ALBANY — Our union recently designated May 20, 2020, as CSEA Appreciation Day, a day to publicly recognize essential workers throughout the state for their outstanding service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan puts out a sign to support essential workers. (Photo provided by Ron Briggs.)

CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan kicked off the day by unveiling the design of a lawn sign union activists placed outside workplaces around the state that day to appreciate our co-workers who have been working tirelessly throughout the crisis to provide essential public services.

“We’re posting these signs across the state to recognize our essential workers for their sacrifices and thank them for their service during this critical time of need for all New Yorkers,” Sullivan said.

In addition to placing the signs at our members’ work sites, union and political leaders also shared their support for CSEA members on social media throughout the day.

Union members keep our communities running
Throughout the pandemic, tens of thousands of CSEA members remained on the job providing many critical services to people in communities throughout New York, including jobs such as, but not limited to:

From left, Amanda Johnson, Joan Mann, Tammy Hainey and Carrie Gallagher.

  • Caring for individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities;
  • Maintaining our roads, highways and critical infrastructure;
  • Maintaining physical facilities and grounds at public buildings;
  • Treating sewage, collecting municipal garbage and operating landfills;
  • Helping people in need connect with social safety net services;
  • Keeping us safe with corrections, law enforcement, 911 dispatch and other emergency services;
  • Providing vital public health services, including supporting our SUNY University Hospital System;
  • Caring for residents in nursing homes;
  • Providing child care for the children of first responders;
  • School workers providing meals to students in need, cleaning school buildings to prevent the spread of illness; and
  • Parks workers keeping our recreational spaces operational.

CSEA/VOICE Group Family Child Care Provider Maritza Velazquez thanks essential workers outside her Rochester program.

In praising the workers for their public service, Sullivan said CSEA hopes members of the public will also recognize their value.

“All too often, our CSEA members work behind the scenes and get taken for granted,” Sullivan said. “We hope that the public, like we do, recognizes their dedication and commitment to public service, and just how much they are doing, often at great personal sacrifice, to help get us through this crisis.”

If you had work sites that you wanted to post signs outside of but did not get them, please contact your Region President and we will try and get additional signs distributed while supplies remain. You can also download your own copy of the sign at that you can print out and post in your home or workplace.

— Mark M. Kotzin

Top image: Riverbank State Park workers Rocio Reyes, Geyser Suero-Matos, Alec Beasley and activist Ricky Davis maintain an oasis vital to the health and well-being of countless New Yorkers.

Kingsboro Psychiatric Center Local President Conrad Forsythe and Metropolitan Region President Lester Crockett thank essential workers.


About Author

Mark M. Kotzin

Mark Kotzin has been passionately advocating on behalf of workers for more than 30 years, and is proud to serve as CSEA's statewide Director of Communications and Publisher of the CSEA Work Force.

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