ALBANY — In the wake of a recent assault on a state employee in a downtown Albany parking lot, our union is working to ensure that members stay safe.

CSEA is working with state officials to raise awareness and boost safety in the area, where hundreds of state employees park every day.

CSEA Capital Region President Ron Briggs, region activists and union staff recently distributed important safety information and safety whistles to state employees near state agency parking lots on Elk Street.

State officials have recently increased security in the parking lots in that area, including increasing patrols, increasing parking lot lighting and clearing brush from the edges of lots that border wooded areas.

“There was an incident in a parking lot in which a state employee was hurt. State and CSEA are working together on a higher level to increase security,” Briggs said. “Our job is to help members to understand that they should remember they are walking in a public space, so we are giving out tips and safety whistles toward this effort.”

Many state employees admitted to being apprehensive in the lot area, particularly later in the day when there are fewer people around.

Carin Zazycki, a Medicaid eligibility examiner at the state Department of Health, said that while she takes the bus to and from work, many of her co-workers have expressed being nervous in state parking lots.

“I’m glad our union and the state are taking action,” said Zazycki.

Delores Lesson, recording secretary of the state Higher Education Services Corporation Local, also admits she takes the bus for safety reasons, particularly when she and her co-workers have to work late.

“We’re in the office until 7:30 p.m. [two nights per week],” Lesson said. “We’re a little nervous this time of night. It’s good to see that everyone works together. Union strong!”

To see tips about how to stay safe while in parking lots, visit cseany.org/parking-lot-safety-tips.

— Janice Gavin

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Janice Gavin

Janice Gavin is the editor of The Work Force and CSEA’s special interest publications, Essentially Women, Retiree News and Canary. A graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh and Syracuse University, Gavin has been a journalist and public relations professional for more than 20 years. She worked as a newspaper reporter and bureau chief at the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, where she was honored with Associated Press and New York Newspaper Publishers Association awards. Gavin joined CSEA as a communications specialist in the union's Southern Region in 2000. In 2004, she became The Work Force's associate editor, a position she held until becoming the publication's editor in 2017. Growing up in a union household, she is dedicated to improving workers’ lives through telling their stories.

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