Spring: Nature’s Call to Action
By Saul Fishman
CSBA President
From Local 237 Newswire, Spring 2024

Although I am writing this column just ahead of the March 1st submission deadline, you will likely be reading this article in late March or early April as Spring blossoms around us. Pleasant warmer weather (and some rain) is in the forecast, and daylight now welcomes us for longer after we arrive home from work. Hopefully you receive some measure of pleasure in these seasonal changes!

Spring is traditionally associated with rebirth and renewed energy, and most people I know (myself included) are really looking forward to it.

What does this have to do with our union, the Civil Service Bar Association, and with our employment as attorneys for a New York City agency? Technically nothing, but I’m hoping that as we feel a bit better about ourselves and our immediate surroundings, we ask ourselves how can we help bring about more durable, non-season-dependent career opportunities and a more pleasant working environment?

Friends, a union is pretty much like any group or organization. We belong because we know that together we are stronger, and that when trouble comes around, it’s better to have people committed to mutual assistance.

But let’s not kid ourselves. CSBA is a relatively small union, albeit affiliated with a larger one (Teamsters Local 237). Each year, there is some turnover among our Directors (seven are elected each year for a three-year term; 21 Directors total). Directors aren’t technically shop stewards but we do encourage people from different agencies and locations to seek nomination every May (May 14th this year) to assist us in knowing what’s happening in different shops. It’s a two-way street, and you (and through you, your colleagues) can become among the first to know about agency and citywide changes that may have come to our attention ahead of any announcement.

Not everyone can be a Director, and we realize that many Directors can only devote so much time and effort to work-related issues other than their specific job assignments. Hence there are multiple potential CSBA committees to join for which you do not have to be a CSBA Director. These committee efforts may potentially yield enhanced career advancement or networking opportunities to know about what our colleagues are doing elsewhere or perhaps a social committee to just provide fun socials from time to time.

Separate from CSBA committees, almost every agency has a Labor-Management Health & Safety Committee which meets quarterly on agency time. As CSBA President, I can usually appoint a member from your agency to attend on paid release time. What better way to make sure that we’re in the know about potential hazards and contribute to the ongoing safety of ourselves and our colleagues?

Thanks for reading and caring. For more information and/or to volunteer, please reach out to us via csbainfo@local237.org. Happy Spring!