WHITE PLAINS – There’s a lot to love about unions.

Thanks to a strong labor movement, we have the protections of union contracts, better health care benefits, workplace safety provisions and a voice on the job.

CSEA Westchester County Unit members Elio and Kimberly Giuliani also gained something additional through our union: marriage.

While the duo knew of each other in passing from attending union meetings, the seeds of their relationship were first planted when, in 2003, Elio volunteered to head a committee to create a new union newsletter.

“Kim came to the meeting for our newsletter committee, which was where I first got to really know her,” said Elio, a longtime CSEA activist currently serving as unit treasurer and a Westchester County Local delegate. “That grew into a friendship as she became more involved in our union. I mentored her when she agreed to serve as unit secretary.”

The two got to know each other over a number of years before Cupid struck.

“He finally asked me out in 2011,” said Kimberly, smiling as she recounted the memory. “It took forever! I’d been waiting.”

Being together in union negotiations, rallies and meetings, the pair skipped past the sometimes awkward “getting to know you” phase of dating.

With much of their time together spent in negotiations for a new union contract, Kimberly and Elio realized they shared a knack for number crunching and the research that goes along with that process.

While the Westchester County Unit was unable to come to terms with the former county executive’s administration (that changed after current County Executive George Latimer was elected), the two eventually decided the time was right to enter into another sort of contract.

They married in June 2014 at a hotel just a few streets away from the Westchester County Unit office.

Now coming up on their fifth wedding anniversary, the Giulianis enjoy bicycling along the county’s bike paths, canvassing for local candidates, taking spin and yoga classes together and traveling, even arranging a tour of AFSCME headquarters during a trip to Washington, D.C. Wherever they go, they wear their CSEA apparel with pride and find our union to be a conversation starter.

“Wherever we go, we have people come up to us and say, ‘Hey, I’m CSEA, too!’” said Kimberly, who currently serves as 2nd vice president of the Westchester County Local. “Our members are everywhere and we’re always happy to meet people from other locals and units. It’s a great chance to talk about everything we get through our union.”

In the case of the Giulianis, those union benefits include happily ever after.

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About Author

Jessica Ladlee

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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