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Long Island Region President Jerry Laricchiuta’s Monthly Message

As pandemic continues, union stays strong

Happy Holidays to all. I hope everybody had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. As our world continues to change for the worse in regard to this out-of-control pandemic, we as a group have already been changed forever. For one thing, we as mankind are more durable, adaptable and tougher than we might have ever assumed. That said, we might be able to clearly state we are not quite as bright as we once thought we were. I say that based on the very troublesome daily reports of rising COVID hospitalizations and deaths. You know you have a serious problem when U.S. Senators are actually stating that wearing a mask is not important. They say this after the world’s best infectious control scientist/doctors state the exact opposite. So, I don’t care who you voted for in this presidential race, but please do not refute those most qualified and responsible for all Americans to stay alive and live without COVID-19 fear and rules. That is just plain ignorant.

One of the many ways our union has adjusted is to bring the union to the members in a safe and effective way. Our Region One drive-through information day was a huge success. Ana O’Gorman worked with the Nassau Community College to allow us to use their very large parking lot, so we spread out. Kelvin Lewis and our Social Committee worked with our Region One staff, led by Jennifer Nagy. the Region One office manager. Wendi Bowie was there to document as much action as she could. Statewide Executive Vice President Denise Berkley came down from Albany and she and I worked the incoming line for more than two hours, greeting every car that came in.

What I found most interesting was that our CSEA members in Region One, for the most part, are fairly happy. Most of our members were very cordial, some thanked us for all we have done together, most were smiling. Really, we had so many volunteers from our region that I could not possibly thank them separately, but I really want them all to know how much we appreciate their hard work for the members of our region. Our head count for the day was between 400-450 people and most waited well over an hour in line to get to our great vendors, who showered them with gifts, notices and opportunity to save money.

Recently, CSEA members in both Brookhaven and Glen Cove have had to face layoff threats. In Brookhaven, where I am told the Township has accumulated over $100 million in surplus funds along with a AAA Moody’s bond rating. Why would a municipality with that much black ink resort to laying off low-paid CSEA workers? I was told that it was to protect their AAA bond rating. That is a first for me. It is simply bad government and irresponsible action, not to mention a huge slap in the face to the union. I am still hopeful that we can avoid the full extent of the layoffs in Brookhaven. As I stated in Newsday, CSEA has always had a god relationship with the Town of Brookhaven and we would like to continue. The CSEA Glen Cove Unit in North Hempstead all pulled together with many other locals in region 1. Together, we pulled off a nice demonstration with the help of the Local 830 neon truck. For over two hours, a nice sized crowd gathered peacefully and in our own special way addressed those council members who had to walk past us in order to get into city hall. Thank you to all of those participants.

I am not sure just how we will be able to celebrate our biggest holidays of the year in December. Today, many people are saying we should not get together with big family crowds. That would certainly be a shame, but if this saves lives, we have no choice. So, please be careful and stay safe. Let’s all ponder the better days ahead when hopefully a vaccine is readily available. Hopefully then, we can treat this virus just like we treat the flu, today. That day will come. It will get better.