Saturday, February 27, 2010


Shadows are not the only thing that obsure the view
of the Monroe County Office Building, Rochester, N.Y.
-home to the Monroe County Legislature
and many CSEA Local 828 members

The Monroe County Legislature Democratic minority recently held a news conference where they unveiled a plan to basically cut the size of the Monroe County Legislature in half. There are 29 seats and the Democratic proposal reduces that number to 15. The Republican Majority would redraw the districts based on the 2010 census.

Democrats, who hold 13 of 29 seats, pitched the idea of a 15-seat legislature which would save $500,000 per year when lawmakers’ salaries, benefits and resources are eliminated. The Dems say the change would save county taxpayers more than $1 million in the first two years of such a change.

The legislature’s total budget is $2.1 million, which the Brooks administration classifies as a “mandated expense.” Rank-and-file lawmakers earn $18,000 per year, meaning that cutting 14 legislative seats would trim $252,000 in salaries alone. 

Democratic Minority Leader Harry Bronson says the proposal will bring our legislature in line with peer counties in terms of the number of constituents per legislative district. Currently there are about 25,000 people living in each district, whereas Monroe’s peer counties average slightly more than 50,000 per district.  Upon voter approval in November 2010, this proposal would take effect on January 1, 2012, following the redistricting process.

Dan Quatro, a Republican legislator who lives in suburban Webster, demonstrated how woefully out of touch he his with the working families of Monroe County. In a statement to the press immediately following the Democratic caucus press conference, Quatro said, "The reason that counties in New York State are having financial difficulties aren't because of the size of their Legislatures –it's because we have a tremendous amount of mandated expenses. We spend way too much on Medicaid and we spend way too much on public employee unions."

Dan Quatro obviously hasn't learned much in the past few years. Just off a major controversy where he called a Democratic colleague "a retard" in public and refused to acknowledge he did it, Quatro put his foot in his mouth again. Why give due diligence to million dollar whacky deals to cronies when you can blame the poor, working poor and the disabled community for obfuscating all the tax dollars?

Dan Quatro is starting to parrot the national conservative talking points, blaming the economic downturn on the downtrodden, the people who work at the DMV and your neighbors who plow your roads so you can get to work on time. Rather than respond in an honest fashion to a legitimate effort to reduce County spending, Quatro seized the opportunity to bash the hard working public employees of Monroe County.  There is one word for this behavior-- shameless.

This restructuring plan would no doubt upset the apple cart of the pay-to-play schemes the Republican Party has been wielding since they have been in the majority. Despite this overt snub, we look forward to continuing and developing positive relationships with County lawmakers with the hope we can address the complicated needs of our tax-paying working families.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Western New York--  The NYS Civil Service Department will be giving the Beginning Clerical Worker exam on May 8. The CSEA WORK Institute will be providing classroom based training in our region at the Mahoney State Office Building in Buffalo on March 31 and April 1.

We will also have an online version of the workshop available on March 30. As always, we have Civil Service Test Prep Study Guides available and have materials for every topic on this exam. You can check out our learning center to learn more about all of our services and products at the CSEA Learning Center.

For more information about the NYS and CSEA Partnership for Education and Training, you can visit the home page here.  Flyers announcing the workshop will be arriving at your workplace in the next few weeks.


There are hundreds of library workers represented by CSEA in Monroe County and the City of Rochester. Since the recession, the number of library users has dramatically increased as workers scramble to meet the needs of the community.

For more than 100 years, CSEA has remained focused on not just protecting our members but also the essential services we provide to New Yorkers every day. We also recognize these are extraordinary times with unprecedented challenges.  Public employees across New York State have tried and are committed to finding solutions to the budget crisis without reopening contracts.

For one thing, libraries help job seekers

Throughout New York State, libraries are seeing a tremendous increase in use by people engaged in job searches, applying for jobs online and acquiring job search skills such as resume writing and effective interviewing. 75 percent of all jobs listings are now online and at least 60 percent of prospective employers only accept online job applications. If it weren’t for New York’s libraries, over 330,000 unemployed people throughout the state would not be able to apply for jobs online.

According to a recent Gates Foundation study, 73 percent of libraries serve as a community’s only option for free internet access— in New York State it’s closer to 80 percent. In a January 2009 survey conducted by the New York Library Association, it was found that 80 percent of our libraries had helped a patron look or apply for a job— given the economy, that number has surely increased by now.

