UTICA, NY (10/20/2022) (readMedia)-- Workers employed with the Utica Zoo overwhelmingly voted to join the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election held on Thursday, October 20.

"We're happy to have won our election and have the support of the Utica community and its leaders," Kallen Muste, Educator (B.S. Marine Vertebrate Biology from Stony Brook University) said. "I'm incredibly proud of the staff here and everything we have accomplished. I'm looking forward to working together with management to get this amazing team what it needs to make the Utica Zoo the best it can be."

This dedicated group of Zookeepers, Veterinary Technicians, Education and Ambassador Animal Specialists, Buildings and Groundskeepers, Administrative Specialists and Gift Shop employees came together for a strong voice on the job knowing that a union is the way to get one. It is their hope that they will make the zoo a workplace where more talented zoo workers like themselves will want to come and stay. High turnover rates have been plaguing the zoo for too long. They want to work on ensuring resources go where they should and not wasted unnecessarily.

"I worked at a unionized zoo in California, and I know the issues we have here require us to work closely with management to solve. This win is the beginning of a really exciting future for the Utica Zoo. Our team has worked so hard to bring this union chapter to fruition." said Garrett Buck, Zookeeper (B.S. in Animal Science from Cal. Polytechnic with minors in Wildlife Biology and Spanish). "I know that we can bring the important changes this zoo needs through our expertise, effort, and solidarity. I hope we can work together with management for swift negotiations and a better Utica Zoo."

"We are excited that these workers chose to organize with us to form a collective voice to enact positive change at their workplace," Central Region President Kenny Greenleaf said. "The CSEA Central Region welcomes them to our union family. We look forward to helping them secure a great first contract and improve their working conditions."

The group of 26 organized with CSEA to better their working conditions and have a stronger voice on the job. They join a national wave of organizing wins across the country including big recognizable names like Amazon and Starbucks.

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CSEA is one of New York's largest unions representing employees of New York State and its counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities, and public corporations. Together, with a growing population of private sector members, daycare workers, and 50,000 retirees, CSEA forms a union nearly 300,000 strong. It is also the largest affiliate (Local 1000) of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) which, in turn, is one of the largest affiliates of the AFL- CIO.