Labor Day 2018 Statement from CSEA Western Region President Kathy Button

Western Region President Kathy Button

WNY — Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Janus v. AFSCME case was released, union-haters launched an unprecedented misinformation campaign to get CSEA members and other public employees to quit their union.

They started emailing clerks, nurses, custodians, firefighters, teachers, and other hardworking unionists who provide vital necessary public services to our local communities. Anti-union groups also created websites targeting our members with untruths and their propaganda. Despite their efforts, these messaging campaigns are not working. Our members know better. Our members know the value of CSEA membership and are proving it every day by sticking with their union.

We have said all along, the Janus v. AFSCME case was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to silence the voice of working men and women and the unions who represent them. This case was never about free speech and the first amendment– it was a direct attack by corporate CEO’s and right-wing ideologues who know that when working people join together, we have the power to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. Our power in the workplace and at the ballot box is exactly what corporate special interests want to eliminate. Their thirst for power and greed is unquenchable.

Public employees have always had a choice whether to join a union or not and the Janus v. AFSCME decision doesn’t change that dynamic moving forward. The reality is our CSEA members are sticking with their union because they know the ability to speak with one voice and collectively bargain with employers are vital to achieving the American Dream.

We know anti-labor tactics won’t work in New York State because CSEA is one of the strongest and most powerful labor organizations in the country—and our members know it. We have been around for more than one-hundred years and we are not going anywhere.

Our members also know being represented by CSEA has terrific value. Chances are their median yearly income will be $11,000 more than nonunion workers. They know by being a member of a union, they are far more likely to have health insurance coverage and a support system second to none. They know that by being a member of a union, they will have retirement security and a brighter future.

CSEA is ready for this fight and for whatever comes next. In fact, these attacks will only make our labor family stronger and more committed than ever to stand up, fight back and make our voices heard.

On this Labor Day, while anti-union forces continue to misinform and divide working people, CSEA will continue to unite our communities and build an even more vibrant Labor Movement that will result in a growing economy and a thriving middle class.

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About Author

Ove Overmyer

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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