On August 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day. This day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which granted women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day is an important observance not just in recognition of women gaining the right to vote, but also to call attention to our continued efforts to achieve full equality in our country even still.
As far as we have come, women have still not achieved full equality in America. This is especially true for women of color, who did not have full voting rights until the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965. While we should celebrate our past victories, we need to continue to defend what we’ve accomplished as we continue our fights.
One of the best things about organized labor is our ability to come together to advance our causes. There is power in numbers and when we work together, we can accomplish great things. Even just recently, we have seen that strength as members of negotiating teams across the state have successfully brought back agreements to be ratified by our State Executive Branch, Erie County and CSEA/VOICE Local 100A members, just to name a few.
The key to all this remains participation, which includes voting on our contracts and voting for our leaders. We must use our voices to continue to advance the issues and causes of those who do not have the same rights as others in our country.
As we complete our celebrations of Juneteenth and Pride Month in June, I’m reminded that we are a very diverse union. Our membership is made up of people from so many different backgrounds, ethnic groups and ideologies. And yet, we all strive for the same things, we all have the same basic needs: a job that pays a living wage, a home where we can raise our families, quality and affordable health care and the comfort of knowing that our retirement benefits are secure. I think that these are the things that really matter to the brothers and sisters of CSEA. When we make these our common goals and respect whatever differences there may be among us, we can and will be the best Union in the land!
In solidarity we shall always be successful!
Mary E. Sullivan, President