Monday, November 29, 2010


Washington, D.C.-- President Barack Obama announced a two-year pay freeze for federal employees today, and warned the American public that the move is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to reduce the nation's mounting deficits.  It appears that this move is to gain leverage and approval from next year's Republican led Congress and it should not sit well with America's middle class families.

"The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," Obama said.

The freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees, including those working at the Department of Defense, but would not affect military personnel. The freeze is expected to save more than $5 billion in savings over two years, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years, White House officials said.

Congress is not covered by Obama's order, but lawmakers voted last April to freeze their pay, with the House and Senate opting to forgo an automatic $1,600 annual cost-of-living increase. House members and senators now are paid $174,000 a year. Their last pay increase was $4,700 a year at beginning of 2009.

The president's pay of $400,000 a year was fixed by Congress in January 2001. It has not changed since then.

The savings from the pay freeze is a small dent in the nation's $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. But with voters supposedly voicing their anger over Washington's spending during the midterm elections, even a symbolic gesture would show the White House got the message. But once again, it's public employees who are taking it on the chin.

Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders will meet at the White House tomorrow for the first time since Republicans gained control of the House and increased their strength in the Senate during the midterm elections. Obama said he hopes the move to freeze federal pay sets a serious tone for the meetings.

"We're going to have to budge on some deeply held positions, and compromise for the good of the country," Obama said.

The co-chairmen of Obama's bipartisan deficit commission have proposed a three-year freeze in pay for most federal employees as part of its plan to reduce the nation's growing deficit. The commission's proposal also suggested cuts to Social Security benefits and higher taxes for millions of Americans to stem the flood of red ink that they say threatens the nation's very future. The popular child tax credit and mortgage interest deduction also would be eliminated.

The commission's final report is due to be released later this week.  You can be sure that the report will include alarmist rhetoric and hyperbole.  Logically, and in response to the over-the-top recommendations by the commission, you can also expect some fireworks from the working class and advocates of the poor.

Shortly after taking office in January 2009, Obama froze salaries of top White House aides. He proposed extending that freeze to political appointees across the government in last year's budget, and also eliminated bonuses for political appointees.

AFGE union responds

John Gage, president of the 600,000-member American Federation of Government Employees, called the decision "a slap at working people."

"Working people's wages are not the issue with this deficit or what is going on in our country," Gage said. "To symbolically hit at federal employees I think is just wrong."

Gage said the White House was using federal workers as scapegoats for the nation's deficit problems. He said the move would not really save as much as the White House claims because federal employees often get just a fraction of projected raises. Federal workers received a 1.9 percent pay increase this year.

Friday, November 26, 2010


The scene at 9:00 am on October 2 as people assemble at the One Nation Working Together rally on the National Mall in D.C..  The festivities began at noon.  (photos by Ove Overmyer)

Washington, D.C.--  Looking back on the ONE NATION rally in D.C. last October 2, what sticks in our collective memory at the Voice Reporter were the multitude of signs carried by all the participants who gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall on that warm, sunny autumn day. Everyone and anyone had a point of view-- some were funny, some were poignant, and some were down right shocking.

But through it all, it gives us a sobering snapshot of America's consciousness. We are indeed a diverse bunch of Americans, and a smart and clever brood at that. Here is a sample of the placards that day:

*we have nothing to fear but fear itself and spiders

*real americans honor diversity

*good jobs forever

*No! to the party of NO!

*support separation of head from ass

*25 million unemployed because of NAFTA and WTO

*moderation or death

*Earth Day is every day

*respect my president

*silence kills. gay suicide crisis

*this is not a Tea Party

*athiests for masturbation

*jobs not war

*I support illegal gay black muzlim run-aways

*when will the greed stop?

*bring our troops and our war dollars home now!

*gay maylasian muslims for Sarah Palin

*stop legal treason

*jews against invoking Hitler to score political points

*turn Congress back to the Republican's like its 1929

*gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual equality for zombies

*out of many, we are one nation


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Jim Bertolone addresses the media
at a press conference in 2009.
photo by Ove Overmyer

 Rochester, N.Y.-- Rochester labor leaders today added their voice to those opposing a special election to select the city’s next mayor, advocating instead for an appointment allowing voters to head to the polls in the fall.  CSEA represents hundreds of workers who are employed at the Rochester Public Library.

