Monday, April 29, 2013


Rochester, N.Y.-- The CSEA Voice Reporter is the launching pad for all news and information for members of CSEA Monroe County, N.Y. Local 828 and the community at large. 

The Voice Reporter has proven to be an invaluable resource tool for us to communicate, mobilize and demonstrate how important our contributions are to the working fabric of everyday life here in Rochester and Monroe County, N.Y. We share our posts on almost every social media provider in existence, including this channel, Flickr, Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter and more.

CSEA Monroe County Local 828 was first chartered in 1950 and is now comprised of 22 Units throughout Monroe County. Our Local represents nearly 3,500 public employees who work for various local governments.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Rochester, N.Y. -- The executive board of CSEA Monroe County Local 828 would like to thank everyone who visits and shares information posted on our blog. Our first post was May 4, 2009, and in that time frame we have garnered over 100,000 page views on news and information relevant to our community. We are approaching our fourth anniversary this May, and during all the growing pains we believe we have now established a very good web presence in our community.

Over these past four years, we have tried very hard to stay true to our mission. Our mission at the CSEA Voice Reporter is dedicated to speaking truth to power and to give a voice to average working Americans. We will frame the debate in our own words. We will not allow others to define us. Moreover, your CSEA Local 828 officer’s leadership abilities and enduring dedication to our members cause has been second to no one. The Voice Reporter has proven to be an invaluable resource tool for us to communicate, mobilize and demonstrate how important our contributions are to the working fabric of everyday life here in Monroe County.

We look at it this way-- this is 100,000 more interactions with our members and the greater community than if we never created this blog at all. And, it's not as if we have gone completely unnoticed in the past few years. In 2011, the Voice Reporter received peer recognition for its work. We were recognized as a "best blog" by our labor peers.

The Metro New York Labor Communications Council sponsors the only New York area competition that recognizes excellence among labor journalists, photographers, graphic artists, editors and publications. Judges were experts from the labor press, mainstream press and academia.

Just like MNYLCC, the Voice Reporter is dedicated to the importance of all union publications and other labor media. Winning a communications award calls attention to our officers’ talents and the achievements of our publication or other medium in delivering labor’s message. The Voice Reporter also has a very active YouTube Channel and we engage in a multitude of social media strategies.

Talent and good ideas are independent of financial resources and that is what the MNYLCC recognizes. We would like to think so as well. What makes our website/blog so unique is that we create our own primary source documents, photos and videos that document the stories of our local labor community. We are not a repository for other sources-- however, we love to highlight great reporting when we see it. We focus on posting our own original work from our members for all to share through our creative commons license and fair use policies.

In conclusion, thanks for doing your part as well— please visit our web pages often and share this information with friends and family. As we navigate these difficult times together, we are especially counting on you to help us make our community a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

Best Regards,

Bess Watts, President
Cris Zaffuto, 1st Vice President
Ove Overmyer, 2nd Vice President
T. Judith Johsnon, 3rd Vice President
Sue Trottier, Treasurer
Sue Newman, Secretary


Workers Memorial Day: Safe Jobs Save Lives
APRIL 28, 2013
Workers Memorial Day: Safe Jobs Save Lives
On April 28, CSEA, AFSCME and the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to honor those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. This year, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders urges us to remember workers, “unsung and often unseen, whose labor keeps the doors open, the lights on and the people moving in our communities, schools, factories and workplaces.”
“As public service workers, AFSCME members are exposed to many serious hazards including traffic, chemicals in the workplace, back injuries, workplace violence, infectious diseases and a variety of other risks that kill, injure, sicken and maim hundreds of our brothers and sisters every year. Our union fought hard to make the promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act a reality, winning protections that made jobs safer, saved lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.
“Workers have a right to go to work in the morning and return to their homes just as they left. Their families should have the assurance of knowing that employers are living up to their responsibilities to safeguard workplaces. This Workers Memorial Day, we must all recommit not only to doing all we can to keep workplaces safe, but also to standing up together for good jobs that are safe and healthy.”
Just days ago, we mourned the death of Lee Rizor, a 27-year-old highway technician with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and a member of OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11. Rizor was operating a backhoe, clearing debris behind a guardrail along Interstate 71, just north of Columbus, when a tractor trailer struck his vehicle. His wife, two young children and their family members are in our thoughts and prayers.
More Workers Memorial Day resources are available on the AFSCME website, and the AFL-CIO has posted a list of commemorative events across the country. Please also be sure to view theWorkers Memorial Day tribute page on which includes a list of our AFSCME sisters and brothers who have lost their lives while on the job.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Week ending April 26, 2013

Help Save SUNY Downstate

CSEA, PEF, and UUP have joined together to launch a postcard campaign aimed at Governor Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to save SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

The State Budget requires the SUNY Chancellor to submit a viability plan for the hospital to the Governor by June 1, 2013. We must fight to keep SUNY Downstate Medical Center a viable, strong PUBLIC teaching hospital.

