Speech | Quality Education

Shuler: CSEA Makes the Difference for California's Students

Hello, California School Employees Association! 
I’m Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO. It’s good to be with you, even if it’s by video. 
Thank you so much to Shane Dishman for your leadership and for being such a great partner at all levels of the federation, and I want to wish Clyde Rivers a happy retirement—thank you Clyde, for 20 years of service on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. 
CSEA members. I want you to hear this: Thank you. 
You may often feel like the unsung and overlooked heroes in our public schools and community colleges.
But the work you’ve done and continue to do throughout the pandemic has a ripple effect and affects so many lives.
The difference you make for students today is what they’re going to remember decades from now. 
How bus drivers delivered meals and provided hotspots in communities where the internet wasn’t easy to reach. 
Determined not to lose a generation of learners—that librarians took their services on the road—mobile libraries kept students and families engaged in reading.
And where there was no infrastructure, CSEA members innovated it. 
IT staff loaded, sanitized and distributed chrome books to students. 
One IT team even put up a 20 foot tower for internet access. 
That is exactly what we want every person in this country to see. 
Our labor movement is bold, dynamic and we use our collective power—to lift up each other and the communities where we work.
And we want everyone to see and know the union difference. 
CSEA members bring perspectives from different backgrounds and generations. That diversity is a strength. 
And by working together—committing to union and volunteer work—side by side, members and staff are successfully raising worker voices for fair wages, retirement security, respect and progress for racial justice and gender equity. 
As an independent union, member voice and vote directly drives your priorities. 
And after decades of fighting for it, you won legislation that creates layoff parity. 
Your passion for your work and your union make life better for students, families, and every working person in this country. 
And you are part of a movement that is looking toward the future—keeping pace with change—and being bold to meet the moment. 
Together, with our 57 unions with 12.5 million people in the AFL-CIO, working in jobs all across the economy, we are the most powerful force for progress for all working people in this country. 
Keep fighting forward, CSEA—I can’t wait to see where we go from here. Thank you!

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