Lt. Gov.-elect Mayor Robert Duffy will leave office at year’s end to join the incoming Cuomo administration in Albany. City Council is charged with deciding how to fill the position and has the choice of a special election in the spring or a one-year appointed mayor with a general election in the fall to decide who completes Duffy’s term.

The Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO executive board approved a resolution this week that “opposes the holding of a special election in the interest of a more open and democratic process,” reads a statement released today by the Rochester Labor Council.

“We are concerned that the citizens of Rochester have an adequate opportunity to examine the qualifications, integrity, and vision of any person who seeks to serve as our next mayor.” said Jim Bertolone, president of the Labor Council.

He added, “It is critically important for City Council to avoid any appearance of ‘back room’ dealing in how our next mayor is chosen.”

CSEA will be heavily invested in who becomes the next mayor of the City of Rochester.  The Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council is a coalition of unions in Monroe County representing more than 55,000 workers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.--CSEA and the Rochester Public Library are once again providing community service to one of it's area partners by answering phones and taking pledges for an upcoming TV Pledge Drive at WXXI Studios at 280 State Street in downtown Rochester, N.Y.  Our members and fellow employees understand that collaborating with community organizations and nonprofits that share our vision of a working world free from the exploitation of labor plays a crucial role in the overall success of our area and builds stronger communities.

If you have never volunteered to answer phones during a pledge drive -- we hope that you will consider sharing a little of your time and talent with WXXI this holiday season. We are looking for volunteers:

Tuesday evening, December 7th from 7:00 - 10:30PM

That evening, WXXI will be showing the documentary film about Rochester's Midtown Plaza, Memories of Midtown and a concert featuring Carole King and James Taylor, Live at the Troubadour. So come on in and volunteer! You'll get the benefit of hanging out with some other CSEA and AFSCME members while at the same time watch the programing up close and personal.  The staff and volunteers of WXXI do a great job of hosting you while visiting the studio.

You can park in the WXXI attached garage for free and follow the signs to Studio A once inside the building.

Ove Overmyer, Local 828 VP and Unit 7420 President for the City of Rochester Library Workers says our members understand how important it is to give back to our community.   He adds, "Our mission at the library and with our union is completely consistent with the objectives of WXXI-- we share the same belief that we should provide programming that stimulates the mind and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues.  That is exactly what we do everyday as library workers and union members."

Members of CSEA Local 828 honor our collaboration with WXXI. In these tough fiscal times, we are delighted to do our part to make our community the best it can be.

To sign up for the pledge drive, simply reply here or call Ove at 585.754.8933.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Governor David Paterson.
photo by Ove Overmyer
 Albany, N.Y.-- A CSEA Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request shows that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added 36 top-level management/confidential positions to the state payroll since July 1, 2010, despite a state-hiring freeze. Eighteen of the 36 positions have a base salary in excess of $100,000 per year.

"At a time when the Paterson administration is seeking to lay off rank and file state employees, there is no way this administration can justify this action," said CSEA President Danny Donohue.

"CSEA believes that necessary work is being undermined in numerous state agencies and it is essential to have qualified employees in place, but in light of the governor's layoff threat it is outrageous that the administration continues to hire top level personnel."

Ex-DEC commissioner Peter Grannis warned in a memo last month that staff reductions were having a major impact on the ability of the agency to do its job and would soon impact local environmental protection efforts. Once the memo was leaked to the media, Grannis was promptly fired.

CSEA has repeatedly pointed out that the Paterson administration's layoff attempt is counterproductive and will cost taxpayers in the long run while making the state's economic situation worse.  The administration fired back and said these hires were promotions left by the early retirement incentive that were offered earlier this year.  If that is the case, aren't these hires counterintuitive to the reason why we instituted the early retirement incentive in the first place? 

The governor argues that he has made cuts to his own staff, and that might be true. But he also has granted substantial raises to some of those who remain at the executive branch and top agency posts. And he has made some highly questionable hires — including that of a former girlfriend to an $88,000 job in the state’s Washington, D.C. office, and the $155,000 patronage appointment of former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll to head the Environmental Facilities Corporation.

