Page 11 - Work Force November 2019
P. 11

 Meeting Officer Reports
Denise Berkley, Statewide Secretary
Trust is the foundation of our strength, leadership
Bill Walsh, Statewide Treasurer
Forever Union means we are forever a family
Oh my, it is a glorious day! We are UNION STRONG! It is hard to believe that just one year ago, we were in the fight of our lives. Today, we pledge “Forever Union!”
As I traveled across the state this year, I could see just how far we’ve come, and I am so very proud of what our union has accomplished in just 4 years of member engagement and outreach.
I would like to commend President Danny Donohue for his vision. Thank you for recognizing how critical it is to focus on building our relationships with each other and allocating the resources we need to do it right. Danny, we will miss you dearly. I wish you all the best in what comes next.
I would like to also take a moment to
We are getting back to the root of what it means to be a union. I am awestruck at our ability to adapt during adverse times; it is such a positive aspect of who we are at CSEA.
We can celebrate that we are Stronger Than Ever, but we cannot sit back and be complacent. Our goal remains reaching members we have not reached yet. With nearly 300,000 members, our one-on-one conversations and worksite meetings remain crucial to reminding members that they are not alone.
Just as trust is at the center of every
good relationship, a union relationship is
no different. Trusting each other is key for successful one-on-one conversations and for successful worksite visits. It is key to successful
TSisters and Brothers,
he theme of our 109th Annual Delegates Meeting is Forever Union. My question is,
‘what does Forever Union mean?’
That phrase holds many meanings to me
personally, particularly as I am not joining you, our delegates, at the ADM. The irony is that ‘Forever Union’ figures strongly into the reason that I am not with you this week.
While I respect our union’s decision to hold our Annual Delegates Meeting at the Turning Stone Casino and Conference Center,
‘Forever Union’ is a motto that we should not only practice here at CSEA, but in every part of our lives and careers. To me, ‘Forever Union’ means fighting to
ensure that all working
people have a voice at
work, fair pay, benefits
and working conditions.
While I respect CSEA’s
decision to proceed
with our 109th ADM
at Turning Stone, we
cannot ignore the fact
that this is a nonunion
the second time, I made a commitment to never return to the facility until all employees are organized. I think that the only reason I even received an apology by Turning Stone management after the first occasion is not because they realized their actions were wrong, but because of my title in our union. I truly believe that if I was a rank-and-file member or a member organizer that I would have never received an apology; that I would be told never to return.
As many of you know, CSEA has held several conferences at Turning Stone in recent years. While I certainly understand commitments, in my world, I do not want to
applaud the CSEA
and AFSCME staff
who have been with
us on this journey.
Being involved in
the member outreach blitzes from the very beginning, I have watched the staff grow
and execute our strategic vision. They have been phenomenal. This has given me an even greater appreciation for the work we do as a team.
Member outreach is one of the best tools we have for strengthening our union. Through “blitzing,” our union has reached more than 100,000 members.
Member outreach is now at the core of CSEA culture and is shaping how we make gains and solve workplace issues together. We have to continue to do this; it is critical to the health and vitality of our union, and we must continue this path for many years to come.
Like any new initiative, changing the culture of a large organization is a big undertaking, but as more and more locals and units become active, we see clearly what happens when they embrace it.
WE THRIVE. It strengthens our bonds.
grievances, labor management talks and negotiating good contracts.
We must be involved and encourage more members to get
involved. Every one of us has a vital role in initiating action. Now, I know that not all of us have release time. The realities of those who do and those who don’t are very different. But, a good first step that any one of us can take is to initiate a member outreach blitz for your local or unit. It’s up to all of us to lead — in action.
Many hands make light work. We still have a strong need for more outreach to private sector, school districts, childcare and our smaller locals and units. We cannot leave anyone behind. We all have the power to do something greater than ourselves.
When our union lives its values, we offer protection, security, benefits for our families, safety, empowerment, opportunity and strength for our members and communities.
When we get to a member’s door, they can see it’s the relationship we are looking
Secretary, continued on page 15
“Forever Union means that we are also forever a family. While families sometimes don’t always agree with one another, we must all work toward the goals that first brought unions together — fair pay, strong benefits, retirement security, safe working conditions and a voice at work.”
“Just as trust is at the center of every good relationship, a union relationship is no different.”
With this in mind,
during previous visits
to the facility, I spoke
with some of the Turning Stone employees about joining a union. Unfortunately, management reacted to my attempt to have this conversation in a hostile manner and twice revoked my gaming privileges, with management claiming that I was ‘soliciting union.’ Under the laws of the Oneida Nation on which Turning Stone is located, soliciting is not allowed. However, I told them that I wouldn’t ‘solicit union;’ unionism is a way of life. That is simply what I believe.
After the first instance, management apologized to me and restored my gaming privileges. When my privileges were revoked
be restricted about who I talk with or what I talk about.
With these incidents, the light has now been shed on how Turning Stone’s management values its workers
and unions in general. Personally, I would never want to spend another penny in a facility where we cannot speak with the workers about unions.
In this case, we have
more than 1,000 members, staff and guests spending money at Turning Stone. I have to be accountable, not only to myself, but to
our members and the dues we pay. When we make spending decisions at CSEA, we make
a point to ensure that we’re not only fiscally responsible, but that our money is spent at businesses and facilities that also value workers.
The term ‘Forever Union’ means different things to people. To a member who simply goes to work and doesn’t get involved in our union, it means having a strong contract and access to services and representation if they
Treasurer, continued on page 15
 November 2019
The Work Force

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