Almost all our libraries offer classes and programs that teach its patrons how to use computers, access the internet and effectively use e-mail. Over 80 percent of our libraries staff members help patrons understand and use e-government services.

A call to action

In New York State, this will be the fifth cut in less than two years and will bring Library Aid down from $102 million in 2007 to $84.5 million in 2010. These cuts are a combined total of $18 million. Translated, this is an 18 percent reduction in funding for library services. Libraries are part of our safety net—they are essential to life long learning, jobs and opportunity, quality of life and community empowerment. To cut funding to an American institution that has a huge return on investment to local communities is fiscally and ethically misguided.

Help us protect New York’s libraries and library systems. We need to tell the NYS Legislature to reject the $2.4 million cut in Library Aid Governor David Paterson is proposing in the 2010-2011 Executive Budget. The budget deadline hovers around April 1, but has been historically late due to ineptness and legislative dysfunction.

Without our libraries, those seeking new jobs and opportunity in this economic downturn would have no options. What if your neighborhood library suddenly closed it's doors? It could happen sooner than you think. So, get off your duff and contact your state legislator today. The future of our libraries and our economy is dependent on whether you decide to take direct action. Make your move today.

--This special commentary was authored by Ove Overmyer. Overmyer is the Unit President of the City of Rochester Library Workers 7420 and Vice President of Monroe County Local 828.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Albany, N.Y.--  The Civil Service Employees Association has won a temporary restraining order to prevent staff reductions at several facilities operated by the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and the Office of Mental Health.

In a lawsuit filed on February 24, CSEA claimed the state's action constituted a breach of the agreement it signed with Gov. David Paterson in June 2009 that guaranteed a moratorium on layoffs of members of CSEA -- as well as another large state workers union, the Public Employees Federation -- through 2010.

In exchange, our working families agreed not to fight Paterson's push for a less-generous Tier V pension plan, which was signed into law in early December.  These concessions are proof that CSEA is willing to help solve the long term fiscal challenges of the state budget crisis.

The union's movement on Tier V reflects the reality of current economic conditions and the fact that it will only apply to future hires. There will be no negative impact on the retirement rights and provisions of current employees.

From the start, CSEA has remained focused on not just protecting our members but also the essential services we provide to New Yorkers every day.  CSEA recognizes these are extraordinary times with unprecedented challenges and we have tried to find ways to help without reopening contracts. We believe the agreement worked out with the governor's office achieves all of these aims.  Now, Governor Paterson is reneging on his promise.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. McNamara granted the restraining order, holding in abeyance job reductions at the Bernard Fineson Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Queens and other facilities.

CSEA said the state had been planning to lay off 18 workers and cut the hours of a half-dozen more. "It's a shame we have to go to court to get the governor to keep his word," said CSEA President Danny Donohue.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


pictured above are CSEA 2010 UCAN
graduates with Region 6 President Flo Tripi (center)

left to right:  Holly Gudonis, T. Judith Johnson, Flo Tripi
P. Angela Muscianese and Roland Gray
photo by Ove Overmyer

Rochester, N.Y.--  Four CSEA Local 828 Unit 7400 Monroe County employees and WNY Region 6 President Flo Tripi were honored at the 2010 United Way AFL-CIO Community Services Partnership Labor Recognition Dinner at the downtown Hyatt Hotel on February 23.

Flo Tripi won the Robert J. Flavin Community Service Award for her outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life for all who call Rochester home.  For over 30 years, Flo has personally raised thousands of dollars for essential services for those who can not advocate for themselves and has shown exemplary leadership skills and perseverance in the labor and nonprofit communities.

CSEA Local 828 members P. Angela Muscianese, Roland Gray, Holly Gudonis and T. Judith Johnson were program graduates of the prestigious Union Community Assistance Network (UCAN), which prepares labor advocates to take leadership roles in board rooms and meeting spaces across Western New York.

For more than 40 years, the Union Community Assistance Network (UCAN) program's goal is to expand labor's presence in our communities. Emphasis is placed on increasing labor participation with local service providers. UCAN participants gain a better understanding of the social and economic conditions that contribute to workers' everyday stresses, and learn how to help meet the human service needs of working families. Throughout the program, UCAN participants look at how union members can assist one another by familiarizing themselves with the resources available to them.

To see photos of this event, you can click here.