"This is the height of hypocrisy," said CSEA spokesman Stephen Madarasz about the top level appointments. "It's just an absolute affront to the people who are being put at risk and to the taxpayer. How can he come to the CSEA in any serious way and say we need to have layoffs when this is going on?"

The governor can't have it both ways and he must show some leadership here— he must do so through his actions as well as his public comments.  His legacy is at stake, and this news doesn't help him one bit.  By filing FOIL requests, CSEA is just trying to shine alittle light on the subject so taxpayers, public employees and the average New Yorker considers all the facts.

CSEA has pending FOIL requests regarding hiring at other state agencies as well.  Stay tuned right here to the Voice Reporter for up to the minute news and information about your working world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


CSEA Labor Education Specialist Patty McArdle (second from left) stands with past and current executive board members from Local 828 Unit 7420, City of Rochester Library Workers.  From left to right are:  Kate Meddaugh, Patty McArdle, Ove Overmyer, Jane McManus and Lorry Wisse.  (photo by Lynn Stafford)

Rochester, N.Y.--  On Saturday, November 20, over 30 CSEA WNY Region 6 members attended a six-hour Steward Training Workshop held at the Rochester Satellite Office at Winton Place.  Workers who attended the training were from all divisions of CSEA, including state, local government and private sector worksites.

CSEA provides continuing labor education to CSEA's officers, grievance representatives, stewards, committee members, CSEA staff and the members-at-large.  Many of the workshops are required for certification as an officer or grievance representative.

Upon completion of this workshop,  participants will hopefully be able to understand their union rights as a steward, understand the structure of CSEA and the labor movement, identify the union's source of power, create an effective activists network and apply one-on-one organizing and communicating techniques to build and strengthen the union.

Lorry Wisse, Unit Treasurer for the City of Rochester Library Workers, said Patty McArdle and the training session were "invaluable resources" with repsect to her role as a union officer.  She said, "What I learned today will definitely help me serve my members better.  I'm really glad CSEA offers these training programs and I'm so glad I could fit this in to my busy schedule.  And, now I'm looking forward to moving on to the grievance workshop."

Thursday, November 18, 2010


CSEA staff and members from Monroe Community College Local 828 Unit 7402 gather at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on November 18 for the MCC Foundation's 21st Annual Salute to Excellence awards dinner.  Left to Right are:  Robert Leonard, CSEA Labor Relations Specialist; April Spring-Buckley, Lynn Rivers, Debra Ake, Melissa Burley and Tom Pollizi. 
(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.--  On November 18, the Monroe Coummunity College Foundation hosted it's 21st annual Salute To Excellence reception.  Since 1990, the event has emerged as one of upstate New York's signature programs celebrating Greater Rochester's time-honored commitments to higher learning, philanthropy and community building.  CSEA congratulates this year's honorees. 

Corporate and individual philanthropists, outstanding MCC alumni achievers and volunteer leaders, all who have contributed to our community and to the community college experience, are annually selected for recognition.  This event is the major annual fundraising effort for the college.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.--  Labor guys like me have been waiting impatiently for the Obama administration to adopt a more aggressive, partisan tone these days. What do you think? Any way you slice it, Obama's attempt at bipartisianship is way overrated and has just not worked. It should be viewed as a by-product of governing-- not a results strategy. I want Congress and the White House to produce progressive results-- I could care less how they get there.

Just recently, the newly emboldened Republicans may have attributed postponing a summit on Thursday with President Obama to a scheduling glitch, but my sources tell me it's really all about politics. I couldn't agree more.  And for the record, the GOP leadership has no intention of honoring bipartisanship-- they never have.

The roots of the partisan standoff that led to this postponed meeting of the minds dates back to January, when President Barack Obama dominated a GOP meeting in Baltimore and delivered a humiliating rebuke to House Republicans.  It literally pissed them off and they haven't gotten over it.

After the dramatic midterm gains, presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are now letting Obama know he can't run all over them anymore and they are just trying to flex what little political muscle they have at this time. To me, their behavior is child-like and proves the point that they are more concerned about scoring political points than doing the people's business.

