Central Region Board Reports

Region 5 Board of Directors’ Report
September 12, 2018
Colleen Wheaton, President


Good morning sisters and brothers.

Despite the challenging times we are facing, I hope everyone has had the opportunity to spend some time this summer relaxing with family and friends. We all need those important moments to help us recharge our batteries for the struggles ahead.

Since my last report we have remained busy. A great group of our Central Region activists had just returned from an inspiring trip to AFSCME’s 43rd International Convention in Boston, where we had many opportunities to “rise up” in support of our Labor Movement and keeping CSEA “union strong.”

In July I was honored to join almost our entire CSEA staff outside Albany for their annual conference, and to help give out service awards to many dedicated professionals working for our union. I am always proud of the work our staff do, often behind the scenes, to keep our union moving forward, and I am especially proud of our Central Region staff, who like our activists, always lead the way in CSEA.

I would like to thank all of our activists and their family members who turned out for our annual participation in the City of Rome’s Honor America Days Parade. We had more than 50 people march proudly behind our CSEA float, decorated with “I’m Sticking With Our Union” signs. I thank our parade committee organizers, led by Dustin Young and Matt Spellicy, for all their work putting this together and everyone who helped decorate our float. Thanks also to Region Officers Kenny Greenleaf and John Brown for helping lead off our march. We were truly well represented.

Our member outreach throughout the Region continues, with meetings continuing to occur involving our activists and staff. We are now asking our members to sign our new “Never Quit, Recommit” cards, and I want to thank our Region Office staff for processing the hundreds of cards that are coming in on a regular basis.

August brought us to our Region’s Fall Executive Board Meeting, where dozens of our activist leaders gathered in East Syracuse. On Friday night we had an engaging speaker talk about domestic violence prevention, and on Saturday we took care of the regular business of running our union.

Also in August I was proud to attend our annual Retiree Delegates Meeting in Albany, where it was great to see the faces of so many of our retired activists. I was so proud to help present the Donald Webster Mission Achievement Award to our own Sally Heater, who I think has been more active in our union as a retiree than when she was a county worker. The truth about Sally is that she has never stopped working, even after she officially “retired” and the blood that runs through her veins is union through and through. She was so well deserving of this award and I hope you all join me in acknowledging her years of activism and dedication.

Recently a delegation of our Central Region political activists joined me in attending the AFL-CIO’s annual COPE Convention in New York City, to represent our political voices at the statewide level. Thanks to Casey Walpole, Betty Jo Johnson, David Lee, John Brown, Dustin Young, and Political Action Coordinator Josh Schick for attending. With the people who determine our working conditions being elected officials, it is so important for CSEA to be a strong part of our state’s political process, so I appreciate everyone who takes the time to be politically active.

With the end of summer came our annual participation in the New York State Fair. This year was our 28th annual booth in the Center of Progress Building, and I would like to thank the dozens of volunteers from our Region who gave up their time to showcase our union to the public. This is CSEA’s largest annual public visibility event, and we are proud to have it in our Region. During the Fair’s 13-day run, we were proud to greet thousands of our members, and have many of them recommit to making our union stronger. It was also a pleasure to have State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli stop by our booth to say hello, as he always does. We were also honored to have CSEA President Danny Donohue join us at the booth to greet members, and to join me in leading our Labor Day Parade at the Fairgrounds.

This Labor Day we once again held events in Ithaca, Massena, and Syracuse. It is always a great opportunity to remind the public that it is thanks to the work we have done in the past, and the work we continue to do now, that allows them to celebrate things like weekends and holidays. I appreciate all our members who took the opportunity to show their solidarity and our union pride as we took part in these events celebrating American Labor.

I wish everyone a great Fall season, and I’ll see most of you at our Annual Delegates Meeting!

In Solidarity,

Colleen Wheaton