If you would like to help with our postcard campaign, please contact Region 2 Political Action Coordinator Matt D’Amico at (212) 406-2156.

There will be a rally for SUNY Downstate on Thursday, May 9th. Rev. Al Sharpton will be attending a pre-rally press conference at SUNY Downstate (470 Clarkson Avenue) at 3pm. At 4:15 pm, participants will meet at Mt. Zion Church of God (203 East 37th Street) and march to the hospital at 5pm to join workers.

Campaign Finance Reform Talk Continues

Campaign finance reform continues to be a major topic of discussion in the post-budget session. Advocates, including the Governor, continue to push for the public financing of campaigns. It is estimated that public financing could cost the state over $220 million per election cycle once fully implemented. CSEA is strongly opposed to the public financing of political campaigns. Considering the state has lost nearly 60,000 public sector jobs since 2010, we should be focusing on ways to help real New Yorkers instead of funding more dinner time robo-calls and television commercials. 

Oppose the Attack on Overtime Pay

Congress has proposed the “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1406) that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow paid overtime to be replaced with employer-controlled compensatory time off. The legislation would allow employers to pay nothing for overtime work at the time the work is performed in exchange for a promise of future paid leave.

Because H.R.1406 makes overtime less expensive for employers, it would counteract the impact of the 40-hour workweek and encourage employers to demand more overtime from fewer workers at a time when the economy is already losing jobs. This bill is not about providing employees with greater flexibility, but rather about providing employers with greater flexibility to not pay overtime.

Call Congress today and tell your representative to oppose H.R. 1406. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators’ and Representative’s office.

Monday, April 22, 2013


CSEA Monroe County, N.Y. Local 828 Unit 7420 Treasurer Lorry Wisse and Unit 7420 President Ove Overmyer accept a dozen copies of the book, The Main Street Moment: Fighting Back to Save the American Dream.
photo: Jude Schewe
THE MAIN STREET MOMENT: Fighting Back to Save the American Dream, by Gerald W. McEntee and Lee Saunders. 

Rochester, N.Y.-- Unit Officers Lorry Wisse and Ove Overmyer (AFSCME NY/CSEA Local 1000, CSEA Local 828 Unit 7420, City of Rochester, N.Y. Library Workers) accept a dozen copies of the definitive narrative for progressives and working people who know that America can only be transformed if we all stand united. The book will be cataloged, distributed and available at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, N.Y. and the ten branches of the Rochester Public Library.

CSEA members throughout Monroe County celebrated National Library Week (April 14-20) at their own work sites by hosting workshops on pay equity and workplace safety plus volunteering to participate in World Book Night on April 23. Many CSEA members also honored National Library Workers Day (April 16) by wearing their CSEA conversation starter buttons that read 331.88, the Dewey Decimal number for Trade Unions.

Monday, April 15, 2013


New York-- Drivers today are more distracted than ever. Many people are not focused on the task at hand; they are talking to others, texting, eating food or doing other behaviors while driving. In addition to these distractions, recent statistics reveal that drivers are more aggressive than ever. 

Roads in the U.S. have become very dangerous places because of distracted and aggressive drivers.  Did you know in 2008, distracted drivers killed almost 6,000 people? (source: National Highway Transportation Safety Association) The American Automobile Association estimates that 56% of all fatal crashes are caused by aggressive drivers.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013