The average joe should also know this-- Republican leaders continue to inject politics at every turn while the Democrats are trying to govern our way to fiscal wellness. I'm not letting the Dems of the hook here either-- they are plenty culpable for not showing enough strength to inact more progressive legislation while they had control of the Senate, House and the White House for the past 24 months. But there is a huge difference at play here-- politics is not policy or governing and the GOP doesn't understand the difference.  I know that fair-minded lawmakers do exist who really want to get things done in Washington.  I'd like to think Maine's two Republican Senator's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are among them.

And, let's be honest here-- corporate America bought the last election as voters ousted lawmakers who couldn't turn the economy around fast enough and voted for the Party who tanked our economy in the first place.

photo by Ove Overmyer
 Clearly, today's political conundrum should be viewed for what it truly is-- greed, self interest and profit over the general welfare and common good of ordinary citizens of a civil society. What is so disturbing is that anti-labor forces make no apologies for their strategy and ideology-- they continue to use trickery and sleight of hand to convince well meaning average Americans to vote against their own best interest-- mostly using ignorance, fear and hate as motivators-- to basically separate and divide us. To their credit, even our own union members take the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Middle class and working families should renew their dedication to support lawmakers who vote to reverse the income status-quo, make the rich pay their fair share, create living wage jobs, save our pensions and hold Wall Street and big business accountable for their illegal and perverse actions. There should be no "passes" for any elected official who violates our trust.

Recognizing the problems that plague us as “one nation” is one thing, but having the will and energy to move our country forward is another. It’s up to each and every union member, and it's up to each member of every middle class family in America to recognize a “sense of urgency” to remedy the mounting problems that face us as a state and nation.

If history has taught us anything, it’s time for the labor movement, union households and everyday Americans to rise up once again to be fully represented and to have ownership over the destiny of our own diverse, blended, multi-generational working families.  Having stronger unions made a difference in the past, and can bring us the results we need for a promising future.  An effective political action strategy, massive mobilization efforts, and having those tough conversations with your co-workers, neighbors and friends would be a great start to that end.

-Commentary by Ove Overmyer

Monday, November 15, 2010


Dear CSEA and AFSCME members:

We've got just 15 days to get it done.

We're talking about helping out-of-work Americans and fixing the Bush tax cuts — the ones that give a huge, permanent, tax break to the richest 2 percent while working families struggle just to get by. Benefits for millions of unemployed workers will expire at the end of the month, yet Congress is talking about more tax cuts for millionaires. We've got to make sure they do the right thing.

Please, send a message to your member of Congress and senators today. Urge them to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and extend unemployment insurance to every American who is out of work.

Some in Congress want to make the tax cuts permanent. That's a terrible idea. The wealthiest Americans should not be given permanent tax breaks while desperately-needed public services continue to be slashed, and 2 million people lose their unemployment on December 1. What we need right now is a recovery that works for everyone — not another millionaire bailout.

Here's what we’re telling Congress: Extend unemployment benefits for Americans struggling to find a job and keep the tax cuts for middle-class families, but let them expire for the wealthiest 2 precent of Americans. Working families are already stretched too far. If that sounds fair to you, I hope you'll add your name to our petition right now, and make sure Congress does the right thing for working families.

Frankly, the richest Americans don't need a helping hand these days. Just two years after the financial collapse, Wall Street is already handing out its biggest bonuses in history -- more than $144 billion. Rather than extending tax cuts for people on Wall Street, we need to help the folks on Main Street — the other 98 percent of the country -- who need jobs and public services to stay afloat.

Add your voice, and make sure Congress hears us: It's time to stop the handouts to the top 2 percent of America, and do the right thing for the rest of us. During this fall's election, voters across the country overwhelmingly said that America needs a recovery that works for everyone: not a millionaire bailout that would create a $700 billion budget gap over the next 10 years with no return on investment. Right now, it’s working families who have been struggling to do more with less -- not CEOs of America's top corporations.

You can bet that Congress is already hearing from the millionaires. Make sure they hear from the rest of America, too. There's no time to lose. Please act now!


In solidarity,

Charles Loveless
AFSCME Legislative Director

Executive Board
CSEA Monroe County Local 828
B. Watts
C. Zaffuto
O. Overmyer
T.J. Johnson
S. Trottier
S. Newman

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(Click on Image for a larger view)  This chart is worth 1,000 words. Compiled by Ezra Klein in The Washington Post, this shows clearly who truly benefits from the Bush tax cuts.   Note:  It amazes us at the Voice Reporter that the number of people who parrot the GOP's talking points and who support extending the Bush tax cuts can not comprehend the disasterous outcome for the middle class if the GOP get their way.

