President's message

Grateful for the year's successes and looking forward to the new year

Sisters and Brothers,

I can hardly believe it’s that time of year again, but here we are. Leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air, and everyone I know is scrambling to get their gift shopping done. Part of the holiday season is reflecting on the year we’ve had and looking ahead to the new one, and what a year we’ve had! We saw one of CSEA’s most successful legislative sessions ever in 2021, achieving a goal that has remained out of reach for decades, and that is layoff parity with our certificated and administrative colleagues. We also had ideas from CSEA members become law, with merit system election reform and universal transitional kindergarten for every four-year-old in California. I can think of no better example of members achieving our mission of improving the lives of our students, members and communities. We pushed for and achieved historic levels of funding for public education, which include dollars for districts to give staff long-overdue cost of living raises. We held another hugely successful virtual Annual Conference this year, and we held our first in-person statewide event with November’s Super Session. It was great to see so many of your smiling eyes behind masks, and I look forward to gathering safely in person at even more events next year. Speaking of next year: we have been setting goals, making plans and lining up what is set to be another exciting year for CSEA. We will be hosting more in-person events, utilizing the precautions that keep us safe, so that we can most effectively share information and ideas with each other. On that note, I have some very exciting news about Annual Conference next summer: we’re going to Vegas! That’s right, we’ve moved our 2022 Annual Conference to Las Vegas and after two years of conducting it virtually we will finally be able to gather in person again. I hope you are as excited as I am! Our legislative agenda is once again jam-packed with solutions to the issues facing our members and we will certainly have a say in how another record budget surplus will be spent on public schools. In January, we will launch our eagerly anticipated new website, including brand-new sites dedicated for each chapter. Finally, there’s an election next November in which we’ll decide who will lead our state from Congressional, legislative and statewide positions. We’ll also be fighting some very dangerous ballot initiatives, including one that wants to make public-sector unions illegal – unions like CSEA. You can bet you’ll be hearing more about that, and you can also bet that we will flex our strength and unity to fight for lawmakers who support California workers and fight against any attempt to take away our hard-earned rights. I know we will stand strong as the proud union family that we are, but also because public support for unions is the strongest it’s been in half a century. This support for labor is a result of the widening wealth gap we see in this country, where the rich get richer while the middle class shrink and workers’ rights are constantly under attack. The people of this nation stand with us because they know this is not sustainable. They know the only way to restore our middle class and ensure every person has a shot at the American Dream is to level the playing field through organized labor. Read more about the swell of public support for labor in this issue of Focus. I am proud of this public support, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished this year and I’m proud to be a member of this great union. I look forward to seeing you in the new year and all that we’ll accomplish!

In Solidarity,

Matthew "Shane" Dishman, Association President

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