Saturday, October 30, 2010


CSEA and the labor community is out in force this weekend, knocking on doors and talking to neighbors about getting out the vote on November 2.
(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Get Out and Vote on Election Day

On Tuesday November 2, please get out and vote for the candidates who will fight for us. Vote for Tom DiNapoli for New York State Comptroller. Tom will fight to protect your pension that you have earned.  CSEA is also enthusiastically supporting Harry Bronson for New York State Assembly in the 131st District.

It is imperative that we have people in elected offices that understand our value to New York State. As we face these tough times we must continue to stay active. Together…and only together, can we make our voices heard!

If you would like to volunteer for phone banks or canvass your neighborhood, it's still not too late!  Call Ove at 585.754.8933 for details.

Paterson Announces 898 will be Laid Off

On Thursday, Governor David Paterson announced that 898 state employees will be laid off this calendar year. Paterson said that the state workforce needed to be reduced to fulfill the $250 million in workforce savings that he proposed in this year’s budget.

CSEA pointed out that state operations have been so decimated that there is no way that further cuts wouldn’t harm the public. In fact, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alexander “Pete” Grannis was recently fired after exposing the impact that layoffs would have on his department. CSEA will fight any layoffs and has reiterated that the no-layoff pledge that Governor Paterson agreed to last year was a binding agreement.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli Calls out Harry Wilson

Harry Wilson stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if Delphi, a company that Wilson himself worked on as part of the Auto-Bailout Task Force, becomes a publicly-held company.

This is another example of another greedy Wall Street banker acting in his own best interests instead of looking out for taxpayers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Both these guys are attacking the working class way of life.  New York State public employee unions are bracing for the fight of a lifetime. (photos provided)

Rochester, N.Y.--  As our economic woes continue, the New York Democratic and Republican candidates for governor have both pledged to carry out draconian cuts on the state’s services and workforce. The election is being used by both Albany stalwarts and big business parties to shift the politics further to the right and inflict even deeper cuts on the social conditions of the working class.

Most media attention on the gubernatorial contest has focused on the contrast between Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, the Buffalo businessman and Tea Party-backed demagogue Carl Paladino. In fact, there is little difference between the policies of the candidates, both of whom speak for Wall Street and not Main Street.

Expect longer lines at your local DMV offices
under a Cuomo or Paladino administration.
Major investment and banking firms have seen their profits rebound and have resumed the distribution of massive bonuses to top executives. The real economy of the state, however, has seen little improvement, and conditions for the majority of the working class has continued to deteriorate.  According to the Department of Labor, New York State has lost more than 350,000 jobs since April 2008. During 2009, personal incomes fell for the first time in 70 years.

Both parties have categorically ruled out any increase in taxes on the wealthy and have promised instead even deeper cuts in state services and the public workforce. Cuomo and Paladino have both stated that they would reduce the state budget by 20 percent. Specifics on cuts are no where in sight. At the same time, both candidates seek to confuse and mislead working class voters with vague generalities. The labor community is deeply divided over Cuomo's candidacy and really don't know which end is up.

Among the proposed attacks on state workers are layoffs and reductions in pension and health care benefits. As part of the measures implemented in the attempt to close the current year’s budget gap, we (CSEA) and the Public Employees Federation (PEF) agreed not to oppose the creation of a new, fifth tier in the state retirement system for newly hired employees, with significantly reduced benefits from the existing four tiers. In return, the governor, David Paterson, agreed not to undertake any layoffs during the remainder of his term.

Both major party gubernatorial candidates have expressed support for Paterson’s plan. In addition, they have called for reduction in the size and number of state agencies, by consolidation (Cuomo) or outright elimination (Paladino), inevitably leading to more job losses.  Cuomo told the New York Times that he thinks Paterson has the legal footing to still layoff workers before he leaves office at the end of the year.  Click here to read Danny Donohue's repsonse to Cuomo's revelation.

Far from the caricature of a bloated workforce repeatedly trotted out by politicians and right-wing pundits, the New York Times has reported that the number of state employees has actually decreased by about 25 percent over the last two decades.

The fact that both Cuomo and Paladino support the layoffs means that even if they are delayed until the end of Paterson’s term, many more state workers are likely to lose their jobs regardless of the outcome of the election. Given the projected continuation of huge budget deficits for years into the future, further layoffs are certain to be proposed. In this light, the endorsement of Cuomo by PEF and the New York State AFL-CIO only exposes more clearly the complete partnership of some of the union bureaucrats with the Democratic Party in its assault on NYS public employees.  A "no endorsement" would of been more appropriate.

Public employee pensions
are under attack.

And, both the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates have promised further attacks on state worker pensions and a reduction in health care coverage. Paladino has proposed to eliminate the defined benefit pension system for state workers and raise the retirement age.

Paladino has said that he wants to cut Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor, by $20 billion. This would be accomplished by eliminating what he calls, “waste, fraud, and abuse.”    He also wants to get rid of many other jobs as well-- along with a reduction in “optional” services such as dental and eye care services for senior citizens and the poor.

The news media, in particluar the Gannett News conglomeration that publishes the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, is actively taken up the narrative to vilify and scapegoat government workers and prepare public opinion for increasingly savage attacks. There is an overt attempt to conquer and divide public workers from private sector workers by highlighting the fact that benefits won by the former during years of struggle are not enjoyed by many who now work for private employers.  It's the oldest trick in the book and everyone, including most labor folk, are buying it hook, line and sinker.

UPDATE 10-28-10 5:00 pm: CSEA: Gov. David Paterson layoff statement irresponsible:

"Governor David Paterson's announcement of plans for 898 state employee layoffs to begin before the end of his term on Dec. 31, 2010 is simply an irresponsible statement by the governor that is not supported by the facts and reality of the situation," said CSEA President Danny Donohue this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Remind all of your colleagues and fellow union members to VOTE for candidates who support working families!

Call 716.691.6555 or email Courtney Brunelle for flyers and to coordinate your workplace participation!