Rochester, N.Y.-- Yes, it's true. The economy is in shambles. People everywhere are struggling to make ends meet. So naturally, Republicans first concern is the well being of the richest Americans.  Have they lost their marbles?

They're looking to make Bush's tax cuts for the rich— which expire at the end of the year— permanent. The worst part is that some blue dog Democrats have already come out and agreed with the Republicans' reckless approach, and the White House has signaled that they're open to compromising on this issue.

It seems ridiculous to even debate this. Help the rich? The Republicans and those that support their party are whining and complaining about the super-rich receiving a tax hike. The stupidity, economically and politically, is just astounding.

As it stands now, all of the tax cuts are set to expire on December 31. Both the GOP and Democratic Party agree on extending the cuts for the lower and middle classes. The Republicans believe this doesn’t go far enough and want to extend the cuts for everyone.

Democrats punted on this issue before the Congressional recess, but it has to be hammered out during the lame duck session before the end of the year. Even though the Democrats will still have the majority vote in both the Senate and the House, they have not shown enough political backbone to do what is right.

The wealthy in America pay far less taxes than the middle class, based on percentages. Warren Buffet was quoted in a 2006 interview and has recently repeated the assertion that his tax bill was “far, far less as a fraction of my income than the secretaries, or the clerks, or anyone else in my office.” Does that seem right to you?

Have we lost our collective mind? This is the worst idea since—well, ever. Middle class families shouldn't have to pay more in taxes than millionaire hedge-fund managers, period.

The Bush tax cuts for the super rich aren't just bad policy, they are bad politics too. Voters consistently reject extending those giveaways in poll after poll but somehow they will try and convince you otherwise.  Democrats, are you listening?

Most economists agree that the top 2 percent of the richest folks who the Republicans are going to bat for do not spend this money or create jobs with it. It means this is simply a tax giveaway and doesn't have any stimulative effect on the economy.

At a time in history when we are suffering from such horrible mistakes by the Bush administration and his eight years of wild spending, how can we let this happen?  We know from personal experience that struggling families will spend the tax break because they have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. They need relief now, and a break for the 98 percent of us will also jumpstart our struggling economy.

For those Tea Party ideologues like Kentucky's Rand Paul, here is your conundrum. Extending permanent tax breaks for the richest people will only add $700 billion to the deficit at the expense of everyone else with no return on investment-- Paul and his right wing cronies are hypocrites when they campaigned on being watchdogs for fiscal conservativism and calling themselves "budget deficit hawks." Either they are liars, incompetent or really stupid people and do not understand basic economics 101. What they do understand is now they are beholden to corporate America, the big banks, Wall Street and the donors of the GOP and now everybody knows it.

Now more than ever it is essential that every day working families and Democratic lawmakers stand up for the middle class. The Democrats have just a few weeks to pull this off. Let's hope the 111th Congress goes out on a high note and does the right thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Officers and Committee Chairs of CSEA Monroe County Local 828 take a break during an intense workshop training provided by Linda Donahue, Director of Labor Programs, Rochester District, Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School.  (Photo by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.-- On November 5th and 6th, 16 CSEA union leaders met at a local hotel to discuss ways to make their labor organization leaner and meaner. The objective of this effort was to improve on our goals with our committee activities, become more accountable and therefore work towards becoming a more perfect union.

The workshop was titled, "Building Union Commitment through Effective Committees." Linda Donahue, Director of Labor Programs at the Cornell University ILR School, facilitated the instruction.

Members discussed union values, building ownership, brainstormed methods of decision-making and talked about achieving "consensus." Particpants also surveyed a needs assessment questionaire and gave mini presentations to the group.

Bess Watts, Monroe County Local 828 President calls Donahue a gift to the labor community. She said, "Her patient style, depth of knowledge and teaching abilities makes learning difficult subject matter very understandable and rewarding."

Other member comments about the work session included these remarks:

•This was a very helpful workshop to help us work with our committees and unit members/leaders. We could clearly have this for a whole weekend instead of a day and a half.

