Page 20 - Work Force October 2020
P. 20

 We made some solid plans to
keep moving Region 5 forward
and held our first Executive Board
meeting on March 14. This was our first opportunity to introduce our new team and let everyone know that we are on their side as we continue to move our union forward.
Around the same time, the COVID-
19 pandemic was really beginning to take off. Days later, our state and our country began to shut down. This certainly was an unprecedented action and not something we were prepared for. We quickly learned our lives would be forever changed.
Our union and its membership had
to face, and will continue to face, many challenges due to the pandemic. Our Region 5 leadership will continue fighting for our future every step of the way. We have proven again and again, that together as a union, we will face the challenges that come our way with perseverance.
We all have a responsibility and, in partnership with the members, it quickly became clear we would need everyone to stand up and participate. We will not stand idly by and let this pandemic diminish our
we are rising to every challenge we face.”
20 The Work Force
October 2020
2020 Annual Delegates Meeting Officer Reports
KENNY GREENLEAF Central Region President
Fighting for our Future
Western Region President
Rising Up: Overcoming and Perservering
As 2020 began, and new officers and representatives were elected across CSEA, many of us were looking for a fresh start and a time of new beginnings. We were going to begin the ‘Roaring 20s’ with a renewed vigor so we could face our challenges together and fight for the future of our union.
Our Region 5 officers hit the ground running with the slogan “The Future is Now.” We plan to keep in mind that success is not something that happens later, but rather happens as the result of the actions
we take in the present. We will constantly strive for success and build on the steps we consistently take toward it.
With a shared mantra, and the excitement of beginning a new term serving our union, we kicked things off with an officers’ retreat, where we came closer together as one team. We took the time to learn about different aspects of Region 5, we evaluated
our union, and discussed how to
best represent the hardworking
union or the middle class. We must stand together to fight for the working class.
Plans we had made were canceled and everyone has stepped up to make sure we are keeping ourselves, and those around us, safe and protected. We will continue to do what is in the best interest of the members as we slowly acclimate back to a more normal way of life.
I am so proud of the resilience of the activists and staff. We have all had to learn new ways of communicating, holding meetings and votes, and getting the necessary union work done. It has been challenging at times, but everyone has been innovative and is going above and beyond so we can still
best represent the membership during these challenging times. The outpouring of random acts of kindness, not only to our brothers and sisters, but to strangers, is so humbling.
On behalf of the 46,000 members of CSEA Western Region, we welcome everyone to this historic 110th Annual Delegates Meeting.
As we convene virtually this week and
in the days that follow, I am asking all our delegates, members and guests to rededicate efforts to improve the lives of all working people. We also ask for our community partners and allies to help us bring economic justice to the workplace and to improve social justice outcomes in New York State and across this great nation.
I am extremely honored to be your Western Region President. However, I certainly did not expect this year to be one of the most troubling and problematic times in the history of our union. A global health care crisis, hundreds of thousands of deaths that didn’t have to happen, furloughs and layoffs,
committee work is really the heart and soul of who we are — and living up to measurable short and long-term goals will be part of this plan.
Another primary effort we will be advancing is a leadership succession plan.
A succession or replacement plan will
ensure our union will continue to operate efficiently after leadership and union officers move on to new opportunities, retire or
pass away. Keeping and maintaining our union’s institutional knowledge will be
key to successful outcomes in the future. We will be working very closely with the CSEA Education and Training Department to develop new programing and training modules to advance these goals.
And today, despite all the challenges we face, CSEA members and all working people have good reason to be proud. Our union
“We are one! We unite as one! We fight as one!”
“CSEA is stronger and the Labor Movement has proven once again, than ever before—and when tough times and
The members have also stood up and made sure we are counted in the 2020 Census. This is so important as we are going to need every source of revenue to keep our schools, counties, towns, villages, and our great state of New York
As we move forward, we must all take part
in holding our elected officials responsible and remind them that they work for the people. It is imperative that they ensure
we have the necessary federal funding to survive. It is so important that we all exercise our rights and vote in our federal and local elections. Our voices need to be heard loud and clear on November 3, or we risk losing everything we have fought so hard for.
We have heard the cry of so many that have endured racism in America, brought again to the forefront with the senseless
and deliberate murder of George Floyd. It reminds us all that we still have far to go as
a nation. As the late civil rights icon John Lewis once said, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” As a union, we cannot sit back and tolerate any discrimination and we must take every step necessary to make sure that our sisters and
Central Region President, continued on page 22
massive unemployment and
the inability of Washington
to deal with several crises at
the same time has created a
perfect storm, so to speak.
Consequences of the
COVID-19 pandemic have
changed how we communicate with each other and have tested our abilities to adapt and learn new skills. However, I believe
this development has made us stronger and has truly advanced our ability to connect union leadership with rank and file members through email updates, conference calls
and videoconference meetings. It has led to more receptive union participation and has helped with budgeting strategies moving forward. The fact is, we are seeing more members participating in every aspect of our organization — and I believe that has true value.
We are stronger as a union when we invest in our most precious resource — the people and families who take an active role in making their communities better by delivering on the promise of a job well done.
In an effort to define our Western Region strategies moving forward, my executive board and I have concluded that bolstering our committee work will be a centerpiece
of doing the business of the union. Our
difficult choices appear on the horizon, we continue to deliver on our promise to keep our communities strong
and vibrant.
It is truly unmistakable that there is a
new energy and commitment within CSEA that we haven’t seen in quite some time. CSEA members and most working people understand the value of union membership and that is why we remain strong especially during uncertain times.
Our members are still performing at a high level. The reality is, even during this pandemic, we are still settling contracts, advocating for social justice issues, improving health and safety standards, volunteering in our communities, rallying in solidarity and organizing new members to strengthen our families. We are still getting it done in a safe way – but there is so much more to do.
Every single CSEA delegate has the
ability to win hearts and minds to ensure working people have a say in the future of our communities by electing candidates who will create fundamental, lasting change for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
Western Region President, continued on page 22

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