The Union Community Assistance Network is coordinated jointly by the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO, United Way of Greater Rochester and Cornell Labor Studies Program.  The dinner event sponsor was Chamberlain D'Amanda law firm headquartered in Rochester, N.Y.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


CSEA President Danny Donohue talks
to reporters outside Erie County Office Building
in September of 2009.
photo by Ove Overmyer

Albany, N.Y.--  On February 22, CSEA President Danny Donohue said that he will run for the secretary-treasurer post of the national AFSCME union, a position being vacated by William Lucy due to retirement.

Donohue said he will still be active in state budget talks as he heads the state’s largest union of more than 300,000 state employees and runs for the national position. Donohue has served as CSEA president for 16 years and serves on the AFSCME board.

“I believe I can make a difference,” he told the Albany press corps. “Clearly in New York over the last 16 years, we’ve been dealing with Democrats and Republicans, we’ve been dealing with the same fiscal crisis that has been affecting the whole country.”

Donohue, 65, is likely to have competition at the June convention in Boston to fill the post, but CSEA in New York will be sending one of the largest delegations, a total of 240 people to join some 3,800 others from across the nation.  Local 828 President Bess Watts and Monroe County Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto will be representing our local membership at the AFSCME Delegates Convention.

Donohue added that if AFSCME International President Gerald McEntee chooses not to run for re-election in 2012, Donohue also will be a candidate for the top job of the 1.6 million-member AFSCME.

The No. 2 post opens June 25 and the convention is June 27.  Danny said if he is successful, he will step down from the CSEA position and hand the reins over to Executive Vice President Mary Sullivan, who would become the second woman president of CSEA.  Sullivan would automatically fill the two years remaining on Donohue's term.

Donohue has been an international vice president of AFSCME for several years and has been a supporter of both Lucy and McEntee. He said he can handle the top jobs of the Washington, D.C.-based labor group because the issues facing its members are comparable to those facing New York CSEA employees.

"The fights across the country are the same -- growth, mobilizing," he said. "Dealing with ... (people) trying to blame public service for all the bugaboos out there, how the governments are being blamed for all the financial situation. You can't cut your way out of all this stuff, you can't tax your way out of it."

Lucy will endorse Donohue to succeed him. "He has led the development of a strong and effective staff to deal with the multitude of issues that confront his members at every level of government in New York," Lucy said.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Critical Jobs Legislation Stalled in U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate adjourned for the week without passing critical "jobs legislation." The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in December.

CSEA supports a "jobs bill" that includes additional funding for state and local governments to keep people working and delivering essential services during this economic recession.

Please call Senator Charles Schumer at 202-224-6542 and ask him to lead the fight for additional funding for the state and municipalities.

President Obama to Hold Health Care Summit

President Obama has proposed a health-care summit, with both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, to discuss health care reform and the prospects of getting a reform bill passed this year. The summit is scheduled for February 25th. Please stay tuned for more details.

Call To Action - Albany Permit Parking Legislation

The Senate Transportation Committee will be voting Tuesday on a bill that creates a permit parking system around the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

This bill drastically reduces on-street parking for state employees and does not address the overall parking problem in the area.

Call Senator Martin Dilan (Chair, Transportation Committee) at (518) 455-2177 and Senator Neil Breslin, sponsor of the legislation, at (518) 455-2225 and ask them to pull this misguided legislation from the agenda.

State Budget Flyers

Please visit CSEA's website for flyers and talking points regarding the 2010-11 State Budget.

For more information on any of these issues, please contact the Legislative and Political Action Department at (518) 436-8622.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


"CSEA and the Special Olympics are great community partners."
-Bess Watts, President, CSEA Local 828
photo by Ove Overmyer

Rochester, N.Y.-- Over 20 CSEA members and their supporters were included in the thousands of  courageous folk who took part in the very chilly 10th annual Polar Plunge at Lake Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.

The water temperature hovered around 34 degrees and the wind chill was much colder.  Heavy equipment plowed out an area of the lake in front of the Robach Community Center.  The lake quickly formed ice chunks on the surface as the first responders stood by for good measure.  However, that development and the chilly temps didn't deter Local 828 and WNY Region 6 members from taking the frigid dip in Lake Ontario anyway. 

Organizers estimated nearly 1,100 people pledged donations to benefit the Special Olympics of New York.  Additionally, a crowd of over 1,000 people and media types watched and cheered the plungers on.

Team CSEA WNY Region 6 achieved VIP sponsor status, raising nearly $6,000.00.  According to Christopher F. Smith, Vice President of Development for the Special Olympics New York, approximately $175,000.00 has already been raised and they expect more donations to follow.  The Rochester area plunge consistently raises more money than any of the other 8 statewide Polar Plunge events.  Flo Tripi, WNY Region 6 President, was the third highest individual donor raising nearly $3,000.00.