•I really like the materials to help put my committee together. Thank you for the help. Great job Linda, you are fantastic.

•This presentation was extremely timely for me as I start to organize the membership committee. I have many ideas that I will use in my job as chair of the committee.

Watts added that she is delighted with the progress of our Local but warned there will be tough times ahead for the labor community.  She is always looking forward to hearing from our members. If you have any questions or comments about your Local or Unit, you can contact her directly by emailing her at this address.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Flags from the progressive community fly high on the National Mall in D.C. on October 2, 2010 at the One Nation Working Together rally.
(photo and commentary by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.-- What did the 2010 elections tell us? Voters largely shun the party unable to fix the economic mess in favor of the party that caused it.

And while the pundits and prognosticators would give you different opinions and their own spin on the truth as they see fit, one thing is very clear: It's time for the labor community and progressives to immediately get back to work.  We have to expect more from ourselves.

The right wing anti-labor folks run a "ministry of truth" on television and radio 24/7, whipping up misinformation, anger and pushing an anti-middle class, anti-democratic agenda.

We need to continue to build a trustworthy and powerful hub for expressing a true progressive morality. We need to engage more working class people who are ready to hear the truth - and ready to fight for economic fairness, equality, peace and to cultivate a real sense of what true democracy is.

Americans need to see political champions out there, every day, fighting tooth and nail for the regular folks. But far too often, on things like the AIG bonus scandal and the housing foreclosure crisis, they saw the big banks, the rich and corporate stakeholders getting their way while the average working class families suffered terrible indignities like losing a job and being thrown out of their own home.  The majority of social scientists believe that income inequality currently poses a problem for American society.  Additionally, Alan Greenspan believes it to be a "very disturbing trend."

It can not be overstated that Obama and the 111th Congress Democrats made genuine and significant progress on issues like health care, pay equity and Wall Street reform. But the Republicans, Fox, and corporate front groups systematically misled America about what really transpired in the past 24 months-- and then those same groups spent hundreds of millions to put Republicans in Congress-- this election was bought plain and simple and we are now seeing first hand how destructive the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case was and is to our democratic ideals.

Progressive heroes like Russ Feingold, Alan Grayson, and Tom Perriello stood up for everything working families believe in-- but they were overwhelmed by voter frustration and corporate cash. Remember that "change we can believe in" slogan? This is not the kind of change we anticipated.

We can't give up hope because our country is still hurting. And if corporate Republicans and tea partiers have their way, things will get a lot worse for those who do not have "disposable incomes."  If you do not consider yourself a wealthy person, you have no business supporting corporate Republicans.  They are oppressing you this very minute and at the same time trying to convince you otherwise.

We can't stop fighting because we carry in our hearts a vision of Americans coming together to take care of each other in times of crisis and provide a decent job for everyone who wants to work. And if the labor community and our progressive partners don't fight for that vision, what kind of world will we be giving the next generation?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Rochester Democrat Harry Bronson has won the 131 District seat that was vacated by the retiring Susan John, D-Rochester, who served our community for 20 years.  Susan John is a huge friend to working families, chairing the Assembly Labor Committee and serves on the Judiciary, Education, Energy, and Libraries and Education Technology Commitees as well. CSEA wishes her the best in her future endeavors.  (Photos by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.-- Democrat and labor advocate Harry Bronson beat political newcomer Ken Kraus in a tough battle for the New York State Assembly seat that includes portions of the City of Rochester, and the towns of Riga, Rush, Wheatland and Chili.

"I'm just very pleased that the voters of the 131st were receptive to my message," said Bronson, a lawyer and small business owner who also ran on the Working Families Party line.

Bronson was elected to the Monroe County Legislature in 2005 and has served as its Minority Leader since 2007. He was strongly supported by CSEA.

In an email sent to supporters, Bronson thanked the community for the win.

"I cannot thank you enough for all you've done to support my candidacy over the past nine months. It has been a long and hard campaign, but because of you, I now have the honor and privilege to represent the citizens of the 131st Assembly District.

Whatever your part --perhaps carrying petitions, walking door to door, making phone calls, making a donation or a kind word of encouragement, this victory is because of you.

