Central Region Board Reports

Region 5 Board of Directors’ Report
April 18, 2018
Colleen Wheaton, President


Good morning sisters and brothers.

I hope everyone is enjoying these first few weeks of spring.

I want to begin my report by acknowledging the passing of longtime CSEA activist Sue Brill. With her more than 35 years of service working in Schuyler County, I’ve known Sue since I first got involved with CSEA. She served many terms as an officer in her Local and Unit, and she will be missed.

I would also like to honor Labor Relations Specialist Terri Hoffman who recently retired after a 20-year career with CSEA. We wish her well in her retirement, and we welcome LRS Michael Nesci, who recently came on board.

Things have been moving along as usual in our Central Region since we last met. We have been continuing our priority focus on our Member Engagement efforts, continuing to meet with as many members as we can and having the conversations with them to strengthen our union for the future. I was proud to see a bus of our Region’s activists head down to New York to join union members across the country in the Working People’s Day of Action to publicly rally against the idea of the Janus case, and more importantly, the anti-union forces behind it. We are continuing our efforts to conduct localized “mini-blitzes” throughout our Region, and are planning ahead for our upcoming summertime “blitz” in Madison County.

We also continue our routine efforts in the Region to reach contracts and settle issues. One issue that recently came up deserves to be mentioned. In St. Lawrence County’s Solid Waste Department, I would like to commend the workers and Local President Amy Simmons for speaking up publicly against privatizing their waste hauling. In doing so, they were able to successfully persuade the Legislature to vote against contracting out, and showed once again how we can overcome obstacles when we join together to speak out.

We also dealt with the follow-up to the on-the-job death of Jefferson County member Gregory Eliopoulos, after the City of Watertown was cited by PESH for violations that contributed to his death. We are working closely with the City and PESH to make sure these violations are corrected so that this type of thing can never happen again to any of our members. This highlights the importance of having a robust Occupational Safety and Health Department staffed by trained professionals who can offer our employers training and analysis to prevent future hazards from occurring.

Speaking of workplace safety, our Region Safety and Health Committee is getting ready to plant our ninth annual “living memorial” tree in memory of Mr. Eliopoulos and all other workers whose lives were lost due to their work. We will hold this year’s observance at People’s Park in Seneca Falls on Monday, April 30 at noon. All are welcome to join us.

We are also preparing for our spring Conference in June, which will be held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino and will feature officer training and some other informative workshops. We look forward to the knowledge and skill sharing that always takes place at these events, and to awarding our first-ever “Activist of the Year” Award.

I wish everyone a good spring and summer, as we sail ahead into uncharted waters as we fight for the future of our union. Remain strong, sisters and brothers!

In Solidarity,

Colleen Wheaton