Canvassing for Labor Candidates:

Rochester: NYS Assembly Candidate Harry Bronson, 131st District / NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli / NYS Attorney General Candidate Eric Schneiderman / Congressional Candidate Matt Zeller, 29th District

Saturday, October 30, 9:45 am
IBEW Local 86, 2300 East River Road, Rochester, NY
Please RSVP to Aron Reina (585) 263-2650

Meet & Greet with Matt Zeller:
1:30pm - 3:30 pm
IBEW Local 86, 2300 East River Road, Rochester, NY
Please RSVP to Tamie Goodale (585) 235-1510 x1 by Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Literature Drops for AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates: Monroe County - UAW Local 1097, 221 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, N.Y.

Phone Banks: Monday, Nov. 1st and Tuesday, Nov. 2nd at 10 am - 8 pm
 CSEA office, 3495 Winton Place Bldg E, Rochester, N.Y.

Again, please call or email CSEA Region 6 Political Action Coordinator Courtney Brunelle to sign up right away.  Every call and every vote counts!


Rochester, N.Y.--  No doubt about it, public employees have targets on their backs.

However, one can make the powerful argument that the problems facing state governments are because of the failure of Wall Street and a horrible economy-- not retirement funds for public employees. Published research a few weeks ago by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and recent reports from several reputable news agencies also support this notion.

Many politicians and anti-labor forces like Carl Paladino focus on the myth that retirement security for public service employees is one of the causes of overburdened state budgets. This is false. This is just campaign rhetoric and has been disproven by the facts.

Noted Washington Post contributor Ezra Klein recently reported that pension obligations currently account for only 3.8 percent of the average state’s spending. This is not where the current crisis is coming from-- so why are some candidates blaming public sector pensions for our fiscal woes?

It is reported that AFSCME retirees receive an average of $18,000 per year after retirement and most of the rank and file contribute toward their pensions throughout their working careers. According to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, state and local public employees’ total compensation, including salaries and benefits, is approximately 7 percent less than that of private sector workers.

In the months before the financial crisis, states had built up record rainy-day funds and were starting infrastructure projects. Then Wall Street collapsed, and so too did the revenue states got from taxing property, incomes and sales. At the same time, the demand for social services went through the roof. The result produced a terrible strain on state budgets.

If we want to solve the revenue versus spending dilemma, let's take a long hard look at what got us here in the first place-- deregulation, unscrupulous bankers and a bursting housing bubble.

As a result, we should not be blaming public employee retirement funds for the budget crisis we are now experiencing. Granted, down the road state and local governments and the unions who represent those workers will have to work together to solve our future budget deficits. Let's not forget, back in 2009 it was the unions groundbreaking health care proposal and agreement with the City of Rochester that could result in $30 million in savings over a three year period.

(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Monday, October 25, 2010


(click on table for a larger view)

Washington, D.C.--  There seems to be a lot of jealousy toward public employees out there, most of it powered by an impression that public employees get more money for less work.   But via Kevin Drum comes this table (see above table) from the Economic Policy Institute, which suggests that this just isn't true. 

On October 15th, Ezra Klein had an excellent piece on the Washington Post’s website that gets to the truth behind public employees benefits.  He demolishes the myths that too many right wing politicians and propagandists like Carl Paladino cling to, demonstrating for example, how retirement security for public service employees is not overburdening state budgets. Klein says, “Pension obligations currently account for 3.8 percent of the average state’s spending. That’s not where the current crisis is coming from.” AFSCME retirees receive an average of $19,000 per year after retirement and contribute toward their pensions throughout their working careers.

Klein makes a powerful argument that the problems facing state governments are all because of the failure of Wall Street and the horrible economy.

“In the months before the financial crisis, in fact, states had built up record rainy-day funds and were starting infrastructure projects. Then Wall Street collapsed, and so too did the revenue states got from taxing property, incomes and sales. At the same time, the need to spend on social services went up rather than down. The result? A terrible strain on state budgets. But not one you can blame public employees for.”

The facts are clear: state and local public employees make 11 to 12 percent less in salary than those in the private sector, when education and experience are considered, as demonstrated by recent research by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. And state and local public employees’ total compensation (including salaries and benefits) is approximately 7 percent less than that of private sector workers.


NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli
addresses CSEA delegates at the
100th Annual Delegates Meeting
in Albany, N.Y. on Oct. 20.
photo by Ove Overmyer

Rochester, N.Y.-- 
Below you will find a newspaper article that spells out why it is so important for working class families to keep Tom DiNapoli as NYS Comptroller.

Note: At the CSEA Annual Delegates Meeting last week, DiNapoli said, in no uncertain terms, "I support a defined benefit pension plan. A defined benefit pension is still the most efficient way to protect our pensions."

Here is the article that appeared today via Gannett News Services:

Posted: Oct 25th, 2010
Brian Sharp • Staff writer for Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle

GATES, N.Y. — Calling the state pension system "a horror show," Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino on Sunday said he supports a constitutional convention to seek reforms, including a move toward a 401(k)-type plan.

The poor performance of Wall Street is placing an increasing burden on taxpayers to support the state's $134 billion retirement system. Pension contributions are among the most daunting fiscal challenges facing local governments, along with Medicaid and health care costs, officials say.

In Gates, for example, the town's pension contribution is projected to exceed 10 percent of the $9 million tax levy by 2012.

Rochester saw its contribution increase $8.5 million this year, to just more than $28 million, and estimates the bill could top $80 million by 2014-15.

Paladino — speaking to more than 60 supporters at the Italian American Sports Club — said he would demand concessions from state union employees and, for non-union or "exempt" state workers: "Immediately their (pension) plans can be shifted from defined benefit to defined contribution, 401k, and that's what we're going to do."

His comments came in response to Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini, who noted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo does not have a position on any specific option for reform. A Cuomo spokesman said everything is on the table.

Cuomo has advocated for a host of regulatory reforms and said he supports adding a pension tier for new employees with different terms to reduce costs. He also has gone after pension padding. Paladino also supports a new tier.

