The end of December and beginning of January saw some very chilly days, with equally bitter weather. Snow, ice, and cold all conspired to make life miserable for New Yorkers.

Yet many of you were out there doing what you always do: making the way safe for your neighbors and communities. Whether it was clearing the roads or providing vital services that can’t take a snow day, CSEA members from Long Island to Buffalo proved, once again, that we NEVER QUIT doing our jobs, even in the face of extremes.

Extremes. That’s a good word to keep in mind moving forward, as we face down those who seek to take everything away from us. By the end of this month, the Supreme Court will likely have heard arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case, and we’re likely that much closer to the effects of a decision. There is plenty of hope, though.

Even in the face of the aggressive Right-to-Work movement throughout the United States, labor in New York state grew by 75,000 members in 2017 alone! This proves that not only will we NEVER QUIT on each other, we’ll bring new people into the CSEA family because working New Yorkers understand the value of the union.

With all the coverage that’s been given to Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 and the Right-to-Work movement, we have to remember that so many other things are going on. For example, we are working to ensure that our state leaders enact a state budget that is fair to all New Yorkers.

With the state facing a $4 billion deficit and uncertainty at the federal level, this is a tough budget year. The budget includes proposals to increase revenues and it’s a step in the right direction, but there are also proposals in this budget that would harm people who need public services the most.

When it comes to CSEA’s collective bargaining power, I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of a dear friend to CSEA and to labor throughout New York, Jerry Lefkowitz. Jerry’s contributions to the labor movement in many ways provided the foundation for collective bargaining rights and the fair application of them. Jerry was a true champion of labor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jerry’s friends and family during this difficult time.

Hopefully as we make our way through February and into March, the weather will thaw a little, and we’ll get some relief from the bitter cold. Here in New York, we know that’s a bit of a dream, but we also know just as long as we need to, we’ll NEVER QUIT delivering the vital services New Yorkers need every day, and along with that, we’ll NEVER QUIT on each other!

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