Page 15 - Work Force October 2021
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  what they continue to do, to provide
the essential services people rely on every day. This past May, we held our second annual CSEA Appreciation Day, and I hope that union members around our state got a glimpse of how much we appreciate their work, their sacrifice, their dedication, and their bravery. We will continue advocating to get them all the recognition they deserve.
Our union has continued to fight on the larger issues which impact so many union members across the state. We’ve continued to fight for safety protections against the pandemic, and drew on the expertise of our Occupational Safety and Health Department experts to educate thousands of members about how to stay safer. We used our political muscle to push for economic relief for those struggling due to the pandemic, successfully lobbying to win federal funding that not only protects our jobs and services, but offers employers the potential to expand public services and hopefully address issues of short staffing and low wages. We made progress in seeking social, racial, and economic justice, as we focused on and learned more about issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion — again, learning from each other.
We also made sure our union leadership remains strong. We
successfully conducted our statewide elections for Local and Unit officers, and held officer trainings to make sure our new crop of leaders were armed with the tools, resources and information needed to be the best union representatives they could be. We will continue working to provide more resources to enhance their effectiveness as leaders. That’s much of what our Annual Delegates Meeting was about this year.
To our activist leadership: I hope our virtual delegates meeting helps empower you, and gives you the inspiration to move forward with all the confidence your members have in you. They elected you for a reason, because they know you have the capacity to work hard on their behalf to make a positive impact. I have that same confidence in you. Our union will give you the knowledge and the tools to be effective, but the rest of it is up to you. Please let me know how we can help you be the best leader you can be. Your members are relying on you, and I and the rest of our leadership team are relying on you. You can and will make a difference.
I wish an empowering year ahead for us all.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary E. Sullivan
CSEA President
participation in our union has increased due to virtual meetings, and I’m so glad to hear this. I hope we can incorporate a virtual option into future trainings and meetings, even ones held in person. Anything we can do to increase knowledge and participation just makes us stronger.
I’ve also heard great appreciation for our weekly leadership emails. They’ve been instrumental in allowing us to get important information out to all leaders more quickly, and we appreciate when this gets shared with the membership.
We’ve also been working to empower our leadership by having important discussions about making our union more diverse, inclusive and equitable. This is so important, because when we lift up our brothers and sisters who have been historically and systematically oppressed, we offer all people a better chance at equality and economic prosperity. That’s what the power of a union is
all about. We’ve tried to build awareness of and participation in the constituency groups within
our International union that focus on supporting specific identity groups within our membership, and I’m encouraged to see the training on implicit bias being offered at our Annual Delegates Meeting. By recognizing, supporting, and encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion, we can have more open and honest conversations with each other to make needed changes in our society.
Looking ahead to how we continue to empower leaders in the future, I am so committed to giving our leaders the tools and resources at the local level so they can be better leaders at their worksites. I want them to feel that we have given them all the
resources they need to become really good leaders. This will include more online resources, more trainings, and as always, someone to talk to and listen.
I’ll also continue to commit to helping lead our union with purpose and vision. It’s not enough to just have knowledge and skills if we can’t put them into action that benefits the members. We need
to continue empowering members and leaders to empower themselves; to take collective action, to increase participation, and to come up with creative ways to excite and involve members. We need to think outside the box to figure out new ways to be even more inclusive and build our people power. Most importantly, we can’t forget to ask people to get involved.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge and recognize our leaders for the tremendous work they do each and every day on behalf of the membership. For
so many union activists, their work is completely voluntary on top of their regular job, and the hours they put in each week mostly go unrecognized and unrewarded. But they don’t do it for recognition
or reward. They do it because they care, and they know the satisfaction of helping people, which is its own reward. I want you all to know that I see you, I respect you, and I appreciate you. I look forward to working with you all to keep building our union bigger, better and more empowered than ever.
Respectfully submitted,
Denise Berkley
CSEA Executive Vice President
CSEA STATEWIDE PRESIDENT, continued from Page 10
loved ones have gotten sick or passed away. I pray for a time that COVID is a distant memory and that everyone is healthy and safe. Throughout this pandemic, I have seen firsthand how CSEA members were on the front lines, taking care of members of our community, keeping our roadways safe and clean and providing general services to the public. Many members have put themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities running. CSEA workers are an essential part of keeping NYS functioning and thriving.
During the pandemic, CSEA had to work through many obstacles to continue to provide our members with the guidance and support that was needed to keep our union strong. CSEA employees stepped up to the plate
and continued to assist and provide our members with direction on health and safety in their workplaces, furloughs and other hurdles that occurred throughout this past year. Many webinars and trainings have been offered to continue to empower our union leaders and educate our members. President Sullivan created her weekly leadership email
and wanted to ensure that union leaders were informed of important events happening throughout the state, as well as providing essential information to our members.
As we have all learned how to function in a virtual world,
I truly look forward to better times ahead, when we all can
be together again in person. We have all learned so much during this past year, specifically on how we can continue to represent our membership. I have heard from so many officers who have held membership meetings virtually that they are sometimes getting more members to participate compared to the in-person meetings they have held in the past.
In conclusion, I have always thought that CSEA had a special way of connecting us all, whether we are union leaders, members or simply constituents of the community. Looking back at my time with CSEA as a member, officer for my Unit, Local and Region, and now as the Statewide Treasurer, I have gained so much knowledge and insight into the labor movement. I feel so empowered to be able to bring back what I learned to the membership. Whether it is assisting a new Treasurer with putting a budget together or telling a member of the benefits that we receive just for being a CSEA member, the more knowledgeable that I become on the union, the more empowered our leaders and members will be.
Thank you all for the hard work that you do for CSEA and your members. I know you all have your own jobs, families and other commitments, and I truly recognize
the time and effort that you all put forth for our union's
membership. As we continue to fight our union battles, negotiate good contracts and represent members to the
best of our abilities, I am honored to be among you all and truly respect the work that you all do every single day. It is imperative that we continue to empower each other and to move our union forward. I look forward to working with you all to keep our union strong and unified. Please stay healthy and safe!
Respectfully submitted,
Nicole Meeks
CSEA Statewide Treasurer
 CSEA STATEWIDE TREASURER, continued from Page 11
 CSEA STATEWIDE SECRETARY, continued from Page 11
protect ourselves and each other, because that is one of the most important reasons for being part of a union. When we work together, we can accomplish anything, including enduring a global pandemic.
Respectfully submitted,
Richard Bebo
CSEA Statewide Secretary
 October 2021
The Work Force

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