Page 13 - Work Force November 2019
P. 13

 SIisters and Brothers,
received the opportunity of a lifetime when I stepped up this past July to serve as Southern Region President. Every day since, I have been honored to work on your behalf. Whether you as far south as Yonkers or as far north as Roscoe, my door is open to you all.
It is a priority of mine to make sure you are informed about what is happening in the Southern Region and invite you to get involved. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to be active in our union.
We have shown what happens when we stick together as proud union members, whether it is national or state issues or local elections whose outcome directly impacts the quality of our members’ work lives. During my years as local president at SUNY New Paltz and later as statewide political action chair, I learned the power of us sticking together, whether it
is at the polls or as a workforce. When we are active and engaged, we get things done.
An active and
engaged CSEA
membership had the
power to elect George
Latimer as Westchester
County Executive after years of an anti-union administration. An active and engaged CSEA membership crushed the chances of a state constitutional convention, which would
have put our pensions at risk. An active
and engaged CSEA membership has proven the naysayers wrong following the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision; contrary to predictions, we are stronger than ever!
Now that we have made it clear as a CSEA membership that we are Forever Union, I am working to expand the robust range of opportunities available in the Southern Region.
Our Southern Region does not just
exist to process grievances and negotiate contracts, though those certainly are our primary focuses. It is time to get back to the days when the union hall was the center of families’ lives. So many of the things that contribute to our quality of life exist because
November 2019
we are union. Let us acknowledge that.
I have been excited to expand what is
available through our region. We have a region newsletter in the works, something that existed years ago and is much needed
in order to keep us connected. We are forming a social committee, to bring back the trips and other outings that allow us to build solidarity and strengthen our union ties. We are ramping up activity in the area of community outreach, from bringing in
a holiday toy drive to help our neighbors
in need, to growing our relationships with non-profits, such as the American Cancer Society, so we can reinforce our support for community causes. We are expanding on the trainings available through our region, since education is one of the biggest resources we offer our members and their families.
I am happy to have an executive board
When the history books are written, what will be said of the modern
labor movement? And us, as stewards of
this movement? We know the longsuffering history of the early labor movement. The blood, sweat and tears. How the benefits
we enjoy today were hard fought. How weekends did not exist. Kids working in sweatshops eighteen hours a day. No paid time off. We know we have come far, but we, as participants in today’s labor movement, know there is more to be done.
and greedy corporations grab their tax breaks like it is some kind of right. How did things get so grossly out of whack and what are we going to do about it?
I ask these questions, simply to open dialogue on ways we might take a fresh look at our roles as union activists and members of the labor movement.
How do we get deeper into the rank and file members who have been so far removed from “union,” to see something bigger, more noble, than their own paycheck?
What old ways of doing things need to be jettisoned and replaced with more modern approaches? I do not pretend to have all the answers, but some things make sense to me.
I see a disconnect between rank and file members and those of us, whether officers, stewards, reps who do the “official” union work. I do not just mean grievances and trainings; I mean the work of pulling rank
2019 Annual Delegates Meeting Officer Reports
ANTHONY M. ADAMO Southern Region President
When we are active and engaged, we get things done
Capital Region President
No one is going to write our story for us
“When we stick together
as proud union members, whether it is national or state issues or local elections whose outcome directly impacts the quality of our members’ work lives.”
and file members into the fold. Every organization has
people who do not like to ask for help. Maybe they want
to be viewed as independent. Maybe they think they can do things better. Maybe
they are afraid someone will
do it better and make them look bad. We need to get past that. Asking
for help with our union is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. It is only when all union members and leaders are working toward the same goals that we are the strongest.
“Preaching to the converted” is another area for change. Meetings, conferences and trainings are usually the same people. Yes, new officers are coming in and, yes, we have seen new faces at meetings, but we can do better. We need to do better. We have to work to include the members who understand our goals, no matter what time commitment they are able to give.
We need to be honest about our limitations. Some of us work two jobs. Some have families and added responsibilities. Sometimes we lack the skills for things
Capital Region President, continued on page 16
The Work Force 13
that has embraced the opportunity to build our region. We are energetic leaders who have proven activism within CSEA and the energy to
guide our membership into this new era of unionism, where it is crucial, as we continue
organizing new worksites and reinforcing with our existing members why it’s better to be union. I am grateful for the passion Carole Jeannot has for supporting the workers and individuals served by Hudson Valley DDSO. I am impressed by the job Todd Schmidt has done advocating for fellow probation officers, not just in Ulster, but also in other counties. I have great respect for Sue Fontana fighting for her workers at Westchester Medical Center, which preserves the amazing range
of services at our region’s top hospital and trauma center. I admire Tatiana De Luna Evans for her role in protecting public health in Rockland County, serving as the primary county resource for vaccination clinics in the midst of the recent measles outbreak.
I would also like to thank Billy Riccaldo for his dedication during his 11 years
Southern Region President, continued on page 16
We know the narrative that the rich, powerful and corporate CEOs want everyone to believe, “Labor unions are almost extinct.” “Workers don’t need unions.” “Unions and their members are greedy.” The question
is — will we let others write our obituary,
or will we stand up, be heard and claim
our own history? Maybe there will be an obituary — far in the future when workers’ rights are no longer struggled
for, but guaranteed because
every working woman and
man deserve them. How will
we, leaders of CSEA, write our
own story? And what are you
doing to guarantee that labor’s
story lives — a comma, not a
Media outlets report the weakening of unions, the decline of union membership. Not coincidentally, a decline of the middle class and more and more families living in or near poverty. Are you ready to change that report? United, our collective voice saying, “no more taking away from my children’s future... fund schools.” “No more taking away from my secure retirement... hands
off pensions.” “No more taking away from the middle class to give to the rich... fair tax structure.”
Labor has always advocated for those without the benefit of a collective bargaining agreement. Workers without steady, secure or safe work who are being exploited, all in the name of the almighty dollar. This includes many of our children forced to work in a “gig” economy.
Meanwhile, the rich are richer, stock markets rise, shareholders enjoy their earnings
“It is only when all union members and leaders are working toward the same goals that we are the strongest.”

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