BUFFALO — Hundreds of CSEA members recently joined together at our union’s 113th Annual Delegates Meeting to gain the knowledge and skills to help keep our union strong.
This year’s meeting, themed as “My Union, My Voice, My CSEA,” focused on education and training. Members attended numerous workshops, department and division meetings and heard from inspiring speakers. Our union also honored several extraordinary members for their achievements.
CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan spoke about challenges facing our union and urged members to continue to stand together.
“By fighting for what we know is right, we improve our communities,” said Sullivan. “When we do all this together, there is nothing that CSEA can’t accomplish.”
Speakers included Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and AFSCME International President Lee Saunders. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli also addressed members by video.
Brown praised CSEA members for their dedication to their communities.
“Without CSEA, the public sector would not be able to function and serve Buffalo and Western New York as well as it does in partnership with public unions,” said Brown. “Your fight for better pay, better benefits and better conditions will raise every worker’s quality of life.”
Bello, who CSEA is endorsing for reelection this year, spoke about how his administration and he have worked with our union to boost historically poor county staffing levels and how it has benefited the community. He also touted the dedication of our union members to their communities.
“You’re ensuring that our communities are cared for and that our citizens have the services they pay for,” said Bello. “Good government is a partnership. Nobody does this alone and I am proud to stand here with CSEA and all of our public sector unions because we are stronger together when we are working together to fight for our employees, for our members of our team and for our community.”
Saunders, who discussed AFSCME’s ongoing efforts to recruit and retain public workers, urged members to build our union to keep it strong.
“We must stick together and move forward together at this pivotal moment in our union,” said Saunders. “You must build this great union and take it to another level to become stronger and more powerful.”
DiNapoli assured members that despite more uncertain economic outlooks, their retirement benefits remain secure.
“Despite continued attacks, the union movement is alive and well,” said DiNapoli. “Everywhere we look, labor is winning. When unions stand and fight, good things happen. As CSEA members, you have power in numbers, so stay united and keep organizing.”
Many of the ADM’s educational programs were designed to build skills in leadership, representation and encouraging member participation.
Among these programs was a day-long session that gave members an opportunity to plan and engage in campaigns centering on political action, organizing, contract campaigns, workplace issues and safety and health. They presented their campaigns during a general session the following day.
“My union, my voice, my CSEA. I am so proud,” said Sullivan. “Together, we have done some amazing things.”
— Janice Gavin