However, Assini said changes that address only new employees — Gov. Paterson added a new tier during his administration — is a long-term solution that will not show benefits for 15 years.

"We don't have that kind of time," Assini said.

The debate is sure to stir the ire of unions.

Most state employees either pay nothing into their pension, or pay for the first 10 years of employment. That is a negotiated benefit, agreed to by the Legislature in 2000.

Any discussion of the state retirement system, however, deserves a long-term look, said Ove Overmyer, a Rochester labor leader who sits on the Civil Service Employees Association's political action committee for western New York. He noted that local governments (and, therefore, taxpayers) were paying little or nothing to support the system when Wall Street was humming in the 1990s.

The average pension for a rank-and-file state worker is $16,000 to $18,000, he said. While unions will have to make concessions, he said, it is "inconceivable to think that chipping away at the working poor is going to balance some budget."

"These are just Republican talking points," he said. "They don't make any sense."

Paladino spoke for about 10 minutes Sunday, then took audience questions for a half hour. Jennie Gugino of Irondequoit asked about term limits, but also hit on pensions, saying longtime politicians in Albany "are going to retire with a pension far greater than any of us ever dreamed of. ... They're not working for us. They are working for the system."

The Buffalo businessman advocated for 8-year term limits for state elected officials and vowed to serve only one term, if elected on Nov. 2.

He also rapped Cuomo as an insider whose "selective prosecution" as attorney general has served to protect his party's elite. Cuomo, in television ads that began airing Sunday, highlighted legal issues facing top aides in the Paladino campaign, concluding, "You can't clean up Albany with dirty hands."

Paladino dismissed polls showing him far behind. Asked about his plans for these final days, Paladino said: "We're going to be everywhere."

"Eight days," Paladino said, "until a day that we'll remember for the rest of our lives; a day when the people took back their government."

While it would be next to impossible to deal with a Republican governor or Republican comptroller, CSEA members need to understand that Andrew Cuomo and Tom DiNapoli will be elected officials we can negotitate and work with to find common sense solutions.  CSEA has not officially embraced the Cuomo campaign, but he has been endorsed by the NYS AFL-CIO and the Working Families Party. 

CSEA has been around for over 100 years and we are nearly 300,000 members strong-- we will always be part of the legislative process, have a place at the negotiating table and be a voice for our working class families all across New York State.  Make no mistake, protecting our pensions will always be a number one priority regardless of who gets elected on November 2.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Over a thousand CSEA delegates from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point gathered at the state capital's Empire State Plaza Convention Center where it all began nearly 100 years ago.  Photo by Ove Overmyer

Albany, N.Y.-- CSEA held its Annual Delegates Meeting in Albany this week. Over a thousand delegates were in attendance as the union celebrated its 100th anniversary. If there was an overarching theme for this year's convention, it would be that members need to understand our history in order to become effective agents of change for their own respective local communities.  Delegates must take what they have learned and share this information with their workplace to pave the way to local empowerment.  Click here for a photo gallery of the six day event.

Opening ceremonies include a "Parade of Counties"

The opening ceremonies included a "Parade of Counties" presentation by CSEA staff, several multimedia presentations and a theatrical presentation of CSEA leaders and members through history. Singing the national anthem was Kelsey Hidde, 14-year-old daughter of Montgomery County Local activist Fred Hidde.

left to right:  Gerald Jennings, Flo Tripi, Danny Donohue
and Sheldon Silver.  Photo by Ove Overmyer

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver presented CSEA President Danny Donohue with a legislative proclamation honoring the union's 100 years. "One hundred years of leadership; a century of standing up for working men and women and ensuring them prosperity," Silver said. "That's a record to be proud of and it deserves respect."

Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings welcomed delegates to the area and gave CSEA President Danny Donohue a key to the city. U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko urged members to stand up for candidates who support working families, including State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

DiNapoli vowed his continued support for working men and women and pledged to protect the state pension system.  He added, "I support a defined benefit pension plan.  A defined benefit pension is still the most efficient way to protect our pensions." Go here to visit Tom DiNapoli's campaign website.

Another highlight of the week was a Monday lecture by well-known labor author and educator Bill Fletcher, Jr..  Fletcher serves as director of the American Federation of Government Employees' Field Services and Education Department.  He urged CSEA delegates to take the lead in fighting back against anti-worker interests in a plenary session titled, "You Make Labor History Everyday."

"We are in a fight - the fight of our lives," Fletcher said. "We must be prepared to fight back. We need positive action and we need it now."

Several CSEA awards were also presented at Thursday's session; Local 828 member wins first annual Excelsior Award

Local 828 member Judy Young
 accepts the Excelsior Award. 
Photo by Ove Overmyer
CSEA and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association presented the first annual Excelsior Award to Local 828 member Judy Young, a bus driver at the East Rochester School District.

"I'm really overwhelmed and humbled by this award," Young said. "We must support our students and athletes - it's so important."

The award recognizes a CSEA member who has helped promote and foster athletic spirit in their local school district and show extraordinary dedication and support of high school athletics.

Several PEOPLE awards were also presented on Thursday. The PEOPLE Recruiter of the Year is Mary Jo Tubbs, who is employed at the Livingston County Department of Social Services in the Western Region. She recruited 113 new PEOPLE members at the MVP level. The PEOPLE Retiree Recruiter of the Year is Michael Flaherty of the Rochester Retirees Local in the Western Region. He recruited 89 new PEOPLE members.

The Nadra Floyd Award, which honors members who have made an extraordinary contribution to the growth of CSEA's membership, was presented to Joe Kelly, president of the SUNY Canton Local, and to the Metropolitan Region Member Organizing Committee for their respective efforts to help workers form a union with CSEA.

At the closing session, delegates viewed a video address by former President Bill Clinton. Clinton stated, “That through these times we need to stay together and remain active. He urged all attendees to get out and vote.”
Delegates celebrate on the convention floor.
Photo by Ove Overmyer

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Albany, N.Y.--  Your Monroe County Local 828 executive board has been in plenary and workshop events since last Sunday.  You can expect the next post at the Voice Reporter sometime in the next few days. 

