YONKERS — Thanks to our union’s mobilization efforts and cooperation from elected officials, the 127 CSEA members from the Yonkers School District Unit previously facing layoffs this summer will now be staying on the job.
The city’s $45.3 million budget gap would have cut bus monitors, safety officers, clerical workers, school aides and custodians from a school district already operating at bare bones staffing levels.
Concerned about ensuring the Yonkers community knew what was at stake, Yonkers School District Unit President Lionel Turner appeared on local radio and cable access television shows to rally support, also writing an op-ed for a local newspaper.
Not long before Mayor Mike Spano announced the budget shortfall, CSEA members there ratified a new contract after difficult negotiations.
“We are grateful that Governor Cuomo interceded and provided the funding that, along with a city property tax increase, allowed our members to remain on the job,” said Turner. “This gives the city time to get its fiscal house in order. Our members are tired of this annual saga where their livelihoods are at risk. We did not create this financial crisis and stood firm opposing givebacks, but we will definitely be part of the conversation moving forward to determine where other savings might be found.”
Turner commended unit officers, who stepped up their activism throughout the campaign, saying the experience helped them build even stronger leadership skills.
Westchester County Local President John Staino said the victory is a prime example of why staying union is the way to stay strong.
“When union members stand together, we win,” Staino said. “Now, more than ever, it pays to remain committed to our union. This win in Yonkers shows that there really is great strength in numbers.”
— Jessica Ladlee