These are difficult, challenging times. I see, however, the possibilities and want, with your help to be part of the solution to the myriad of issues we face. I am eager to roll up my sleeves and fight for you, the hard working families of New York.

Thank you for this opportunity."


Harry Bronson

To view YNN's Seth Vorhees election night interview with the Assemblyman-Elect Harry Bronson, you can go here.


NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli surrounded by his WNY CSEA supporters on October 16th.  DiNapoli beat Harry Wilson and will serve a four year term ending 2014. (photo by Courtney Brunelle)

New York--  Thomas P. DiNapoli was elected state Comptroller Tuesday November 2, with strong support from CSEA and the labor community. This election is a victory for working families, as DiNapoli will fight hard to protect our pensions against corporate interests that would jeopardize them.

The race was not declared until shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday, which marked DiNapoli’s first statewide victory as political candidate.

Although Mr. Wilson refused to concede, saying the race was too close to call, DiNapoli took the stage at a victory celebration in Manhattan.  He told a sparse but extremely vocal crowd that his victory was an affirmation of his years of public service.  Some of the revelers and party faithful already went home-- Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor-Elect Robert Duffy took the stage some three hours earlier.  “You don’t always need a famous name and you don’t always need to be rich to make it in politics,” DiNapoli said at the podium.  He also thanked the labor community for "putting him over the top."

Mr. DiNapoli, 56, a former assemblyman from Long Island, made ethics reform a key plank of his campaign, and he vowed to press forward with changes he has put in place to make state government more transparent.

DiNapoli had two major hurdles to overcome: his status as an Albany lawmaker in a year when anti-incumbency feelings ran high, and the financial advantage of Mr. Wilson, a Republican who poured in roughly $4 million of his own money into a campaign that outspent Mr. DiNapoli’s nearly two to one.

The comptroller is the sole trustee of the state’s $125 billion public pension fund.  Tom DiNapoli framed the race as a choice between “Main Street values and Wall Street values,” aiming to take advantage of voters’ lingering anger at the bank bailout and the financial crash.

Since taking over the comptroller’s post in 2007, DiNapoli has prohibited paid intermediaries from doing business with the pension fund and created a Web site, Open Book New York, that lists every state contract and all state agency spending.

In his victory speech, DiNapoli said, “It’s not always about the polls or the pundits or the papers. It is about the people and the working families of this great state.”

Monday, November 1, 2010


Rochester, N.Y.--  CSEA enthusiastically endorses the Honorable Harry Bronson for NYS Assembly in the 131st District.  The district includes portions of the City of Rochester, Riga, Chili, Wheatland and Rush.  Please take a look at this testimonial posted on WXXI's Voice of the Voter website and youtube.

For voter information or to check out your polling place, you can click here or call the Monroe County Board of Elections at 585.753.1550.


Albany, N.Y.--  If you want to preserve your job, your pension, and your families well being, I suggest you take a look at this testimonial by our NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

-A message from your Local 828 Executive Board and Political Action Committee


Rochester, N.Y.-- Tomorrow, millions of Americans will head to their local polling places to cast ballots for local, state and federal candidiates. We hope you’ll be among them. There is no action you can take this year more important than voting for fair-minded officials.

Elections have consequences. We've seen it time and again. Our work to elect more fair-minded members at all levels of government allow us to expect fairness, opportunity and equality for all working families. And fair-minded legislators have been the key to passing healthcare reform, consumer protections in banking, and passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that helps level the playing field for women at work.

Our detractors want to roll back the clock-- that means rehashed fights about posting of the Ten Commandments, citizenship, and voting standards, enforcement of anti-civil rights and anti-gay legislation, regulating Wall Street and big banks, access to contraception, the legality of the clean-water and emissions standards, the minimum wage, and of course, the dismantling of Social Security.

It means a diminished state of our democracy and the elimination of vital public services in your community.  Tea Partiers and uber-conservative voters want to move the political fulcrum rightward and backward. Independents and political moderates need to take notice and vote for sanity and decency.  And if this doesn't motivate us to get out and vote, I don't know what will.

Polls will be open in New York tomorrow from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

If you vote in Monroe County, you can find your polling place by clicking here.

If you have questions about voting or if you face any difficulties in casting your ballot, contact the Election Protection hotline by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).