At the Annual Delegates Meeting where our union began some 100 years ago, your fellow union members have been working hard to educate ourselves and acquire relevant information to bring back to our workplaces.  Again, you will be hearing from us in a couple of days.

Here is a quick rundown on what's been happening:

On Monday, Oct. 18, the union hosted a health fair in the Empire State Plaza concourse. More than 40 organizations and health care providers provided information tables in the concourse, which was open to the general public.

Later that same day, delegates participated in a program focused on the future of the labor movement by well-known labor and social justice activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. in the Hart Theatre of The Egg, at 2 p.m. Fletcher is currently the director of Field Services and Education for the American Federation of Government Employees.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, delegates volunteered in a number of community service projects, including an Empire Stroll to raise funds for the CSEA Disaster Relief Fund; hands-on projects at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Hudson and Mohawk River Humane Society and the Louise Corning Senior Services Center, in addition to participating in a disaster preparedness program by the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York and a presentation by Special Olympics of New York State.

Today, Wednesday, Oct. 20 will mark a very special program commemorating the CSEA Centennial beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The program will include an array of multimedia presentations and recognition from a number of elected officials and others. The program will be followed around 3 p.m. by the serving of a commemorative centennial cake baked by Villa Italia Bakery in Schenectady. The cake, which will recognize CSEA's presence across New York, will be on display in the lobby area outside the convention center throughout the day.

Following a business session on Thursday, Oct. 21, the delegates' meeting will conclude with a special program on Friday morning, Oct. 22.

Yours truly,

Bess Watts
Cris Zaffuto
Ove Overmyer
T. Judith Johnson
Sue Newman
Sue Trottier
Joe Tichacek
Caril Powell-Price

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Western New York area CSEA members meet with NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli at the Monroe County Democratic Headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. (photo by Courtney Brunelle)

Rochester, N.Y.--  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli stopped in Rochester on Saturday morning, speaking to supporters at Monroe County’s Democratic headquarters.

DiNapoli, running for re-election against Republican Wall-Streeter Harry Wilson, spent a good portion of his speech discussing the state employee pension program, which has been given one of the highest ratings in the nation under his watch.

“The abuses that happened in the past, we have put a stop to that,” he said. “We have changed policies and procedures and personnel to make sure that what happened before will not happen again,” he said.

DiNapoli also noted that the average state employee pension is around $18,000 a year. “When you read a story of someone getting a much larger pension, that’s not the norm by any stretch,” he said.

Bess Watts, Monroe County Local President says our comptroller is doing a great job.  She added, "Tom will protect our pensions-- I can't say the same thing about his opponent."

From Rochester, DiNapoli headed to Syracuse for another campaign stop later this afternoon.


Nearly 1,500 participants will mark the union's Century of Service

Albany, N.Y.--  CSEA - New York's leading union - will mark a century of service to New Yorkers at its 100th Annual Delegates Meeting in Albany Oct. 18-22. Nearly 1,500 delegates, staff and guests will participate in the event which the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates will have a $1.2 million economic impact on the local area.  Local 828 will have nine members attending this year's conference.

CSEA was founded on Oct. 24, 1910 in the state Capital when a small group of state employees came together to stand up against political patronage and promote merit and fitness in state employment. It was the first formal organization of state employees. Today CSEA represents nearly 300,000 members in every part of New York in the public and private sector. Earlier this year, CSEA issued a book about the union's history titled "A Century of Service: The Story of CSEA's First 100 Years."

"There is no better place for CSEA to mark our Centennial Anniversary than Albany - the place where our union began in 1910," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "CSEA is a unique organization because we literally have members who live in every community in New York. CSEA's history over the past 100 years is closely linked with Albany as the site of the state Capitol and so many benchmark events. This is a very special place and our delegates will recognize it as we hold this historic meeting."

Photo by Ove Overmyer
 On Monday, Oct. 18, the union will open the week's activities with a health fair in the Empire State Plaza concourse. More than 40 organizations and health care providers will host information tables in the concourse, which will be open to the general public.

Later that same day, delegates will participate in a program focused on the future of the labor movement by well-known labor and social justice activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. in the Hart Theatre of The Egg, at 2 p.m. Fletcher is currently the director of Field Services and Education for the American Federation of Government Employees.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, delegates will participate in a number of community service projects, including an Empire Stroll to raise funds for the CSEA Disaster Relief Fund; hands-on projects at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Hudson and Mohawk River Humane Society and the Louise Corning Senior Services Center, in addition to participating in a disaster preparedness program by the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York and a presentation by Special Olympics of New York State.

Wednesday, Oct. 20 will mark a very special program commemorating the CSEA Centennial beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The program will include an array of multimedia presentations and recognition from a number of elected officials and others. The program will be followed around 3 p.m. by the serving of a commemorative centennial cake baked by Villa Italia Bakery in Schenectady. The cake, which will recognize CSEA's presence across New York, will be on display in the lobby area outside the convention center throughout the day.

Following a business session on Thursday, Oct. 21, the delegates' meeting will conclude with a special program on Friday morning, Oct. 22.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Week Ending October 15, 2010

2010 Annual Delegates Meeting

CSEA will hold its Annual Delegates Meeting in Albany next week. CSEA welcomes over a thousand delegates to our centennial anniversary. Assembly Speaker Silver and Congressman Paul Tonko will present resolutions from Congress and the State Assembly honoring our historic milestone.

Comptroller DiNapoli will also address the delegates. As the sole trustee of the state pension system, the state comptroller's judgment and decisions have enormous implications over the retirement security of more than 300,000 retired and active CSEA members. Delegates will be taking home door hangers to remind people to vote for Tom DiNapoli on November 2nd.

