Donohue, CSEA Leadership Team Returned to Office
Vows to lead workers forward
ALBANY, NY (02/15/2012)(readMedia)-- CSEA President Danny Donohue, one of the most influential and well-respected leaders in the American labor movement, has been returned to office without opposition.
"These are some of the toughest times CSEA has faced in our 102 year history, but there is only one way to go and that is forward," Donohue said. "I want to thank CSEA members for their confidence in my leadership."
CSEA - New York's leading union - is the largest affiliate of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. The union has grown stronger and larger under Donohue's presidency, achieving unprecedented organizing success in the public and private sectors and today boasts a membership 300,000 strong. Donohue's vision led to CSEA recently becoming the representative for more than 25,000 independent child care providers across the state, under a new model of union representation. Donohue also significantly strengthened the union's role and influence in both the AFL-CIO and AFSCME, where he serves with distinction as an International Vice President.
In tough economic times, Donohue continues to fight for fairness for middle-class New Yorkers, while protecting public services and the benefits workers have fought so hard to get. The union's most recent contract with New York state, negotiated in a challenging fiscal environment, kept union members working while protecting their rights and benefits. CSEA negotiates contracts on behalf of members in more than 1,100 bargaining units.
Born in Brooklyn, Donohue began his career in public service as an attendant at Central Islip Psychiatric Center. He burst into CSEA's leadership ranks in 1975 when he won a write-in campaign to become local president there. He became increasingly active in CSEA at region and statewide levels, including becoming Long Island Region President at a very young age.
Donohue was the first Long Islander elected to a CSEA statewide office when he won a five-way race for executive vice president in 1988. In 1994, he became CSEA's 23rd statewide president.
Expanding CSEA's outreach and community presence has been a hallmark of his leadership. Donohue's down to earth personality is his greatest asset, allowing him to connect with both rank and file union members and elected officials.
"There is no force in New York more powerful than CSEA when we work together," Donohue said. "But no CSEA member should take anything for granted. We have to communicate and support each other. There is a responsibility on the part of leaders to provide information, create understanding and build solidarity, but there is also a responsibility on the part of each individual member to stay informed and involved. No one should expect things will just get better unless you are willing to participate.
Also returned to office for four-year terms without opposition were CSEA Executive Vice President Mary E. Sullivan and Statewide Secretary Denise Berkley. Treasurer Joseph McMullen was re-elected.
Sullivan was first elected Executive Vice President of the union in 1994. Sullivan began her professional career as a social worker and staff trainer in the Herkimer County Department of Social Services. She was CSEA's first local government division member to serve in statewide office. Sullivan is an International Vice President of AFSCME. In 2009 she was elected president of the Capital District Area Labor Federation, which represents 120,000 union members and their families across 11 counties in the state's greater Capital Region.
Berkley was first elected CSEA Statewide Secretary in 2008. Berkley's union activism began at the Brooklyn Developmental Center. A longtime union activist, Berkley remains committed today to the ongoing struggle for social, racial and economic justice for workers and communities.
McMullen, who has served as treasurer since 2007, is responsible for overseeing CSEA's budget and ensuring the union's fiscal responsibility. McMullen is a trained electrician who worked at the State University of New York at Oneonta for 30 years.
Lester Crockett, a longtime activist and leader from the New York State Insurance Fund was elected Metropolitan Region president. Crockett filled the position since last fall following the retirement of George Boncoraglio.
Capital Region President Kathy Garrison was re-elected to her fourth term.
Long Island Region President Nick LaMorte, Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo, Central Region President Colleen Wheaton and Western Region President Flo Tripi were all returned to office without opposition.
The election also filled seats on the union's 122 member statewide Board of Directors.