KINGSTON — When Sheri Farrell sets her mind to something, there’s no stopping her.

That was certainly the case when, while participating in our union’s Leadership Education And Development (LEAD) program, Farrell made it her mission to convert non-members from the Ulster County Unit to full union membership.

She organized a unit-wide membership blitz, planning every aspect for unit leaders and staff, from recruiting volunteers to printing specific driving directions from house to house.

That accomplishment, detailed in a recent Work Force edition, earned Farrell our union’s Membership Achievement Award, which she received at the 108th Annual Delegates Meeting in New York City.

It was a fitting honor for Farrell, who regularly encourages other CSEA members to get more involved in our union and helps head up the Ulster County Local Next Wave Committee.

Cultivating new union activists is often just a matter of an invitation, Farrell said, something she knows firsthand.

“Somebody asked me to [get involved],” said Farrell, 37. “It was as simple as that. I started out by being on the audit committees for my unit and my local because I was asked to review financial records similar to what I did for my job. It was an easy and small commitment. Then, someone else asked me to run with them as secretary for our unit, and I did. Since then, my eyes have been opened and I see the importance of being involved.”

As unit secretary, Farrell is known for her knack for organization, a talent she has put to good use as her CSEA involvement has grown.

“I am the chairperson for our unit’s grievance committee, which entails planning before the meeting and follow up afterward,” Farrell said. “Being organized allows all of us to balance our roles as leaders to best assist our membership.”

While the membership blitz served its purpose of reaching non-members, Farrell said the increased outreach has benefited the entire membership.

“We’re seeing that people understand the Janus v. AFSCME case and what the implications are if they were to drop their union membership,” Farrell said. “When someone questions the value in being union, we’ve seen members who weren’t previously involved step up and explain to our co-workers all the different benefits we get through our union. What was initially seen as a challenge has made us stronger.”

— Jessica Ladlee

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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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