Central Region Board Reports

Region 5 Board of Directors’ Report
July 27, 2017
Colleen Wheaton, President


Good morning sisters and brothers.

It’s always good to join you and report on what’s going on in Region 5 since we last met.

First things first, we have wrapped up another local and unit election season, and we are excited to move forward with a new crop of union leaders elected by their members. We congratulate all who have been elected or re-elected, and we wish all our former leaders well as they move on to other activities. In the meantime, we have been busy developing and distributing a packet of information that our Labor Relations Specialists are now sharing with new leaders to help them get a good head start right out of the gate before they attend the required trainings being held this fall. As always during any leadership transition, we may have some bumpy roads, but it is our Region’s goal to make every transition as seamless as possible and get our new leaders up to snuff as quickly as possible.

Speaking of Labor Relations Specialists, I would like to wish longtime LRS Shawn Lucas well in her retirement after more than 27 years advocating on behalf of our members, and I’m pleased to report that labor activist Tammy Romania has already been hired to fill the position she vacated. I know you will join me in welcoming Tammy aboard!

And speaking of retirements, I would like to publicly thank Political Action Coordinator Rick Noreault for all his years of dedicated service to our union and to our Region, both as a union activist, and as a vital member of our union’s professional staff. Much of the advances we’ve made politically over the last decade or so have been due in large part to Rick’s expertise and hard work, and we owe him our thanks. We wish him nothing but the best in his upcoming retirement.

We continue to be busy in our Region continuing our member engagement efforts. We just completed our latest “blitz” in St. Lawrence County, my home area, and I’m pleased to report that our efforts, as usual, were very successful. We’ve also been continuing our more localized member engagement activities in Herkimer County and at SUNY Oswego and are working on several other areas. Meanwhile, everywhere our staff goes they are helping spread the word about the need for member engagement, and all the upcoming challenges we face, including the ballot proposition this November which asks the voting public to weigh in on holding a Constitutional Convention, which would be dangerous for not only us, but many New Yorkers.

I want to take a moment to mention a few highlights from our recent Spring Conference in Lake George. Not only did we have our usual opportunities for learning, leadership development and idea sharing, but we also had a very moving flag retirement ceremony, held at the historic site of Fort William Henry, where the members of our Region Veterans Committee helped retire worn flags with the dignity and respect that they deserve as symbols of our nation and our freedom. Thanks to the talents of Schenectady Schools Local 886 member Drew Polsun, we also had a very entertaining visit from the King of Rock & Roll to energize our activists during Elvis Weekend in Lake George.

As we move through the summer, we welcome back President Donohue from his recent hiatus, and we look forward to his upcoming visit with our members at our Binghamton Satellite Office, as well as his annual visit to our booth at the New York State Fair, and when he joins us on Labor Day to march in the annual Syracuse area parade.

I hope all of you are getting a chance to spend some quality time with your families during this summer, and I look forward to working with you all as we face our many challenges ahead.

In Solidarity,

Colleen Wheaton