Sisters and Brothers, during this month, we celebrate Labor Day, I want to start by thanking you for your valued service, especially during these times.
Service to the public is often a thankless job, but during this particular holiday, we celebrate you and yours. It is thanks to your labors that our state and our communities have been able to function during this time of crisis. It is also thanks to you and your co-workers that our communities throughout New York remain great places to live and work. Whoever I talk with around the state, I remind them that the quality of life services we all enjoy, whether it’s our beautiful parks we relax in, the safe roads and highways we travel on every day, the reliable daycare our children and grandchildren have, our great public schools, the knowledge that our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of, the clean water we drink, our public health care system that works so hard to protect us from this pandemic, and so many more life-enhancing public services — these all depend on the dedication and hard work of so many union members throughout the state. I want everyone to understand that we are all essential workers.
On Labor Day, we also take the opportunity to recognize the collective work we in the labor movement do on your behalf — to lift you up, improve your life and advocate for better working conditions. I emphasize the word collective, because in our union, it’s all about working together, united, to achieve the best results for the greatest number of members we can. It’s what we work hard to do every single day and we take this special day to celebrate our accomplishments on behalf of working women and men.
Speaking of our advocacy efforts, at this time of year, it’s appropriate to highlight our political advocacy efforts. You probably know that we work to advocate on behalf of legislation that benefits members (and against legislation that does not), and we work to elect candidates that have earned our union’s support. I want you to know that we do NOT make our endorsements based on party affiliation. We endorse candidates who will listen to our concerns and align best with our values as a union, and do the best overall job for the majority of members. While we know we cannot please every member when we announce our endorsements, especially if they run in opposition to your own personal political leanings, I urge you to listen to our arguments when we talk about who we endorse and why.
Remember, we are not telling you who to vote for; we are simply making a recommendation on who we believe will support your best interests as a union-represented worker, on the issues that matter to you.
When it comes to who our union is supporting for President, I want you to know that this was not a decision I made lightly. It came after an analysis of the records of both major candidates and where they stand on issues that matter to the majority of union workers. For the first time ever, I also had our Political Action Department conduct a survey of all CSEA members who have registered emails with us, more than 120,000 members, asking their opinions on the issues, not the candidates. Those who responded overwhelmingly agreed. After hearing from the members and reviewing candidate records, we agree with our international union, that the choice is clear — former Vice President Joe Biden is the candidate who deserves our union’s support and has earned our endorsement.
If you take the time to educate yourself on the issues, you will discover that Joe Biden aligns much more closely with our core union values than our current President. When it comes to protecting and supporting your jobs as workers in public service, when it comes to protecting your retirement security, when it comes to preserving your health care benefits, we firmly believe that Joe Biden is the better candidate to be our next President. But please, do your own research and form your own opinion, and vote for whomever you think will best represent your interests. That is what our democracy is all about.
I hope that you will join me in working to support Joe Biden as we approach Election Day, and I urge you to vote, no matter who you support. Our democracy depends on an informed public that participates in the process.
Mary E. Sullivan, President