Remember, the State Comptroller’s race is about protecting our guaranteed pensions. This affects all of us, state or local. Contact your CSEA regional coordinator to request door hangers and volunteer for Tom DiNapoli:

Region 1 Gretchen Penn - (631) 462-0030

Region 2 Matt D'Amico - (212) 406-2156

Region 3 Chris Ludlow - (845) 831-1000

Region 4 Bryan Miller - (518) 785-4400

Region 5 Rick Noreault - (315) 433-0050

Region 6 Courtney Brunelle - (716) 691-6555

CSEA Endorses Schneiderman for Attorney General

CSEA endorsed Eric Schneiderman for the New York State Attorney General’s race. Eric Schneiderman has a proven track record of fighting for public employees.

No Social Security COLA Next Year

The Social Security Administration announced that more than 58 million retirees and other Social Security beneficiaries will not get any cost-of-living increase in 2011, the second year in a row without a raise.

The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are automatically set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in the 1970s. Inflation has been low in the past two years because of the recession.

To offset the COLA freeze, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in November the House will vote on a bill that will provide $250 checks to Social Security recipients. We will you keep you posted as we get updates.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Join us this Saturday, October 16th to welcome NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to Rochester!

What: A rally and press conference with Tom DiNapoli!  Come for the comptroller, stay for the coffee and donuts.

When: 9:45 a.m.

Where: Monroe County Democratic HQ

1150 University Ave, Bldg 5 (in rear near RR tracks)

Rochester, NY 14607

Why does Tom's race for re-election matter? He's the one keeping our pensions safe!

Why Vote Tom DiNapoli for Comptroller?

· Tom DiNapoli has always stood up for middle class values. He believes that a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work is the foundation of New York State’s economy.

· Tom DiNapoli has reformed the Comptroller’s Office by imposing tough new rules to end corruption in the management of New York’s pension fund, protecting our investments and safeguarding retiree pensions.

· Comptroller DiNapoli uncovered more than $2.9 billion in wasteful spending and fraud through his audits of state and local governments. He has held Wall Street accountable for putting New York’s retirees’ pensions at risk.

· Tom DiNapoli shares our values --he grew up in a CSEA household and has a proven track record of fighting for the issues that matter to the working men and women of New York State.

· Tom is using his years of experience in dealing with the issues important to retirees, working families and all New Yorkers.

· Tom has restored honesty, integrity and transparency to the management of the pension system.

· As Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli is protecting our money and making sure every dollar is counted.

· Comptroller Tom DiNapoli believes that public employee pensions should continue to be guaranteed and will keep our pension system safe.

· Under Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the New York State Common Retirement Fund is the country’s best funded plan. In fact, Governing magazine called New York, “...the national pension leader.”

(Photo provided)


One Nation Working Together rally participants vent on the National Mall in D.C. on October 2.  (Photos by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.-- The tea party movement was supposedly born in anger over the recession and the Obama White House bailouts (which were actually caused by the Bush administration) and built largely on a platform of lower taxes and smaller government.

If you haven't already noticed, this is also an anti-middle class and anti-labor movement initiative. And, some of its candidates are getting tripped up on social issues of late-- the true nature of their divisiveness, classism, racism and homophobia are now in plain sight for everyone to see.

The tea partiers have also created a coloring book for it's next generation of right-wingers. Unfortunately, the only crayon in the box is white.

In New York, Carl Paladino, the tea party-backed Republican candidate for governor, caused a furor among Democrats when he said children shouldn't be "brainwashed" into thinking being gay is acceptable.

In Colorado, GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck has tried to deflect questions about his stance against abortion rights. In Delaware, Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell has come under fire over the conservative religious views she espoused as a TV commentator, including preaching against the evils of masturbation.

And in Nevada, Senate candidate Sharron Angle, a Southern Baptist, has called herself a faith-based politician. She opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest, and doesn't believe the Constitution requires the separation of church and state. Her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, seeks to portray her as outside mainstream America. Well, duh.

One by one, tea party challengers have veered away from the issues of taxes and spending — or in some cases were pushed off message either by the media or by the Democrats who have portrayed the insurgents not as populist alternatives to the mainstream GOP but as the Republican standard-bearers of the right.  The sad part here is that the tea party folk, the ones who truly believe in their ideals, are going to turn around and vote for Republicans-- the same party that got us into this mess in the first place.

Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said his research shows tea party activists are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans. What a surprise.  He added, rather than an outside alternative to the GOP, the tea party is a movement from within the Republican Party's most active members.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that social issues were always an important component of the tea party movement all along. It has only been common knowledge of late because these nutjobs now have to answer to a bigger audience rather than to their dedicated narrow base.

Candidates are now being questioned on their social views by reporters much more often-- and really have no where to hide. Some tea party candidates are trying to moderate their social views or deflect attention from them back to the economy but I think the cat is already out of the bag.  They are being exposed for their truly extreme radical views.

Plus, more independent and blank registered voters are starting to pay more attention to their local races too.  This is when and where the labor community must intervene – in the media and at thousands of front doors-- explaining extreme candidates' fringe positions and radical beliefs.

In Kentucky, tea party Republican Rand Paul, a candidate for Senate, opposes abortion, same-sex marriage and a proposed mosque near ground zero in New York City. But he doesn't talk about it much because he knows he can't win on those issues.

Last May, just hours after the political novice won a landslide primary victory, Paul took heat for a rambling interview in which he expressed misgivings about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and appeared to suggest that businesses be allowed to deny service to blacks without fear of federal interference.

In Alaska, tea party candidate Joe Miller says he is "unequivocally pro-life," and also opposes hate crime laws as violations of free-speech and equal protection under the Constitution.

New York's Crazy Carl Paladino

The Columbus Day Parade is a staple for Italian-American politicians seeking votes in New York City. Tea party candidate Carl Paladino spent most of the day trying to fend off a stream of criticism from Democrats for his pandering to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders about gay people. When he was advised to deliver an apology to the LGBT community for his outrageous remarks, the Orthodox Jewish leaders sideswiped him and pulled their support for him. Poor crazy Carl doesn't know which way is up right now.

Paladino's Democratic opponent for governor, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, called Paladino's comments "reckless and divisive ... (the) worst cynical politics," especially since they come as New York City police investigate reports that three men were tortured in a night of anti-gay bias in the Bronx.

