Monday, October 16, 2017

CSEA Local 828 Members featured in CSEA Videos


CSEA's Michael Irving makes his community a better place

WNY-- CSEA member and Monroe County Water Authority (NY) employee Michael Irving makes his community a better place. Video by CSEA ©2017.



CSEA's Carrie Chapman makes her community a better place
WNY-- CSEA member and Monroe Community College (NY) employee Carrie Chapman makes her community a better place. Video by CSEA ©2017.



Friday, September 15, 2017

NO Constitutional Convention

On November 7, 2017, New Yorker voters will be asked if the state should hold a convention to re-write the New York State Constitution.  Such a convention could cost taxpayers over 300 million and could allow devastating changes to our constitution. Who is driving this idea & why?

Those in favor site the need for ethics reform and limits on gerrymandering while those against question the wisdom of opening the constitution up to alteration by the same corrupt big money players that currently hold the public good hostage in Albany.  Well-financed pro-convention groups are trying to dominate the early discussion and mislead voters with false advertising claims that this will be a “people’s convention”.  

There is currently a process in place to change the NYS Constitution that has been used over 200 times since 1984. The state legislature creates referendum questions for the ballot during general elections and citizens decide.  A number of ballot questions were voted on in 2013 including the constitutional change needed to build the Del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo. When a process to change the constitution currently exists why risk giving entrenched politicians and big money influencers access to alter constitutional protections for workers, the environment, women, minorities and schools?

The Adirondacks Mountains are protected by a ‘forever wild’ clause in the constitution. Lobbyists say that those protections are ‘unlikely’ to be altered. Frankly, ‘unlikely’ is not good enough when we see federal parklands being sold off, mined and privatized.   The constitution also protects pensions, public education and the right for working people to organize and collectively bargain.  Women & LGBTQ people should be concerned about the introduction of “Religious Freedom” clauses and the use of tax funds for religious schools. Gun control, women’s reproductive rights and protective tax limits for the wealthiest would be on the table.  
   
A constitutional convention is ripe for abuse. It’s a financial boondoggle enabling system-savvy politicians to make up to an extra $80,000 annually on top of the salaries they already receive.  There is no timeline to complete delegate work or limitations on who they can pay to “assist” them. Taxpayers will get stuck with the tab.  The money spent on a Constitutional Convention would be better spent investing in our schools, our crumbling infrastructure and vital public services. 

Survey data has shown that when voters are presented with the facts regarding a constitutional convention, they overwhelmingly oppose it.  I hope you will too.  

Bess Watts
President, CSEA Local 828 Monroe County

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CSEA Endorses James Sheppard for Mayor



CSEA has endorsed James Sheppard’s candidacy for Mayor of the City of Rochester. The CSEA Monroe County Political Action Committee is comprised of local members who work for state government, public authorities, local municipalities, school districts, library systems and for the private sector childcare and healthcare industries. More than 4,500 CSEA members call the City of Rochester home.

“For many years, James Sheppard and CSEA have been crafting a great working relationship when it comes to delivering vital public services to citizen taxpayers of Rochester and Monroe County,” said CSEA Monroe County Local Political Action Committee Chairperson Bess Watts. In an endorsement letter dated August 17, Watts stated Mr. Sheppard has clearly demonstrated a vision and ability to build consensus on issues that matter most to our working families.


“James Sheppard completely understands the value of collective bargaining and the vital role employees play in improving the lives of local residents,” said Western Region President Florence Tripi. She added, “The City of Rochester is lucky to have a trustworthy passionate leader like Jim Sheppard. His unequivocal confirmation not supporting the state constitutional convention referendum vote this November is something that did not go unnoticed.” 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Join Us for the Labor Day Parade

LABOR DAY PARADE - September 4th

Parade begins at 11:00 on the corner of East Avenue and Union Street with a Press Conference at 10:15 on the steps of the NYSUT Building at 30 North Union Street.   

Join us!  CSEA TShirts will be provided.  The theme this year is “Labor Fighting Forward: We Can Do It!"

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rochester Pride Parade


Rochester– On Saturday, July 15, CSEA union activists marched with their labor brothers and sisters in solidarity at the Rochester Pride Parade that weaved down the Park Avenue neighborhood to Culver Road.

Official Rochester Pride organizers report more than 100 Units participated in the walk while thousands of marchers and parade onlookers took to the streets to spread the message of solidarity, love, non-violence, peace and community pride. This year’s parade theme was in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love.”
After the parade, the community gathered at Cobbs Hill Park for the annual festival. CSEA sponsored a vendor table while sharing resources and relevant information about current events happening in our working world.
Bess Watts, CSEA Monroe County President said, “Once again, the parade and festival were awesome. The Rochester Pride Parade and Festival are a great opportunity to share labor’s message. The exceptionally warm reception we received as we walked down the avenue gave me chills down my spine.”

