Page 10 - Work Force October 2021
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Mary E Sullivan Statewide President
Empowering each other
Denise Berkley Statewide Executive Vice President
Leadership means always learning
ISisters and brothers t’s been quite a a a a a a a year since our last Annual Delegates Meeting I had truly hoped
last year’s virtual virtual convention convention would be our first and only virtual virtual convention convention but with everyone’s safety as our top priority this means once again gathering virtually I chose our theme of “Empowering CSEA Leaders” to help us continue overcoming the the challenges we face It also fits in in in in in in in with our convention’s focus on on on on educating training mentoring and inspiring as this is is a a a a a a a a non-voting delegates meeting open to all members Sharing our knowledge and and educating each other
gives us power to to get stronger and and be be more more effective Even more more importantly we we need to to to be be be listening to to each other
We have members community which when you think about about it it is is what unions are all about As we gather together this fall I’m confident to to to report to to to you that despite our our challenges our our union and the overall labor movement we are a a a a a a a a a proud part of remains strong strong and will get stronger with our efforts moving forward Thanks to the dedication and and hard work of union activists leaders members and and staff at the the workplace level we’ve continued to get the the everyday work work work of our union done We negotiated contracts we we we protected workers we we we we fought for for funding we we we we stopped efforts to to violate our contracts and we we we held held bosses accountable We also held held union orientations engaged with members on on on and and off the job organized new workers and and continued to advocate for safer and and healthier workplaces in in the the midst of a a a a a a a global pandemic ISisters and brothers f f you you know know me me you you know know how much it hurts my heart to not meet in in person for our Annual Delegates Meeting After so so many years of networking with sisters and brothers face-to-face not being able to to do it it again this year is is so difficult But I am all all about overcoming the challenges and and adversity life throws in in in our way and and and coming coming out on top That is what I hope and and pray we we can all do despite the the difficulties we’ve faced over the the last year and a a a a a half It was truly good to start attending union events in in person over the last few months as as as virus numbers went down and more people got vaccinated to to protect each other
I was so so joyful to to see so so many smiling faces at at events as things opened back up and it it warmed my heart to to be able to to talk with with the opportunity not only to recognize leaders who’ve been successful in in our union which is so so important but also letting them share their successes This year we tried something new We broke up our presidents presidents and vice presidents presidents training by level of of experience experience That way experienced officers officers weren’t wasting time re-learning the the the basics and new officers officers got the the the information they needed just starting out We also split these trainings up by sector sector so so we we weren’t confusing state private sector sector or or or or local government employees with information that doesn’t pertain to them This came out of suggestions from the the focus groups held a a a a a a a a few years ago and it worked well I was pleased
to see participation from so many of our our sisters and brothers in in in our our our Local Government
with so many different
opinions backgrounds and life experiences Although we may hold different
opinions that that doesn’t mean that that one of us is is right and and the the the other
is is is wrong If
we can listen to each other
and and talk politely about our opinions and why we we we believe believe what we we we believe believe I think we we we can learn from each other
maybe even come to to agreement or at least respectfully agree agree agree to to disagree In these times when we are so polarized I I I have have purposefully reached out to to people who I I know have have different
opinions from from my own to to learn from from them I I would would hope that more people would would make the the the same effort It can only help bring
us together There’s already so much we’ve learned from each other
over the the past year We’ve We’ve learned learned learned how how how to to to be be resilient We’ve We’ve We’ve learned learned learned how how how to to to to to be be tough yet flexible We’ve We’ve learned learned learned how how how to to to to adapt and and get creative to to to to solve problems We’ve fought against this deadly virus and and taken measures we never could have dreamed of in order to to to keep each each other
safe We’ve come together to to to support each each other
as a a a a a “Sharing our Division joining our our state employees private sector members and retirees To me me leadership means always learning
and it’s important to have a a a a a a a a a team supporting you on that knowledge and you I agree with with the safety concerns for not holding large meetings right now but I can’t wait until we can can all gather safely again and break bread as a a a a a a a a a a a union family “We need to continue empowering members and leaders to empower themselves ” educating each other
gives us power Yes it’s been harder to to do do the the the to get stronger and be more effective ” It’s been such a a a a a a a a challenging time for us all all all You know know I I I know know Through it it all all I’ve kept
in in touch with so many of you you you you listening to to your your your your concerns your your your your issues and your your your your struggles I’ve done everything possible to amplify your your your your voices and and make sure you you are recognized and and supported After all it’s what we do best as a a a a a a a a a union — support support each other
When we we we do that we we we empower each each other
That’s because not only is there there strength strength in in numbers but there’s also strength strength in in knowledge That’s why we focus so so strongly
in in our our union on on on on education As your statewide officers we’ve been working hard to empower union leaders by providing more opportunities for officer training training In the trainings I’ve held we’ve we’ve made sure we we we are not just talking at you Instead we’ve we’ve had leaders learning
from each other
Our panel discussions provided
journey That’s why I’ve I’ve got to to give a a a a a a a a special shout-out to to the the amazing staff I’ve I’ve had the the pleasure of working with in in in in in our Education and Training Department They focus on on on the important educational piece freeing me me up to focus on on on on the realities of of of being a a a a a a a union union officer The support of of of your fellow union union leaders and staff is also incredibly important Networking with other
leaders utilizing your labor relations specialist and and never being afraid to ask questions and and admit what you you don’t know —that will make you you a a a a a a a a a better union leader Just keep on on on seeking knowledge That’s how we lift each other
up to become stronger Our last year has been empowering in in so so many many ways We were able to hold so so many many virtual trainings and membership meetings I’ve actually heard from some officers that Executive Vice President
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work we we regularly do do do but that hasn’t slowed us down Time and time again we we have risen to the the occasion getting the the job done We do do all all this by working collectively all all all of us together — members leaders and and staff and I I thank you all all I I take so much pride in the the fact that despite all the the adversity union members are still doing such an amazing job providing services to New Yorkers In every every workplace across the the state and every every day CSEA members are still doing the the vital jobs keeping our communities running While many workers worked remotely the the the majority of the the the CSEA workforce was still on on the the the the job every day despite risks to their own personal health So much much much much sacrifice and and so so so so much much much much loss yet so so so so much much much much caring and and so so so much much much much dedication I can never truly thank the the members of our union enough for what they’ve gone through and President
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2021 Annual Delegates 10 The Work Force
October 2021 

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