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Vote! We Cannot Afford Apathy

By Gayle Lockett

It was heartening to witness a well-attended Labor Day Parade on Sept. 10. Hundreds of CSA retirees and working members marched and rode floats and double decker buses in a show of strength and unity.

The day was hot and humid but that did not diminish the energy, of those who attended. Some members brought their children and other members of the family. It is never too early to teach the next generation about unionism.

The Tottenville High School Band performed magnificently. It brought back fond memories from decades ago when most middle schools and high schools and even some elementary schools had bands, orchestras and glee clubs. Unfortunately, today the performing arts and extracurricular activities are most often cut in education budgets. That brings me to politics.

CSA has stressed how important it is to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton. We know that very little in life is perfect and certainly the two main presidential candidates prove that point. Be aware of what is important in this election for unions. On Sept. 13, many of us voted in the primaries for union-endorsed candidates.

We cannot be apathetic about voting. As former leaders of schools, we analyzed school data, wrote curriculum, worked for central as testers, led workshops or taught college courses. We are certainly capable of analyzing and advocating for who will protect our pensions, Social Security and Medicare benefits. We do not need a candidate who insults various groups, blames unions for any and all problems in education, and has provided neither detailed proposals nor his tax returns.

The Retiree Chapter activities have begun their social and cultural season. Retirees have registered for trips, classes, theater and dining events. Many members attended an informative workshop with speakers covering advance planning, MTA/Access-A-Ride, TRS, elder law and veterans outreach. The session ended with time for Q & A.

Our newest unit, Northern NJ, held its first general meeting in Teaneck, NJ. Rockland, Orange, Bergen County (R.O.B.) held its welcome back meeting at the Nanuet Library. The Brooklyn Unit had theirs at St. Francis College. Our Lower Hudson (Westchester) unit started this year with a welcome back luncheon at the Davenport. The Staten Island unit had a meeting and BBQ afterwards. All were informative social events. I will also be attending the Queens traditional meeting/luncheon on Oct. 18. Remember, you may join more than one regional unit. We welcome and encourage your involvement.

I am also looking forward to seeing you on Nov. 5 at CSA and the Retiree Chapter's General Conference at the Hilton. (For more information see the CSA website.)

This column is reprinted from the October 2016 CSA News.