CSEA, the Teamsters, Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, NYSUT, Pride at Work AFL-CIO, Coalition Labor Union of Women, the Federation of Social Workers (CWA), AFT, UUP, UAW and many additional labor unions attended the event.


CSEA is an Official Sponsor of Rochester, NY Pride 2017.


Photos and story by Ove Overmyer, CSEA ©2017.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Constitutional Convention is Not a Solution


On Nov. 7, 2017, New York state voters will decide whether to hold a state Constitutional Convention. The New York State Constitution mandates that every 20 years, voters must decide whether to approve a convention.

A state Constitutional Convention is a meeting of three delegates from each of the state’s 63 Senate districts, plus 15 at-large delegates. During this meeting, delegates would have the ability to amend any part of the state’s constitution. Any changes agreed to by a majority of delegates will then go to the voters for approval. Any approved changes will then become part of the state constitution.
In 1997, voters rejected a convention largely based on strong opposition from CSEA and our allies. In recent years, some elected officials, voters and interest groups have expressed support for holding a constitutional convention because of frustration with recent political scandal and misguided state policies.

We are again strongly opposed to a convention, which could potentially open the door for losing many of the rights and protections that help secure our futures, including our pension benefits, collective bargaining rights, contract rights, civil rights and social welfare and much more.

A convention would also be expensive; it would likely be controlled by special interests that want to reduce your protections and could cost taxpayers millions.   Protect our future and vote 'NO' on November 7th.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CSEA Local 828 & 7400 Scholarships Awarded

Webster, N.Y.—On Monday, May 22, CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Executive Board, Local 828 Scholarship Committee and CSEA Retirees Local 902 hosted the 25th Annual Scholarship Awards Dinner at Liberty Lodge in Finn Park, 850 Maple Dr., Webster, N.Y.

At the picnic supper, Local officers formally announced the winners of the CSEA Local 828 George M. Growney Memorial and the Monroe County Unit 7400 Scholarship Awards for 2017. This year, $9,000.00 was awarded to deserving area students whose parents or caregivers are members in good standing of CSEA Monroe County Local 828.

Since 1993, CSEA Local 828 has awarded over $150,000 in scholarship prize money. In 1993, the Monroe County Employees Unit 7400, the largest Unit in the Local, created their own scholarship program and have distributed more than $26,000.



George M. Growney Memorial Scholarships Local 828 & Unit 7400

Mr. Growney was a long time local labor leader and activist. He was employed as a probation officer with Monroe County. He served as local president for nearly two decades before his retirement in 1995. George had a passion for kids to succeed, and would be proud that his union brothers and sisters have carried on his legacy of love and commitment to youth. George M. Growney died on August 10, 1997. The scholarship program was named in his honor in 1998—one year after his passing.

“This is my favorite time of the year, the committee does all the work and I show up and give out money to well deserving children of CSEA members” said Bess Watts, President of Local 828. She added, “It’s very rewarding to know we are helping our young people succeed in life.”


CSEA Local 828 Scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors whose parents and caregivers are members or agency shop fee payers of Monroe County Local 828. The scholarship committees have reviewed thousands of applications in the past 25 years, which demonstrates the significant need of financial resources for young adults continuing their formal education. Scholarships applicants are judged on academic achievement, a written essay, financial need and potential.


Nancy Steele and her committee did a wonderful job on making this scholarship dinner another successful event!  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CSEA Helping Our Communities

Rochester has been experiencing unprecedented flooding in the area, especially along the coast of Lake Ontario. Our department of public works in the towns of Greece, Irondequoit and Webster are working tirelessly helping residents protect their homes. The Town of Webster are pictured preparing sandbags for delivery.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Monroe County Blitz

CSEA Never Quit Team made it count in Monroe County! CSEA local activists and staff braved single digit wind chills to meet and greet members on their home turf.
Activists have canvassing lists and knocked on doors in the City of Rochester and in every town in Monroe County with the hope of making contact and sharing important information about the state of our union.
Over the course of four days, the CSEA Never Quit Team has targeted more than 4K members for a point of contact.  