"It is repugnant to the concept of what New York is," Cuomo said at the parade. "We celebrate our diversity."  State Sen. Thomas Duane, an openly gay Democrat, said he was "enraged" by Paladino's "despicable rhetoric, which does cause people to hate themselves and commit suicide."

Paladino, who trails Cuomo by double digits in the polls, insisted his opposition to gay marriage and "brainwashing" in schools about gay life is a view held by millions of New Yorkers. How can someone who represents a major political party be so out of touch with everyday New Yorkers?

19 days to go

Talking heads in the media have already written the narrative for next month's election. They say that Democrats are doomed, that Republicans will take back the House of Representatives and that corporate sellout John Boehner will be the next Speaker of the House. John Boehner and the Republicans want to destroy the American middle class. This week, Boehner professed his desire to eliminate the minimum wage and unemployment and to privatize Social Security. We can't let that happen.  This is not the America I have grown to know and love.

Progressives from California to Florida to New Hampshire and everywhere in between are running people-powered campaigns. People power, defenders of the middle class and the labor community are a force that has beaten big corporate money before -- it's the only force that ever will.

Don't get me wrong. Some Democrats will lose in November -- the corporate Democrats that worked against us on healthcare, on climate change and on Wall Street reform -- Democrats who sided with Republicans over the American people. It's vitally important that our pro-labor progressive leaders win on November 2.  Get out and vote.

Photos and article by Ove Overmyer.  (Click on images for a larger view.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Photo:  CSEA Local VP Ove Overmyer with Lt. Dan Choi 
(right) at the One Nation rally in D.C. on Oct. 2. Choi is a former 
American infantry officer in the United States Army who served in 
combat in the Iraq war during 2006-2007.  
Riverside, CA.--  Today a California federal judge issued an injunction stopping the military from enforcing its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in their workplace.

In a full-page ad in the February 5, 2010 edition of Politico, AFSCME called for an end to the destructive “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the United States military.  To read the story in the AFSCME blog Greenline, you can go here.  For several years, labor unions from both the public and private sectors have been lobbying lawmakers to appeal this policy that was first instituted back in 1993.

 U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the policy "infringes the fundamental rights" of military service members and prospective service members and violates their rights to due process and freedom of speech.

Judge Virginia A. Phillips
The ruling bars the Pentagon from enforcing or applying the policy and orders the military to immediately suspend and discontinue any investigations, discharges or other proceedings related to potential violations of the law.

To overturn the injunction, government lawyers would have to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and ask that the current policy be allowed to continue while the appellate judges consider the case.

The Pentagon plans to review the case and consult with the Justice Department, according to senior military officials. The Justice Department had no immediate comment.

The Human Rights Campaign said it would be a mistake for the Justice Department to appeal Phillips's decision.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which represents troops affected by the policy, said gays and lesbians serving in uniform "must proceed safely and should not come out at this time" since Tuesday's injunction could be reversed by the 9th Circuit. The group plans to closely monitor the status of several cases involving clients under investigation or facing discharges, it said.

The ruling comes as Congressional efforts to repeal the ban remain in doubt. A Senate test vote on a bill repealing the policy failed last month. It remains unclear whether Democrats will include the ban as part of an omnibus annual defense policy measure set for consideration during a lame-duck session after the midterm elections. But if it fails during the lame-duck, repeal could be difficult if Democrats lose control of the Senate to Republicans.

The injunction should not affect the Defense Department's ongoing study of how the military would repeal the ban, senior military officials said.

If the Justice Department declines to appeal the ruling, the Defense Department would be required to issue instructions to military leaders on how to stop enforcing the policy, a senior military official said.

Saturday, October 9, 2010



Any way you slice it, the labor community has a fight on its hands. We must rise again to confront the forces who plundered and pillaged our economy and to convince everyday Americans that we will not be scapegoats for a troubled economy. (Photo above:  A feisty patriotic cheerleader pulls no punches for the Democrats at the One Nation rally in D.C. on Oct. 2.  Photo by Ove Overmyer.)

Rochester, N.Y. -- One week after the One Nation Working Together rally in D.C., I'm convinced now more than ever that the labor community has been taken for granted and marginalized, pouring tons of money into the Democrats' campaign coffers with practically nothing to show for it. Not that I am not grateful for president Obama's leadership-- I am. Considering the cards he has been dealt, things could be drastically worse.

My issue is with 59 U.S. Democratic Senators, who seem unable to get the job done. The House has passed nearly 400 bills only to see them die an ugly death in the other chamber. On top of this and even closer to home in New York State, these midterm elections are looming large for us labor folks. And in today's terrible economy, with a bipartisan push for austerity, many leading Democrats aren't even bothering to hide their anti-labor agenda even as the unions push for support for them.

Take Democrat Andrew Cuomo for example, the likely winner in the governor's race. His attacks on teachers' unions and other public-sector employees could come from any Republican. He talks of a tier 6 for new public employees. He wants public-sector unions to take a one-year wage freeze and basically roll over to help bail out New York's budget mess. His model: the 1970s fiscal crisis, when public-sector union leaders agreed to accept thousands of layoffs. Count on him to appoint Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, his choice for Lt. Governor to "tangle" with the unions when they get into office.

Cuomo's public-sector union bashing is so ugly that the New York State United Teachers and we, the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) have--so far, at least--have withheld our endorsements. But the state AFL-CIO and WFP backed him anyway, thanks to the support of private-sector unions. This illustrates the labor communities' ongoing internal dilemma-- this is one more example of how the public and private sectors are each other's evil twin and are not even on the same page when it comes to looking at the bigger picture.

The problem for the State of New York this time around is that we would have catastrophic results with a Republican governor-- when Paladino gave his acceptance speech on Primary Election eve he said he would cut Medicaid by 20 percent. He also said he could care less about a reduction in vital services and would incarcerate and assist unemployed people with their hygiene skills. The height of hypocrisy comes when he announced yesterday that he wants to "tighten ethics laws." We don't need smaller government, we need smarter government and he's not it. And, most fair-minded voters know that Carl Paladino is just an irrational human being. Anger is not a governing strategy.  And one more thing-- if you don't consider yourself a wealthy person, you have nothing to gain by voting for a Republican.  Period.

