Since CSA’s membership is comprised of current and former public sector educators, government policy decisions – made on the local, state, and national levels - affect the daily lives of CSA members. With more than 6,300 in-service and nearly 9,700 retirees (and their spouses and domestic partners), the job of CSA’s Political Affairs Department is to ensure that their voices are heard.
Organized and strategic political action is crucial in influencing government. Political action is an integral part of unionism. Not only does it reinforce our rights on the job, it provides our members with a powerful and effective means to influence policy at all levels of government.
To that end, CSA’s Political Affairs Department works to educate members about policy issues affecting them; to organize and train members to become part of the political process; to lobby elected officials on legislation important to CSA members; to screen candidates for CSA endorsements; to direct the actions of the CSA Political Action Committee; and to oversee efforts to mobilize members to help elect candidates supportive of CSA issues.
Here are several major components of the Governmental Relations Department’s activities:
Outreach and Education
CSA continuously informs members about the pressing issues at the city, state and federal levels through mass mailings, email blasts, meetings, our website and the CSA News. By educating our members, we can assist them in becoming better advocates for themselves and for their schools.
CSA members are acutely aware that education is the first step towards success in any endeavor. CSA’s Political Affairs Department trains members on various aspects of political action. Political training enables members to advocate for education, schools, and themselves with a powerful and effective voice.
CSA is actively involved through every stage of the legislative process, from introducing and evaluating bills, to testifying on issues, to directly lobbying for legislation. CSA has successfully lobbied for bills in Albany that increased funding for our schools, protected and enhanced retiree health benefits, and protected pensions for public employees.
CSA endorses local, state, and federal candidates who have supported the union’s positions on education and labor issues. When CSA endorses a candidate, the union follows through with letter-writing and phone bank campaigns. The union also arranges for members to volunteer to work with candidates.
CSA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) helps ensure that the union’s voice is heard on the issues: jobs, working conditions, health benefits and pensions. PAC funds make it possible for CSA to support candidates for public office who value education and support CSA’s members.
From our annual Lobby Day in Albany to knocking on doors for campaigns in Brooklyn, CSA is dedicated to facilitating opportunities for members to be politically active.
Alithia L. Rodriguez-Rolon
State Director, Governmental Affairs
Assistant Director Political Affairs
Legislative Liaison, Retiree Chapter