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A message from Central Region President Ken Greenleaf

October 2021 Annual Delegates Meeting President’s Report

My CSEA Brothers and Sisters,

As 2021 began, it seemed as if we were nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as vaccines started to roll out. But as the summer wound down, it felt as if we took a few steps in the wrong direction with the rise of the Delta variant. It is vital that in the midst of this continued pandemic that we keep our great union moving forward.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I cannot wait for a time when we are rid of this virus completely. But that’s going to take getting everyone vaccinated so we can return to our normal lives and union functions. The importance of getting the vaccine cannot be understated.

Due to the rise of the Delta variant, Region 5 had to make the difficult decision to withdraw our participation from Labor Day parades and our annual union booth at the New York State Fair. Although this event is always a great opportunity to talk to members and inform the public about the important work our members do each day, nothing should come before anyone’s health and safety.

I’d like to thank each and every member that signed up to volunteer at our booth. Your active participation in union events like these is why Region 5 continues to be successful.

Speaking of union events, we also made the decision to cancel our Fall Conference again. We were looking forward to this event so we could gather all of our new and returning officers for some important training classes. A lot of those classes will now be held virtually, but it’s important, particularly for our new officers, to be armed with the information to effectively represent our membership to the best of their ability.

It reminds me of the saying, “Give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach them to fish and they eat for a lifetime.” If we give everyone the tools, and empower our leaders and membership, everyone will prosper and we’ll be able to move Region 5 and our union forward in the right direction.

In a continued effort to reach the membership, we are still holding a number of drive-thru information day events across the region. This method has proved to be an effective and efficient way to reach our members throughout COVID-19. We have also utilized our activists to help us make wellness calls to members in different areas across the Region. I think that even post-pandemic these methods can continue to be effective. Even if we’re able to reach just one member, we’re making a difference.

Reaching the membership is arguably one of the most important things we must continue to do. Whether it’s our seasoned members and activists that have heard from us for years or if it’s newly hired employees in our bargaining units, we need to ensure they all know the union is here fighting for them. While we might not win every battle, we’re fighting every single one.

I’d like to highlight the efforts of our Oswego County White Collar Unit. In an effort to reach their membership, they piloted a non-member outreach program where officers spent time reaching out to employees in their bargaining unit that were not signed up as CSEA members. In a lot of cases, they weren’t members simply because they hadn’t been approached by the union yet.

It’s important that we reach these new hires as soon as possible and express to them the importance of having union protections and all the great benefits that come with being a CSEA member. If we don’t keep our numbers strong and stay united, we lose some of our union power that we’ve worked for years to grow.

Our members across the state have helped make sure we keep moving forward throughout one of the wettest summers we’ve seen in a long time. A lot of people and areas across the state have seen some disastrous flooding due to rain, tropical storms, and the remnants of a hurricane. It’s a reminder of just how important public work is.

Also moving the state forward will be our newly sworn-in Governor, Kathy Hochul. I had the pleasure of meeting Governor Hochul at the New York State Fairgrounds where she helped unveil a memorial for our fallen DOT workers. We wish her the best and hope to see some positive change and growth.

We look forward to beginning negotiations to secure our state members a fair contract. Our state employees have made their voices heard by filling out contact negotiation surveys and speaking with our contract negotiations team at various meetings across the region. We wish our negotiating team good luck and we look forward to seeing a fair contact for our hard-working members that keep this state moving.

Regardless of the role that we each have in this organization, I’d like to remind everyone that we are all an essential part of CSEA.

As an organization, we must continually be evaluating and adapting. The biggest mistake we could make is being complacent. There is always room for growth and improvement. That’s a big reason why we join together once a year at our Annual Delegates Meeting to renew our union spirit and enhance our skills and knowledge to keep moving our great union forward.

In Unity,

Kenny Greenleaf, President
CSEA Central Region 5

Region 5 Officers Email Contacts:

Executive VP Chantalise DeMarco … 

1st VP Betty Jo Johnson …

2nd VP Tim Backus …

3rd VP Catrina Leone …

Secretary Michelle Martin …

Treasurer Amy Simmons …