Eugene V. Debs giving a speech.
photo provided by Getty Images.
 At a time when both parties are united in making working people bear the brunt of the economic crisis for the failure of others, union members would do well to recall the famous quote of the Socialist Party's Eugene V. Debs, who battled the U.S. political duopoly in presidential campaigns a century ago: "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don't want and get it."

Well, what I want is a legislature and governor who knows that for us to prosper as a nation, working families must be a priority. No matter who gets elected on November 2, labor has a defined role to play in deciding the future of our state and in our local communities. Wouldn't it be better to have a seat at the table when it comes time for decision-making rather than be shut out of the process altogether? One would think so. Would it be better to use diplomacy, come to some sort of compromise and negotiate how things will get better? One would think so. We have to be pragmatic and remove idealism from the picture. Despite the campaign rhetoric, working families have a fight on our hands either way.

With CSEA's 100th Annual Delegates Meeting about to convene in Albany next week, I am reminded of how important my union has been to improving the lives of so many New Yorkers for so many years. We should use our CSEA union history as a guiding light to direct us to our promised future-- our American dream if you will. We need to continue to speak truth to power. Despite our challenges, there is comfort in knowing we have made so many positive significant contributions to the New York State way of life for over a century. With each passing day, our struggle continues but with a greater sense of purpose and urgency. Heaven help us all.

-Commentary by Ove Overmyer

Thursday, October 7, 2010


One Nation Working Together rally draws progressives from all walks of life to our nation's capital on October 2.  (All photos by Ove Overmyer.  Click on images for a larger view.)

Commentary by Ove Overmyer

Washington, D.C.--  On Saturday October 2, tens of thousands of activists from all over the country—perhaps 200,000 people— stretched across the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial in a quilt-like patchwork of colors representing various labor unions, races, ages, causes and organizational affiliations.

Rev. Jesse Jackson at ONWT
 The message of the day was "Jobs, Justice and Education." Having press credentials and back stage access, I had the opportunity to overhear the Reverend Jesse Jackson tell a reporter standing next to me, "In many ways this march reminds me of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." I immediately got a shiver up my spine.  Not so much for what the Rev. Jackson was saying-- but because Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) was blaring over the public address speakers at the same time.

Inevitably, the rally was not without its detractors. I heard some media folk ask organizers exactly how this effort would lead to job creation. One outspoken gentleman blurted out, "The problem is, we are in the wrong place. This protest should have been on the front lawn of a CEO shipping jobs overseas."

For political junkies and liberal advocates like me this rally fell a little short in comparison to the 1963 March on Washington. It lacked the spirit of civil disobedience, that sense of urgency and direct action that marked that event 47 years ago. The March on Washington was successful because it had been preceded with a massive campaign of direct action and civil discord. The showing of 300,000 people was a subtle threat that if action wasn't taken to correct injustice, more civil disobedience was on the way.  Plus, there was this guy named Martin Luther King, Jr. at the podium that day.

Most of the speakers at the ONWT rally urged attendees to get to the ballot box on November 2nd and vote for Democrats. In essence, October 2nd was really all about November 2nd.

A few weeks ago, labor movements across Europe called general strikes to protest job killing austerity measures, while the American labor movement was holding a multimillion-dollar get out the vote rally in support of Democrats who have done little to create jobs. Now, it's true that I'm a registered Democrat, but I'm getting somewhat impatient waiting for the Obama administration and noodle-boned politicians to hand over my inalienable civil rights and start creating a better world for my children.

On the surface, the rally seemed to fly right in the face of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's pledges to build a more independent labor movement and get more aggressive with Democrats. Labor leaders have often expressed disappointment with the Democratic Party for its inaction to improve the conditions of workers to collectively bargain, inaction on additional stimulus spending, apparent willingness to cut Social Security, and more recently its inaction to force a vote to let Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire.

Talk about conundrums. When the dust settled on the ONWT rally, the overall message was cloudier than ever. The only message that was clear to me was to get out and vote for Democrats who have been doing very little for working people of our great nation.  We are asking for bold initiatives.  Considering the alternative, having the Republicans in charge would be catastrophic.

Conversely, I think the larger message of the One Nation Working Together movement is that there is another America out there beyond those who want to conquer and divide us based on race, income, gender, identity and other social issues. That is the America I belong to.  For progressives and especially communities of color that have been heavily under attack by the Tea Party and right wing conservatives since Obama took power, this was a flashing neon sign saying that gays, straights, people of color and whites are more similar than they we are different and we will continue to fight the good fight to the bitter end for our progressive values.

Despite the misgivings of the politics of the rally, it was indeed an impressive feat for the progressive movement to bring tens of thousands of activists into Washington D.C.. One Nation showed that the left still has the energy and strength to organize on a grand level. We should not be underestimated.  Changing the hearts and minds of everyday Americans must take place if we are going to win justice and those jobs we so desperately need.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What every New Yorker should know about NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli:

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli has kept pension costs as low as possible for employers as the pension fund is still recovering from the financial meltdown caused by greedy Wall Street investors.

For years employers paid very little into the pension fund. Now that the economy is in ruins, employers have to contribute to the fund to keep it fully funded.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli supported a plan that allows public employers to build pension contribution reserves to offset future pension costs.

BAD: His opponent opposes this plan and would rather cut pension benefits than allow public employers to better plan future costs.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli opposes raiding or borrowing from the state retirement fund.

BAD: His opponent would allow Wall Street investors to take pension money and place it in risky investments, like sub-prime mortgages.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli supports our pension system - which has a guaranteed monthly payout upon retirement.

BAD: His opponent supports a 401(k) style pension - with no guaranteed monthly payout.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli knows and understands the work we do, at every level, and values our service.