To see a slideshow of the event, you can click here(photography by Ove Overmyer)  To view a video of the plunge, please click here. (video by Bess Watts)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


 CSEA Local 828 Proudly Presents
The George M. Growney Memorial Scholarships

Rochester, N.Y.--  The CSEA Local 828 Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce that applications for the George M. Growney Memorial Scholarships are now available.  These financial awards are for children or dependents living with members of Local 828 who are in good standing.  The students must be entering into college, vocational or apprenticeship programs.

Local 828 will be awarding over $6,000.00 in total awards and the Monroe County Unit 7400 will be awarding $1,500.00 in total scholarship money.  Filing deadline is April 30, 2010.

For a complete list of information and to find out how to access applications, please see poster below (click on image for a large format view).  Again, if you have any questions about this effort, contact Local 828 Scholarship Chairpersons Kim Hawkins at   or Sue Trottier at .

Friday, February 12, 2010


Rundel Memorial Library Building (circa 1935)
Rochester, New York

Rochester, N.Y.--  In a May 1936 article in the Rochester Gas and Electric News, author Landis S. Smith asked, "What does the word library mean to you? Does it mean a stuffy silent place where bookworms gather the dust of ages? Well, if it does you’re sure not keeping up with the times…Snap out of it, Brother…Wake up and live! You’re missing a lot."

Smith was referring to the imminent opening of the Rundel Memorial Building on South Avenue, which eventually became the home of the Central Library of Rochester and the Monroe County Library System. The cornerstone for the building (which reads 1934) was laid on June 15, 1935 in a ceremony officiated by Mayor Charles Stanton.  The building was dedicated on October 4, 1936, but its arrival was long awaited in the city.

During the Great Depression, one of the priorities of the federal Works Progress Administration was to build and staff libraries. This stimulated the economy, created jobs and helped educate the nation.  There are hundreds of library workers represented by CSEA in Monroe County and the City of Rochester.

Unfortunately, the lessons of the past are not being replayed in our current recession. President  Obama's proposed budget freezes all federal Library Services and Technology Act funds at this year’s level of $214 million. Many education programs and initiatives are being eliminated completely and support for school libraries and school librarians is being minimized with greater focus on other programs. The pressure is on to include library staff in the “Jobs” bill about to be introduced in the Senate. We hope this will prove successful in creating new employment opportunities for library staff.

New York State Aid for Libraries:
For the fifth time in two years, another cut has been proposed for the 25 state aid to libraries programs in the state budget. The Executive Budget Proposal, which includes an additional 2.8% cut, is now one of the many items being discussed in the legislature as the deliberative process works towards the April 1st deadline for the new budget and the start of the new fiscal year. This additional cut, if it comes to fruition, means that State Aid for Libraries would be $18 million or 18% less than it was in 2007-2008.

In context, it should be noted that state aid to schools is proposed for a 5% cut in funding after multiple years of funding increases. Funding for many other programs is left untouched. The library commuity has been persistent in telling all who will listen that these cuts, if enacted, will result in layoffs, branch closures and reductions in services and service hours.

The cuts to public and school library systems and reference and research library resources systems will mean less for databases and materials, reduced interlibrary loan and delivery, challenged technology services, and less support for specialized services for youth, seniors, speakers of English as a second language, the blind and disabled, the unemployed and the incarcerated.

If any of these impacts are being considered by your libraries or systems, pick up the phone today and call a legislator to convey your story. State and County legislators will be making difficult choices. Sending them your personal testimony might help them make wise choices.  Ask yourself this question:  Do you want to live in a community without a library?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.-- Ove Overmyer, Local 828 VP and Unit President of the City of Rochester Library Workers 7420, fired off a letter to Rochester's City Newspaper describing what he calls unfair and untrue claims by Governor Paterson directed toward CSEA.  The article appeared in the February 10th, 2010 edition of the weekly newspaper. 

Here is the article:

The Paterson administration and my union, the Civil Service Employees Association, have been publicly trading barbs at one another. We are at different ends of the spectrum over how we can improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. What particularly disturbs me is the lack of civility of the debate.

In an "Answering to Upstate" meeting in Rochester on January 26, Paterson said state employees' unions have refused to cooperate with his efforts to reduce the state's expenses. This is not true. He also stated, "There are those who are so self-absorbed ... that they thumb their nose at the public's face."

