CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan welcomes members at the virtual ADM.

Hundreds of CSEA members joined in our union’s recent 111th Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM), the second to be held virtually.

Union leaders and staff chose a new digital platform that allowed virtual attendees a greater level of interaction among each other and presenters, including virtual “meet and greet” tables for members to interact with one another, and virtual exhibit booths to meet with staff and benefit providers.

With the theme “Empowering CSEA Leaders,” the ADM did just that with a week of workshops focused on leadership and activist education. For the first time, programs were offered along three tracks: New Officers ABCs workshops; Leadership workshops and Activist/ Advocate workshops. Also included were trainings for CSEA officers and representatives that are required under the union’s constitution, as well as division and departmental meetings.

“It’s been quite a year since our last Annual Delegates Meeting,” CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan said. “Last year, we talked about rising together to meet the challenges. This year, we’re talking about how we move forward from those challenges, working together to empower each other. As I’ve said many times before, knowledge is power.”

Along with a full schedule of workshops were several general sessions at which attendees heard from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Gov. Kathy Hochul; AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler; AFSCME International President Lee Saunders; AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride and A. Philip Randolph Institute President Clayola Brown.

In her first address to CSEA members as governor, Hochul spoke about how unions helped lift her family out of poverty and pledged support for CSEA.

“New York State will always have your back and we’re going to continue to fight for the working people of our state together because you matter and the labor movement matters,” Hochul said. “We’re going to let people know that the most unionized state of America is proud of that fact. We’re going to increase our ranks and increase the influence of labor unions under my watch.”

Sullivan noted Hochul’s longtime commitment to working people, dating back to her elected positions in the Town of Hamburg and as Erie County Clerk.

“It is hard to believe, but it took nearly 250 years for New York to have its first woman chief executive,” Sullivan said. “While the wait may have been far too long, New York now has the right woman for the job in Kathy Hochul. I welcome the opportunity to work with her to move our state forward. I know that as long as she is in office, CSEA has a partner in the Executive Chamber.”

Members also got important information about how the proposed New York Health Act will affect all New Yorkers.

CSEA members were also recognized for continuing to provide essential services to their communities during the pandemic.

CSEA brothers and sisters were also honored for their outstanding leadership, dedication and hard work, with region presidents presenting the Danny Donohue Leadership Awards, Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing and Membership Achievement Award to honorees.

Union members also had the opportunity to have a little bit of fun and root for their favorite NFL team through joining in a special “Monday Night Football” themed Match Play game, emceed, or refereed, by CSEA Director of Member Engagement Adam Acquario.

To see available materials that were referenced in workshops and trainings throughout the week, visit cseany.org/adm-2021-resources.

— Janice Gavin

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About Author

Janice Gavin

Janice Gavin is the editor of The Work Force and CSEA’s special interest publications. A graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh and Syracuse University, Gavin has been a journalist and public relations professional for more than 20 years. She worked as a newspaper reporter and bureau chief at the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, where she was honored with Associated Press and New York Newspaper Publishers Association awards. Gavin joined CSEA as a communications specialist in the union's Southern Region in 2000. In 2004, she became The Work Force's associate editor, a position she held until becoming the publication's editor in 2017. Growing up in a union household, she is dedicated to improving workers’ lives through telling their stories.

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