MANHATTAN — At our recent 108th Annual Delegates Meeting, hundreds of CSEA officers, delegates and activists recently received inspiration to further help our union stay strong.
During the five-day meeting, delegates conducted official union business, and attended workshops and trainings designed to make them stronger activists and leaders.
CSEA delegates heard from a number of speakers who urged us to Stay Union, Stay Strong.
CSEA President Danny Donohue stressed the importance of sticking with our union during his address to delegates. “We could lose our voice at work, health care, pension and contracts if we don’t stand together.”
He urged the delegates to keep fighting to protect what unions have worked hard for because “we are union, we are strong!”
Also motivating our delegates was AFSCME International President Lee Saunders.
“If they think we’re just going to close up shop, and call it a day, then they have no idea who they are dealing with,” Saunders said. “We are not going anywhere, sisters and brothers. We will stay union and stay strong! The more our enemies try to keep us down, the higher, the further we will rise up!”
New York State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Terry Melvin, a former CSEA activist who also serves as president of the AFL-CIO constituency group Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, urged delegates to rise up and meet our challenges.
“We are union and we are strong!” Melvin said. “This is our mantra and it is our job to continue to fight for justice for all workers. This is a fight to preserve the soul of our country and the fate of all working men and women in this country. Workers united will never be defeated!”
During his address, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli focused on the future of unions and CSEA’s commitment to engaging the membership to stick with our union.
“Stay union, stay strong! No union does it better than CSEA!” said DiNapoli. “When [the Janus decision]came, you didn’t see people running out the door. In fact, we’re starting to see the opposite.”
The 108th Annual Delegates Meeting also had poignant moments, during which two members of our union family were honored.
Late Western Region President Flo Tripi, who passed away in July, was honored for her 50 years of service to our union through a video tribute, a standing ovation, and numerous mentions from speakers about her dedication, service, spirit and contributions to the labor movement in America.
Former Central Region President Colleen Wheaton, who recently retired after attending her last Annual Delegates Meeting as an officer, was also honored for her union service through a video tribute and a standing ovation from the delegates.
Other guests who addressed the meeting included State Sen. John Flanagan, New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, and state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.