Volunteers from across the Western Region

The war room

Husband and wife team of Tim and Cheryl Bates from the Monroe County Water Authority

Nate Stone from Irondequoit with his 'Never Quit' card with Bess Watts and Sharon Ivey


Monday, February 13, 2017

Accepting Scholarship Applications



Since 1993, CSEA Monroe County Local 828 and its major Units have awarded over $110,000 in scholarship prize money. In 1994, the Monroe County Employees Unit 7400, the largest Unit in the Local, created their own scholarship program and has distributed more than $24,000. 
Mr. Growney was a long time labor leader and activist who was employed as a probation officer with Monroe County. He served as local president for nearly two decades before his retirement in 1995. George had a passion for kids to succeed, and would be proud that his union brothers and sisters have carried on his legacy of love and commitment to youth. George M. Growney died on August 10, 1997. The scholarship program was named in his honor the following year after his death.

The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors whose parents and caregivers are members or agency shop fee payers of Monroe County Local 828. Scholarship applicants are judged on academic achievement, a written essay, financial need and potential.

George M. Growney Memorial Scholarships Local 828  and Unit 7400


“This is one of the best things we do as union activists,” said Bess Watts, President of Local 828. She added, “It’s very rewarding to know we are helping our young people succeed in life as well as giving back to our community.”

CSEA Local 828 Scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors whose parents and caregivers are members or agency shop fee payers of Monroe County Local 828. The scholarship committees have reviewed thousands of applications in the past 23 years, demonstrating a significant need of financial resources for young adults continuing their formal education. Scholarship applicants are judged on academic achievement, a written essay, financial need and potential.
Applications are available by contacting your workplace CSEA representative. For more scholarship information, you can go to our Voice Reporter Scholarship page or call Barbara at HQ 585-328-5250.   

Monday, January 30, 2017

Start a Never Quit Conversation Today


Start a Never Quit Conversation Today

Monroe County-- The CSEA Never Quit Team will be hosting a meeting for all members and volunteers on Tuesday, February 7 5:00 pm at the Rochester Satellite Office at 3495 Winton Place, Building E Suite 3. At the meeting, we will discuss logistics of reaching out to thousands of CSEA families over the first week in March.

For more information, please call your Local office 585-328-5250 or the Rochester Satellite Office 585-272-0800. Food and refreshments will be available.

Monday, January 23, 2017

This week in Albany

This Week in Albany

Week ending January 20, 2017

Trump Takes Office
Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, while Mike Pence became the 48th Vice President.
President Trump’s speech focused on the promises he made during the campaign, including his promise that America will get better for everyone.
Executive Budget Released
Governor Cuomo released his $152.3 billion State budget proposal this week.
Major proposals in the budget include:
  • Governor Cuomo has reintroduced a proposal that would increase health insurance costs for future state retirees. Under the proposed plan, State contributions to the costs of health insurance premiums for retirees would be reduced for state employees that retiree on or after October 1, 2017. The proposal would create a tiered system of State contributions based on years of service and pay grade. CSEA fought to defeat this proposal last year and will do the same this year.
  • The Governor’s budget ignores the needs of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The proposed budget fails to invest in needed services, including CSEA’s care pilot programs, and puts even more stress on a workforce that already works the most overtime out of any state agency.
  • The budget also continues to reduce services in the Office of Mental Health by calling for the closure of an additional 140 beds across the state. There are currently no details as to where these beds will be taken down.
  • The Governor has proposed a local government consolidation scheme that would require every County Executive or County Manager outside of New York City to prepare a plan for consolidating and eliminating services, which will be put to voters in the November 2017 election. CSEA will continue to oppose the Governor’s attempts to force the consolidation of local government services.
  • Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding for local governments will be held flat, as it has been since 2011-12.
  • The Executive Budget would extend the Millionaire’s Tax for an additional three years, but would raise the income threshold to $2,155,350 from the current $2 million. The proposal would keep in place the “middle class” tax cuts agreed to in the 2016-17 budget.
CSEA President Danny Donohue’s statement on the budget proposal can be read here.

CSEA will be testifying at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Workforce Development on Wednesday, January 25. That testimony, along with an in-depth summary, will be made available on the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website next week. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Depew Dissolution Vote
This week, voters in the Erie County Village of Depew voted against the dissolution of their village by nearly a three to one margin. Similar efforts in the Villages of Medina and Brockport have also been defeated in Western New York in recent years.
Time and again voters have shown that they value the services provided by their local governments and have rejected dissolution and consolidation efforts.
2017 School Property Tax Cap Announced
State Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the property tax cap for school districts will be 1.26% for the next school year. While this is a slight increase from last year, the tax cap continues to hurt the ability of local governments to provide the services that are demanded by the public.

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