4- 10- 2013

NLRB Chair Mark Pearce was renominated yesterday by President Obama in an attempt to get the broken labor board back into gear.   (NLRB)
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he would nominate three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a move to restore the beleaguered agency to normal working order. The announcement comes as the board is being hammered by political and legal attacks that have severely damaged its ability to function.
The president's proposal would reappoint current NLRB Chair Mark Gaston Pearce and add two new members. If approved by the U.S. Senate, the nominations would restore the board to its full complement of five members, with three (including Pearce) representing the Democratic Party and two representing the Republican Party.
The two Republican representatives are the other nominations announced by the White House on Tuesday. The candidates are Philip Miscimarra and Harry I. Johnson III, both experienced lawyers at large firms known for representing employers in the their legal struggles against unions and workers. Miscimarra is a Chicago-based partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and Johnson is a Los Angeles-based partner at Arent Fox (and a former partner at Jones Day).
The nominations do little to allay the NLRB’s most immediate problemfederal appeals court ruling early this year that invalidated the recess appointments of the NLRB’s other two Democratic members, Sharon Block and Richard F. Griffin, Jr. That ruling is prompting many employers to challenge the NLRB’s authority to enforce its orders and casting a legal cloud over the continued operations of the agency. The case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland, but there is no certainty on whether the Supreme Court will be willing to hear the case or what the outcome will be. In the interim, she says, the board is taking the position that the recess appointments are proper and is making good faith efforts to carry out its mandate to enforce labor law.
The legal fight over recess appointments reflects the broader partisan battle over the NLRB, which has been the subject of constant attacks from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Republican supporters since Obama took office in 2009. The attacks resumed within minutes of Tuesday’s nominations announcement, when Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), Chairman of the House Education & Workforce Committee, issued a blistering statement: “While we welcome the president’s long-overdue effort to resolve the crisis he created, today’s announcement does not abate the chaos surrounding the NLRB. Workers, employers, and unions are stuck in a state of limbo as roughly 600 decisions issued by the board remain constitutionally suspect."
Kline continued, “The American people deserve a board that will fairly and objectively administer the law. In recent years, the board has instead advanced extreme policies harmful to rights of workers and job creators. We intend to closely follow the confirmation process and expect the nominees to demonstrate a commitment to abandon an activist agenda.”
Kline further announced that the House of Representative would vote this week on new legislation (H.R. 1120, or the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act) that would require the NLRB to cease all operations until the Supreme Court rules on the legitimacy of the recess appointments.  While there is little chance that Kline’s bill will be passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the stridency of his remarks gives a clear indication of the Republican Party's feelings about the NLRB.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor & Pensions, intends to combine the three nominations announced on Tuesday with the earlier nominations of Block and Griffin to advance a package deal to vote all the nominees at one time, according to Harkin spokeswoman Elizabeth Donovan. No date for a hearing on the five nominations has been scheduled, she added. Nor has there been any public indication that the Republican members of the committee are agreeable to Harkin’s plan, or to the larger question of whether top Republican leaders in the Senate will allow confirmation votes on any of the NLRB nominees.
Harkin’s plan has the backing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other leaders of organized labor. It’s clear, however, that the wishes of the country’s top labor leaders carry little weight with Republican leaders in the Senate, so Tuesday’s White House announcement is not expected to have any immediate impact on the paralysis at the NLRB.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Rye Brook, N.Y. -- Hundreds of CSEA officers, activists and members from across the state attended the union’s Women’s Conference at the Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook from Friday, April 5, to Sunday, April 7.

The conference theme was “CSEA Women Have the Power – Use it or Lose it!” In accordance with that theme, the conference focused on helping CSEA women – and men – develop their union leadership and other skills to better fight back against attacks on worker rights. The conference also features programs to help workers better balance their personal and professional lives.

Thursday, April 4, 2013



Danny Donohue
photo: CSEA
April 3, 2013
Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on Thruway and Canal Layoffs
“It is likely that New York State Thruway and Canal Corporation workers will be put out of work today. This is a tragedy for these workers who have done nothing to deserve it. CSEA has sought alternatives, but there has been no movement by the administration. It’s a sad commentary that Governor Cuomo cares more about making a political point than he does about the well being of these workers and their families, even at the expense of Thruway and Canal operations.”
Please Note:
The Thruway Authority has long been mismanaged and a landing spot for many political patronage appointees. Any claim that these layoffs are necessary due to economic circumstances is bogus because not a single patronage employee or even a manager is being let go – only unionized workers.
It’s also disingenuous if the administration tries to claim that there won’t be negative impact on operations. That’s impossible when they are laying off 234 workers who actually do the work of maintaining and operating and inspecting the roadways and the canals. (81 of the layoffs are in CSEA-represented positions – 39 in Canals, 42 in the Thruway professional unit.)
The governor’s handpicked negotiator, Joe Bress, is conducting the negotiations.
The Thruway contracts are completely different from the state Executive Branch contracts. It’s an apples to oranges comparison.
Since 2010, nearly 60,000 public sector jobs have been lost in New York – middle class jobs, which has eroded services and stalled the state’s economic recovery.