To set the record straight, last summer CSEA membership agreed to the creation of a Tier V system for new hires, long-term employees took an early buy-out on retirement, and we offered several solutions to help reduce the deficit. In turn, the governor revisited the idea of laying off more than 8,900 workers after he had said he wouldn't just four months earlier.

The governor's recent anti-union comments also gave license to others in our community to unleash a barrage of insults and nasty rhetoric about our character and even our relevancy.

This is who we are. We are your tax-paying neighbors who deliver the public services you rely on every day. We are not a special interest. We are your investment. We plow the roads so you can get to work on time. We take care of your aging parents, teach your children, get criminals off the street, and assist you when you need help finding that best seller at the public library.

The majority of public employees who are union members do not have inflated salaries or pensions. We live paycheck to paycheck like most people and are just trying to provide for our families. Union officers are democratically elected workers who represent the best interests of their members, their employer, and the greater community. For starters, my fellow union workers donate countless hours to the membership drive at WXXI and to the Special Olympics.

It deeply saddens me that our community sees public employee unions as the cause of Albany's budget problems. Laying off workers who are already overburdened will not improve the quality of life here in the Empire State. We don't need smaller government. We need smarter government.


Overmyer is president, CSEA City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828, Unit 7420.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


AFSCME President Gerald McEntee at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, N.Y. on February 8.
photo by Ove Overmyer


By Ove Overmyer

Albany, N.Y. -- As our nation struggles through a grave economic crisis, poor fiscal conditions are expected to get even worse in the months and years ahead. With state and local revenues hurting as a result of this national economic downturn, there is increased pressure to make significant budget cuts in public services at a time when they are needed most.

But these challenges — vital services at risk when demand for them is growing — create great opportunities to tell our story and the critical value of the jobs we do and services we provide.

At an Albany rally yesterday, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said, “News that the jobless rate declined to 9.7% in January is cause for cautious optimism, but far too many Americans are still out of work and too many jobs are still at risk.”

He added, “Congress and state legislatures must act now to save nearly a million jobs in 2010 as local and state governments struggle with a $178 billion shortfall this year. Failure to invest in states and communities means the vital services Americans need during tough times will be cut to the bone.”

McEntee announced the delivery of $300,000 to help the six New York affiliate AFSCME unions deal with the brutal misconceptions that conservative media conglomerates and anti-labor groups are professing. The Protect Public Services Campaign will provide a series of advertisements and public service announcements to educate the community about the state’s budget realities and reveal a more accurate depiction of the role of New York’s public employee unions.

The event included addresses from labor leaders, including CSEA President Danny Donohue, and guest speakers, including keynote speaker AFSCME International President Gerald McEntee, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Conference Leader John Sampson and state Sen. Diane Savino.

Silver told union members that he continues to believe Paterson's budget numbers are bad, predicting the latest deficit hole is as much as $250 million more than the $750 million claimed by the governor.

Activists lobby lawmakers

Governor Paterson and state legislators are making budget decisions now for the next fiscal year. Over 2,000 activists from Buffalo to Montauk Pt. came to Albany to tell their elected representatives that cutting services and laying off workers is not the solution to the budget gap. Additionally, workers advocated for safe streets, to make sure our children are properly educated and that our working families deserve decent healthcare. CSEA and AFSCME members have also devised solutions to the revenue side of the budget, which include putting an end to the stock transfer rebate loophole and collecting taxes that are due on the sale of tobacco products.

McEntee added, “Investing in jobs with targeted support for states and local governments will put people back to work, pave the way for economic recovery and help provide the vital public services that protect communities during these troubled times.”

To view some photos from lobby day, you can click here.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Amy Traub, writer and Huffington Post blogger did America some justice by responding to the insipid article in a Wall Street Journal editorial which blames the demise of our economy on public employee unions.  Please read on:


Huffington Post, February 4, 2010--  Forget about the too-big-to-fail banks: the real economic menace comes from the officer directing traffic downtown. That's the message of yesterday's preposterous Wall Street Journal editorial arguing that public employees - and their unions - "may be the single biggest problem" for the nation's economy. It's part of a mounting conservative effort to direct populist rage against public sector workers and build political will to slash public services, prevent tax increases on the wealthy, and deflect attention from the real causes of our economic decline. After all, why regulate risk-taking bankers when you can stick it to the guy who picks up the trash?

