrounds.
Already, the idea that the state might privatize such an important and historic location is being met with skepticism and opposition.
“Our fairgrounds belong to the people of New York, and they are already being run effectively by the best workers around,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “We need to keep our state workers operating our state fairgrounds.”
Understandably concerned are
the nearly 100 state Department of Agriculture and Markets workers represented by CSEA who work at the fairgrounds. The workers recently met with CSEA representatives to discuss
   Photo by Wendi Bowie
Former CSEA Suffolk County Local activist and current Retiree Division member Bill Parente becomes immersed in his work at the Long Island Veterans Committee car wash. The car wash is an annual event with all proceeds going to veterans in need. See pages 3 and 5 for more about CSEA’s commitment to veterans and veterans’ causes.
Westchester County workers fight
Andy Clark and General Mechanic Ryan Paige work to repair a fire hydrant last year in Chevy Court at the New York State Fiargrounds.
our union’s opposition to privatization. Even though the new state task
force has not yet met, CSEA has already contacted representatives from the Office of the State Comptroller, several members of the State Legislature (who would eventually have to vote on any privatization), and the acting state
fair director to share their concerns. The task force is expected to make its recommendations by the end of December.
Meanwhile, the hard work of preparing for the annual State Fair is what consumes the daily efforts of the CSEA workers, who are putting the finishing touches on the fairgrounds to ready them for the fair’s August 25 opening.
For the 26th consecutive year, CSEA will have an informational booth in the fair’s Center of Progress Building that is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
— Mark M. Kotzin
 for fair pact
Westchester County Unit member Ronald Kachnic, a senior maintenance mechanic 3 at the county Department of Environmental Facilities’ Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Plant, demonstrates outside the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains on June 7 in support of the county agreeing to a fair, equitable contract with our union after more than four years without a contract. Unit members and supporters were fired up as they rallied in a series of informational pickets. Informal talks continue, but the negotiations process has remained stalled post fact-finding. CSEA unit leaders have been firm in their stance that any contract with health insurance contributions should not create undue hardship on the lowest paid workers. Despite the stall after fact-finding, unit leaders still hope to soon have an agreement to bring back to their members.
 Former Taconic DDSO Local President Debbie Downey, 62
 2 The Work Force
Downey died suddenly on June 13. She was a longtime union activist, sitting on the CSEA Board of Directors as a mental hygiene representative and serving several times on the
CSEA is mourning the loss of Debbie Downey, 62, who retired in 2013 after serving many years as a Taconic DDSO Local activist, including as local president from 2001 until her retirement.
state contract negotiating committee. Downey was also a former Southern Region vice president. She spent
her 38-year career with the state as
a stores clerk on the Taconic DDSO campus in Wassaic.
Recently, Downey had stepped up to serve as recording secretary for the Dutchess-Putnam Retiree Local.
She is survived by her husband, Thomas Downey, three children
and five grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial took place June 18 at Immaculate Conception Church in Amenia.
July-August 2016

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