Page 10 - Work Force November 2019
P. 10

 Danny Donohue, Statewide President
Preparing for our future
Mary E. Sullivan,
Statewide Executive Vice President
A tribute to Danny Donohue
  As we come together for our 109th Annual Delegates Meeting, we do so for one main reason: to build our strength to allow
us to continue to be the best damn union
in the country. We do that by offering an agenda packed with workshops and certificate trainings taught by skilled professionals, giving our leaders the tools they can use to enhance their leadership skills and be better union representatives.
Yes, it is a great tradition that we have followed for nearly 109 years, but we do not gather just to stand on ceremony or pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve done. We gather to prepare for
our future. We strategize,
we organize, we educate,
and we agitate, and
we plan how we keep
our union relevant and
successful for the next
109 years, and truly make this the “forever union” we can all be proud of.
The whole idea
of our great union is
that all of us do better
together. The more we learn, the better our skills, and the more we share our successes with each other as union activists, the better leaders we become and the better we can serve all our members. Hopefully, that results in better contracts, better communication, better representation and better meeting the needs of every member.
The fact of the matter is that our members deserve nothing less. We all know we face a lot of challenges, and that means we have to work harder than ever before to prove to our members why our union matters to them and their families, and how and why CSEA gives us back more value than what we pay into it.
By the same token, we also face the real challenge of trying to bring people together
at a time when our country, and even our workplaces, are very much divided. What I know is that there is far more we share in common, things that UNITE us, than things which divide us, and by working together, respecting each other, and focusing on our shared values, we can and do overcome those differences.
You may disagree with our politics, you may disagree with individual leaders in our union, but I doubt that there is anyone in our union who disagrees that workers should be paid a fair wage, or be provided decent benefits to protect their families, or have safe
ACSEA sisters and brothers,
s we all come together for our 109th Annual Delegates Meeting, I want to
take time to pay tribute to someone who has devoted his life to CSEA and the labor movement: our President, Danny Donohue.
Danny’s list of accomplishments and advancements is long and impressive indeed! There are so many that it’s hard to know quite where to start.
more recent safe patient handling legislation, protecting thousands of our members and their patients from injuries related to lifting and moving.
A year after the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision against us, it’s easy to see Danny’s more recent contributions to protecting CSEA from the continued assault by billionaires
and CEOs. Long before the Supreme Court decided this case, and even before they heard the similar Friedrichs case that ended in a deadlock, Danny initiated CSEA’s efforts
to have direct conversations with as many members as we could at their homes and workplaces. Since he started that, CSEA has held several tens of thousands of conversations
  “I feel like I am stepping back at a time where our union is in better shape than when I started, and that we can continue to make progress for our members and enhance their lives on and off the job, not just now, but forever.”
with equally as many members. A year after Janus, CSEA remains incredibly strong, and growing! Our membership continues to increase, and it is a result of the conversations we have had and the union building they have fostered.
Danny’s leadership is punctuated by as many intangibles as tangibles. He was never afraid to challenge anyone – legislators, leaders, Governors and even CSEA members — when he believed it was in our Union’s best interest. In the time I have known him, he has never been afraid to share his opinion and he was always first on the line to fight for what he believed was in the best interest of the Union members he serves.
He has been a strong supporter of CSEA and the labor movement for his entire career. We appreciate his many years of service to our Union and wish him many happy retirement years.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary E. Sullivan
Executive Vice President
workplaces, opportunities to get ahead or protections from unfair treatment at work.
But more importantly, as union leaders, we need to be out in front of our members, whether they agree with us or not. We pride ourselves in being
a union that values everybody’s opinions and where everyone’s voice
deserves to be heard. If there is anything that we have learned from going out on our member engagement “blitzes,” it is that we have to talk with our members, and more importantly, listen.
Speaking of disagreements, I know there are some of our leaders who do not approve of us holding our annual meeting at Turning Stone. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, and while I respect their position, I would hope they would offer solutions, not just their opposition. The fact is that our decision to hold this event at Turning Stone was based on a number of factors, especially its centralized location in the state, and its
President, continued on page 15
It was pretty clear way back in 1975
when Danny won a write-in campaign to become the Local President of the Central Islip Psychiatric Center that he was destined for great things. He would go on to win a 5-way race for Executive Vice President in 1988, becoming the first
downstate member to serve
at the Statewide level. In
1994, when Joe McDermott
retired, Danny became the
President. He has since won
an unprecedented 6 terms as
CSEA President, which is a
clear testament to his strong
and supportive leadership on behalf of the members of our great Union. The rest, as they say, is history. And what a history it’s been!
Perhaps some of Danny’s greatest accomplishments are the advancements in safety and health protections we’ve made under his leadership. In 1992, four CSEA members were tragically murdered at the Schuyler County Department of Social Services by a disgruntled client. Upon taking office in 1994, Danny led our twelve year fight for tougher workplace security protections. The result of this was New York’s Worksite Security Act, which forces employers to assess potential workplace violence risks and take measures to reduce them, as well as creating a complaint procedure for workers to identify potential violence risks in their workplace. Danny also was the force behind passing the
“[Danny] was always first on the line to fight for what he believed was in the best interest of the Union members he serves.”
 10 The Work Force
November 2019
   2019 Annual Delegates

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