One of the teams knocking on doors during the Putnam County member engagement blitz consisted of, from left, Putnam County Local Executive Vice President Mark Semo, Putnam County Local President Jane Meunier, and Dutchess County Education Local Executive Vice President Lynne Gamache.

CARMEL — While the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case is behind us, the need for one-on-one conversations with our members hasn’t changed.

That’s what activists from the Putnam County Local, volunteers from other locals, and staff confirmed when they spent three days in mid-March knocking on doors and visiting with members at their homes, an opportunity that allowed us to answer questions and hear feedback from members while making sure they’re also aware of the vast resources available to them through our union.

“We were excited to be part of this interactive movement to connect with our brothers and sisters,” said Putnam County Local President Jane Meunier. “We were able to hear a lot of positive comments about being union, get numerous recommitment cards signed, and also identify some issues that need to be addressed. After the blitz, we feel stronger than ever and like a force to be reckoned with.”

Haldane School District Unit President Anthony Stronconi was one of the unit presidents from the Putnam County Local volunteering for our member engagement blitz there.

Members receiving home visits had the opportunity to share their thoughts and ask questions they might not raise in a group setting such as a membership meeting. The outreach also allowed for two-way conversations reinforcing the importance of being union.

“When you’re part of anything, whether it’s a union or a sports team, you’re always stronger when you work together,” said Haldane School District Unit President Anthony Stronconi, who volunteered for his first blitz.

“Until I was 50, I always worked in construction. If I was out of work, I wasn’t getting paid. It gives me a true appreciation for what we have because we’re union.”

Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo said the successful blitz reinforced the continued need for member engagement.

“Whether it’s a bargaining unit with only a handful of people or a group that is thousands strong, every member deserves one-on-one outreach, which helps us build a stronger CSEA,” Riccaldo said.

— Jessica Ladlee

A group of volunteers gathered at the conclusion of the member engagement blitz. Pictured, from left: SUNY New Paltz Local President Anthony Adamo, Dutchess County Unit Secretary Karla Friedle, Dutchess County Education Local Executive Vice President Lynne Gamache, Putnam County Local Executive Vice President Mark Semo, Herkimer County Local President Beth Hall, CSEA Secretarial Office Assistant Kimberly Morales, Dutchess County Unit 1st Vice President Mary Brown, and Dutchess County Local President Liz Piraino.

Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo, left, teams up with SUNY New Paltz Local Executive Vice President Fred DeStefano for an afternoon of member home visits.


About Author

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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