Union Member’s Role In Organizing Campaign ‘Fuels Her Activism’ - CSEA Schenectady City School District Clerical Unit President Beverly Judge Healey: “You ‘Have To Have A Thick Skin And A Passion For Helping People And To Do That Every Day!’”
(SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK) - For Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Schenectady City School District Clerical Unit President Beverly Judge Healey, the experience of helping Workers join a Union provided a new perspective on Unionism that fuels her activism today.
Healey played a key role in a seven-month Organizing Drive for 65 Food Service Workers across 17 schools in Schenectady County.
The private sector group, employed by Sodexo, ratified their first contract earlier this year.
For her efforts, Healey is the recipient of the 2020 CSEA Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing.
Healey recalled the early days of the campaign: “I ‘knew they were interested in organizing, ‘so I would reach out and talk to people ‘and they got to know me.’ ‘Over time, things got more comfortable and I was able to build trust until they were ready to move forward.’”
In those ongoing conversations, Healey helped workers understand the value of a Union.
Working alongside CSEA Staff Organizers throughout the campaign, Healey gained valuable experience and perspective: “You ‘have to have a thick skin and a passion for helping people and to do that every day!’ ‘I was very impressed’ with CSEA Organizing Staff.”
In the week leading to the election, Healey enlisted the support of School Staff in multiple locations, from different Unions and Bargaining Units.
They all came together in a show of solidarity and support for the Food Service Workers by wearing stickers that read: “CSEA Stands With Sodexo Workers!”
Reflecting further on the role of an Organizer, Healey feels she has an advantage that Organizers don’t usually get: “They ‘have to leave and move on to other campaigns.’ ‘I get to stay and I get to see these people who have become friends.’ ‘It is truly powerful to see the results of organizing and how it can uplift a group, giving them power and a voice on the job.’”
CSEA Statewide Organizer Shane Quandt credits Healey’s work throughout the campaign, but also her ongoing efforts: “Beverly ‘really represents Unionism and CSEA values to the fullest.’ She is ‘selfless in her role as a Union Leader and as mentor to this group of Workers.’”
Healey has been serving in an officer role for 12 years. She first served as Vice President of the Unit that also includes Nurses and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs), and, for the last six years, as President.
She also serves as Vice President of CSEA’s Schenectady School Districts, Municipalities and Towns Local, Co-Chair of the CSEA Capital Region Local Government/School District Committee and as a Capital Region Representative to CSEA’s Statewide Schools Committee.
“I ‘always take time’ during Union meetings ‘to share items from Labor History because I think it’s important for people to understand why we have Unions, why they are necessary and that the value of Civil Rights and Workers’ Rights go hand in hand,’” Healey said.
“I am ‘very humbled’ by this award,” Healey said. “There are ‘so many Labor Activists I admire and to be placed among them is a true honor.’”
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