Conservatives' crusade against public employees is decades old, but it's received fresh momentum now that the recession is causing tax shortfalls that have strained public budgets. And the latest impetus comes from a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report finding that a slim majority of the nation's union members now work in the public sector.  (Scroll down to January 25 post to read related article)

To read the entire article, go here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.--  On February 4, CSEA Monroe County Part-Time Workers Local 828 Unit 7401 officially launched a blog that will keep workers informed about news and information with respect to their union representation.

Don Wallace, Unit President of the Part Time Unit, says the blog is just one more way that he and his officers are continuing to reach out to such a diverse workforce.  Part-Time workers are employed at the Monroe County Hospital, Sheriff's Office, DMV, Department of Health, Parks Department and various other locations throughout the County.

CSEA Local 828 Unit 7401 has approximately 200 eligible workers who benefit from a contract that guarantees respect and democracy in the workplace.  The Unit is now in negotiations with the County for a new bargaining agreement and are hopeful for a resolution in the near future.  The Part-Time workers have been working without a contract since December 2008.

To visit the blogspot, go here or check out the link on the blog list on the right side of this page.


"It's time to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
-Gerald W. McEntee

Washington, D.C. -- Gerald W. McEntee, president of the 1.6 million member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), released the following statement on February 2 regarding President Obama’s efforts to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:

“We are encouraged by the steps begun today by President Obama and the Pentagon to end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. More than 13,000 American troops have been discharged under this unjust policy that forces gay and lesbian Americans in our armed forces to serve in silence. Discrimination has no place in any American institution. It undermines our national security and the effectiveness of our military by discharging trained individuals who are essential members of military units. It undermines our values by requiring dishonesty and promoting a misguided notion that some Americans are not entitled to full equality.

“Our allies across the globe, including Britain, Canada, France and Israel, have many years of experience demonstrating that the service of openly gay and lesbian personnel does not impact the fighting effectiveness of their armed forces. America’s military will be stronger when we stop a policy that denies talented men and women the opportunity to serve our country with honesty. Discrimination against gay and lesbian service personnel undermines the spirit of equality that has shaped our country throughout our history. It offends our deepest values. It is time for Congress to act quickly to bring this relic of bigotry to an end.

AFSCME is proud of the role we have played in working to end discrimination on the basis of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. For thirty years, we have led the fight to eliminate the discrimination too many gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Americans face every day in our nation. We support President Obama’s effort to change this destructive and unnecessary policy. It is time to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations – from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers – AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.



Western New York State-- CSEA will participate in AFSCME's annual Lobby Day in Albany on Monday, Feb. 8. Help us lobby against the governor's proposed budget plan that targets the working poor and middle class.

Danny Donohue, president of CSEA said in press release dated January 19, "Governor David Paterson's unwillingness to address the misuse of $62 million in taxpayer money on temporary state workers should be evidence that there are still better budget choices to be made. Hiring and shortchanging temporary workers in dozens of state agencies for years on end is a misguided priority and a violation of the law. Before the governor asks union-represented state employees for concessions, he needs to change his own administration's practices that undermine working people."

He added, "CSEA will address these issues and so many others in the course of the weeks ahead with the objective of protecting jobs and services and their impact on the quality of life for New Yorkers."

Buses leave the Buffalo area at 5:30 a.m. and will arrive at the RIT Inn and Conference Center parking lot at 6:45 am. We will leave Rochester promptly at 7:00 am. To reserve your seat, call Political Action Coordinator Courtney Brunelle at 716-691-6555 or 1-866-568-7734. 

The return bus home is scheduled to arrive no later than 8 pm. Meals will be provided. A light breakfast, full lunch upon arrival to Albany, and a light dinner will be provided.

Take advantage of this opportunity to visit our state’s capital and let our state legislators know what issues matter to our working families!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


M. Patricia Smith

Washington, D.C.--  On February 1, The Senate voted 60-32 to end debate on the nomination of M. Patricia Smith, clearing her way for confirmation as solicitor of labor and breaking the stranglehold Republicans had put on her to be the nation's top labor lawyer.

President Obama nominated Smith nine months ago, where Republicans have been using any and all obstruction tactics to block a vote on her nomination.  She is currently New York state's labor commissioner.

Prior to being named labor commissioner of New York, Smith served for 20 years as an attorney in the Labor Bureau of the New York state Attorney General’s Office, working for both Democratic and Republican administrations. She represented New York in cases involving its labor standards, workplace safety and health, unemployment insurance, apprentice training and prevailing wage statutes.

The solicitor of labor oversees enforcement of the nation's most important labor laws and set enforcement priorities.  To read an AFL-CIO blog on this development, please click here