BAD: His opponent is a Wall Streeter who has no idea of what it's like on Main Street and does not know what kind of jobs we do. In fact, before he retired as a millionare at age 37, his hedge fund owned one of the largest sub-prime mortgage companies in the country, which preyed upon millions of middle-income Americans.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli is opposed to a Constitutional Convention because it would put our pension protections in jeopardy.

BAD: His opponent supports a Constitutional Convention so he can get rid of our pension protections.

GOOD: Tom DiNapoli has safeguarded our pension benefits - making our pension fund the nationwide leader as cited by Governing Magazine.

BAD: His opponent is an expert at slashing employee pensions and health benefits to increase profits for Wall Street investors.

This brings us to one conclusion. As Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli is good for working people of New York State and his opponent, who shall remain nameless, is bad for working families of New York State. Vote for Tom DiNapoli on November 2.

Monday, October 4, 2010


On October 2, hundreds of thousands of activists converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to call for an end to the divisiveness and polarization that characterizes politics in America.  (All photos by Ove Overmyer)

Washington, D.C. -- A wide array of progressive groups drew tens of thousands of activists to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, October 2 for a rally aimed at firing up their members and showcasing the diversity of the movement called One Nation Working Together.

More than 400 groups endorsed the rally, which organizers said drew a crowd of 175,000 people - about what was expected. However, there are no official counts of crowds on the Mall, and the National Park Service no longer provides such estimates.

Thousands who support the Democratic Party and progressive issues made an overt bid to rejuvenate the liberal enthusiasm gap of voters and stave off an expected GOP comeback in next month's midterm elections.

It was the left wing's first large gathering designed to counter the conservative tea party phenomenon. Many speakers warned that a Republican-controlled Congress would block or roll back progressive changes. Organizers said they also wanted to show that their supporters represent the majority of the nation.

"This march was inclusive," said NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, one of the lead organizers. Jealous told The Washington Post, "We have seen cabdrivers come down from New York, truck drivers from Oklahoma. This is about moving the country with the spirit of unity and hope, and getting the country beyond the divisiveness."

The leaders of the march openly celebrated its diversity - in terms of race, age, classism, sexual orientation and the motivations of the attendees. It began with an ecumenical faith program, and groups supporting a variety of causes gathered in their own niches before joining together as one. The range of participants - who included a large contingent of labor unions, youth groups to members of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America and the Church of the Evangelical United Church of Christ - showed the tensions in the coalition were basically nonexistent.

Saturday's gathering featured many speakers, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and civil rights legends Julian Bond and Harry Belafonte. Four hours of speeches, poetry and music were sprinkled with testimonials from out-of-work Americans, immigrants, veterans and Native Americans. Speakers focused on jobs, education and human rights issues in particular.

The event occurred about one month after conservatives met on the same spot to unite around television personality Glenn Beck's vision of a nation returned to more traditional and religious values.

Ed Schultz, the host of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," served as one of the show's master of ceremonies and harshly criticized the tea party and conservatives. "They talk about the Constitution, but they don't want to live by it," he said to loud applause. "They talk about the forefathers, but they practice discrimination. They want to change this country."

Blanche Harling, who came from Rochester, N.Y. to D.C. on a bus with social justice advocates and public employees who belong to the Federation of Social Workers IUE-CWA Local 81381, said she was compelled to be there come hell or high water. "I scrambled to find a seat to get here, and I'm glad I came," she said. "This day has been so inspiring-- I am here to advocate for civil rights for all Americans, especially when it comes to marriage equality."

Steve Panton, Daniel Vitulli and Forrest Wright, who are CSEA represented employees of the City of Corning, N.Y., were at the march to show support for their fellow union workers. "I think it's an important day for the labor community. The crowd here is fabulous and everyone is getting along," said Wright.

The crowd Saturday, which stretched down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial then spanned down the sides of the reflecting pool, heard repeatedly that voters must band together to keep the country from going back to conservative policies. Speakers also called for a more robust jobs program funded by the federal government and the passage of big legislative programs, such as overhauling immigration laws and providing more money for education.

"We have to demand that the Congress represents the common man, not just the large multi-national corporations," said Rochester, N.Y. resident Mary Ann Sanford. Sanford is an ordained deacon of the Unity Fellowship Church movement.

It was very common to see people from all walks of life mingling about the mall near the reflecting pool. The socially conservative National Baptist Convention stood beside members of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, an LGBT labor constituency group who had chapter members from Rochester and the District of Columbia. Additionally, members of the mine workers union rallied with environmental activists and peace advocates. The conversation between groups touched upon how a coalition of this size can be relevant, stay together and keep the movement strong.

Bess Watts, President of CSEA Local 828 and the Rochester and Finger Lakes Chapter President of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, says that this is really just the beginning, not a one-day event. "Our challenge now is to keep our Congress intact, and move toward making our country a more just and inclusive nation."  She added, "This march and rally should be seen as a launching pad for real policy change."

To see a slideshow of the One Nation Working Together rally and march, you can go here. Photos and story by Ove Overmyer.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.-- On Saturday, October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate our re-commitment to change.  Folks from our area are leaving town for D.C. as we speak.

The One Nation March will feature human and civil rights leaders, labor leaders, environmental and peace activists, faith leaders, actors, celebrities and sports figures – all marching together to help Put America Back to Work and to Pull America Back Together. We come together to help reorder our national priorities so that investments in people come first.

Local One Nation Working Together march participants
gather at the Liberty Pole on September 17. 
Photo by Ove Overmyer
 CSEA is proud to support the One Nation Working Together March in Washington D.C.. We represent one of the most diverse memberships of any labor union in America. We have members of many different generations. We are conservatives, moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of every faith, members of every ethnic group and national heritage, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical ability. In short, we are a microcosm of the rich diversity of the United States and the U.S. Labor Movement.

There are buses leaving from several locations in western New York this evening.  A press conference is planned for 10:00 pm at Monroe Community College, where the journey to our nation's capital begins for some of our area residents.  Stay tuned to the CSEA Voice Reporter for up to date reports from Washington, D.C. this weekend.