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Meet the Organizing Committee!

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith

Hi, my name is Andrew Smith, I have been at CSD for a little over a year and started working from home in February. I wanted to get involved with the union because I began to see not only how frustrated I was feeling but also how other people are feeling too. I believe that in a place where we spend as much as 40 hours a week and has so much impact on our lives, that we deserve and have a right to a voice and what happens. I believe we can make working conditions better in so many ways, by bringing balance and transparency to CSD as a company. I believe strongly that not only will this benefit us all as workers but will also help CSD to become a better company and benefit our callers too.

 

Hiroo Kajita professional headshot
Hiroo Kajita

I’ve been with CSD for approximately 3 ½ years now, and have been working from home for almost 2 years. I was initially skeptical of the union myself (just like some of you maybe), but I realized that we won’t be financially supported by management without coming together and demanding change. If we are providing essential services to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing communities, it makes no sense to be paid $14/hour without affordable healthcare benefits.
Josh Gubbins selfie in a black shirt.
Josh Gubbins

I have been with CSD since August of last year in 2021. The main reason why I want to unionize is because I want to create a better work experience for myself and others with higher wages and better benefits.
A portrait of Katelyn Evans. She is wearing an embroidered white shirt.
Katelyn Evans

I’ve been with CSD for one year, I work in-center as both a relay agent and as the Assistant Trainer. I’ve been involved with the Deaf community since I started learning ASL in tenth grade, and my bachelor’s degree is in ASL Interpreting. I became motivated to join the CSD union process after getting involved with training and seeing how high-skilled our labor truly is and how frustrating it is to get what we need from the corporate level. I was previously a member of the Syracuse Teachers Association union when I worked for the Syracuse City schools, so I know how impactful unions can be in the workplace and I am excited to see what we can accomplish here in improving our compensation and workplace environment!

 

A portrait of Keesha Wright. She is smiling and wearing a white shirt.
Keesha Wright

The reason why I feel like I want a union is first and foremost better wages, also the perks and rewards that we used to receive is all now being taken away from us.

 

A portrait of Mac Carden. He is smiling in a plaid shirt in front of a lake.
Mac Carden
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I’ve worked for CSD for two and a half years now, in-center the whole time. The first time that it occurred to me that we needed to unionize was when covid started, and despite the fact that we were working in a crowded center and we kept hearing about how essential we are, we were given almost no additional pay or support. It took a couple more years of disrespect from management, including an incident where I walked in on a supervisor laughing about my partner getting fired before I decided I had to talk to my friends and coworkers to make it happen. I know that my time is worth more than $14 an hour, and I’m unionizing with my coworkers to win the wage and respect that we deserve.

 

A portrait of Natalie Hoeck. She is smiling and has dark lipstick.
Nat Hoeck 

I have been employed with CSD since June of 2019 and have worked full time in center. Within a short time, I was quickly involved in training with being Assistant Trainer and conducting some training days independently. This started the insight of instances that provide a multitude of reasons to unionize. Though I was assigned this on a “as needed” basis, the actual position had been removed prior and I did not receive compensation for this work aside from verbal praise. The company expected our TRS Trainer to shoulder all their responsibilities outside of training, while conducting the training class simultaneously and completing these tasks in a timely manner. I stepped down to step up to Team Lead where I would be “properly” compensated for taking on a much larger workload. With this new higher position, I was able to witness more unfair treatment, wage discrepancies compared to length of employment, Team Lead perks being revoked, and the numerous policy changes that only serve to penalize employees. Creating our union can raise employee satisfaction by giving us a voice in the workplace.

 

A portrait of Paula Russo. She has her hair down and is smiling.
Paula Russo 

Hi, my name is Paula Russo. I have been employed by CSD for 24 years now. I have been working from home since July 2020, which has been my biggest blessing. I recently decided that it would be beneficial to me by joining this union process because I have dedicated almost half of my life to relay and I am definitely feeling quite honestly, defeated. The last few years there have been a lot of changes, which are upsetting. As a long term employee I've been capped for as long as I can remember and new hires are at a point where they are starting off at almost what I make. That doesn't sit well with me or make me feel appreciated in the least bit. Pretty much everything that I loved about this job seems to have been taken away to " fit company standards ". I'm fiercely protective over my family and the ones I love, so it only felt right to be apart of trying to change the things we deserve, as a team.

 

A portrait of Patricia Rewick. She is smiling and wearing black square glasses.
Patricia Rewick

Hi everyone I have been with CSD since technically 2018 where I started as a temp working through with a temp agency who partnered with CSD. I was hired in 2019 through CSD and have had half my time working as an in center agent and then transitioning to a work from home agent. I joined the union because I am hoping for effort and positive changes in the workplace that can motivate change and collaborate with one another to work towards a common goal of addressing these discrepancies and building upon that unity.

 

The CWA-CSD Workers United logo. Shows two hands, one African American and one white, signing the American Sign Language word for "communication".
Linda Martin 

I think a union is necessary at CSD. Number one reason is wages…we are grossly underpaid for the skills and professionalism they expect from the operators. Second, there is no path to address employee concerns…it seems to be each person fighting it out on their own.
Scott St. John wearing a blue plaid shirt.

Hello everyone! My name is Scott St. John. I was first employed at CSD as a Communication Assistant in January of 2015. I worked my way up to a Team Lead and was employed for six years before I pursued other opportunities. I recently came back part time at CSD in April and noticed there had been some changes that were not very positive. Things such as low pay, no pay increases, capping employees off, taking away privileges that were unique to this job.

I joined the Organization Committee for CWA as a way for our voices to be heard, that these changes
are not acceptable, and we are tired of sitting down and ‘Just Taking It’.

I believe we are an integral part of the Deaf Community as Essential Workers and deserve better!