Joyce Leogrande John Scott Cheryl Joyner Tom Welch Omar Tyson Edward Daly Katie Clayton Karen Pineman Mark Lucey Marilyn Tyszka Lester Shapiro John Quinn Patrice Peterson Don Gladding
Senior Adjudicator - Joyce Leogrande
Thinking about leaving Connecticut behind? Make sure you have someone here still protecting you!
When Joyce moved to Massachusetts in 2009 after retiring from Connecticut’s Department on Disability Services there was no question that she would need CSEA Council 400 here in Hartford—after all without a vote in Connecticut who else was going to protect the hard earned benefits that she relies on?
Joyce worked as a Senior Adjudicator for DDS since 1999, after being hired following nearly a year of hiring freezes. Joyce wasn’t dissuaded though, she relentlessly contacted DDS (little did she know she was actually leaving messages for the Commissioner!) and her persistence paid off.
At any time Joyce could be assigned 200-250 different cases to monitor and eventually progress through the protocols. She had to work with a multitude of moving parts including evaluation, vocational analysis and medical documentation.
If you ever saw Joyce in her element there was no question that she belonged there. She understood the importance of her job. She understood that the people assigned to her were there because they were unable to help themselves and were relying on her to provide a helping hand. She was an extremely diligent worker who fought hard for those she represented. If a case called for her to contact her client’s doctors, she would stay on hold for hours.
In Joyce’s words, “That was the only way to make the work meaningful—to put my all behind it”.
After moving to Massachusetts, she immediately looked for a local CSEA Council 400 chapter to join, and just last year she became President of Chapter 441 in Cape Cod. She maintain involvement because Council 400 affords her a sense of security, that if anything was to affect her benefits, CSEA would be right there fighting on behalf of the retirees—whether they live in Connecticut or elsewhere!
Former Survey Crew Member- John Scott
John started at the Connecticut Highway Department on January 13th, 1956 (on a Friday to start a pay period!) where he served at the New Milford Highway Department as a member of the Survey Crew.
He joined the CHD after the historic 1955 floods in CT that wiped out parts of Torrington, Danbury and beyond. The State was desperately trying to hire new personnel to deal with the mess and this member found himself being swept up right out of high school.
Being so young, John started at the bottom and worked his way up, taking on more and more responsibilities. He held numerous jobs in the CHD before his retirement in February of 1992, but ironically enough started and ended his engineering career as a Survey Part Chief.
John joined CSEA Chapter 15 in 1956, following the lead of his older peers since he was just a kid at the time—but says it was the best decision he could have made for his career.
Now, he’s a proud member of Council 400’s Chapter 402 in the Danbury area and can always been seen at our monthly Delegates Meeting.
When John retired in 1992 and his first instinct was to join Council 400 where he began attending Chapter 402 meetings in Danbury so he could stay current with threats to his earned benefits. As he got older (and wiser!) he became more involved in politics, realizing how important holding our politicians accountable is. From his involvement in the New Fairfield DTC and local and state races, John is a force to be reckoned with!
Childcare Provider - Cheryl Joyner
CSEA represents home-based family childcare providers who give parents peace of mind knowing their children are well cared for while they are at work. Cheryl Joyner, of Hamden, is one of these dedicated childcare providers.
When her grandson fell ill to sickle cell anemia, Cheryl didn’t give a second thought to quitting her full-time job to care for him. As Cheryl says, “No one can take care of him like I can” and she’s right.
Cheryl has been a member of CSEA since 2013 and has since served as the Secretary of the Child Care Council. In 2016 when the Childcare Subsidy Program was closed, she worked tirelessly alongside other CSEA members to ensure it reopened by letting her Representatives know how vital the program is to working families in Connecticut.
Cheryl is #UnionYes because “many voices are much louder than one when we need to be heard.” Are you ready to join with our voices? Message our page to learn more!
CSEA member, Cheryl Joyner is pictured here with her grandson.
State School Instructor- Tom Welch
Tom started working for the state on May 13, 1983 at the Mansfield Training School for the Department Developmental Services as a State School Instructor. One month later he was a proud CSEA member—and he’s remained ever since.
As an active member he worked alongside Patrice Peterson in the P3B Council as Vice President until 2009 when he retired. Tom was also an extraordinary Chief Steward for the Eastern Region—constantly on the ground listening to members and resolving issues as they arose.
Back then and now, Tom has been a constant presence—both in the union hall and throughout Connecticut. He’s always the first person to offer a hand to anyone in need and is never afraid to get his own hands dirty to help the greater good. Most of CSEA has had the pleasure of meeting him at some point—including many new recruits who are brought into our CSEA family through his warm smile, infectious laughter and willingness to lend a hand.
Tom has been an integral part of CSEA since the day he joined over 35 years ago—between his role as Chief Steward and Vice President for the P3B Council and his role as Membership Co-Chair for Council 400, Tom is always helping out!
There are always threats of layoffs and benefits cuts and for that reason Tom has worked hard for the union—not only for himself and his colleagues but for the rest of Connecticut’s working class. Tom understands that when standards are raised for union workers, standards across the board are raised and for that reason you’ll find him at every meeting and every rally, fighting for worker’s rights.
Sanitary Engineer 2 - Omar Tyson
The main responsibility of Sanitary Engineers is the inspection, regulation and enforcement of Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) which can be found under most every police station, school and hospital, in addition to common gas stations and auto repair shops. USTs are structures placed underground to store gasoline, diesel, heating oil, kerosene or waste oil—products we must keep from being released into the ground and contaminating the environment.
Before being promoted to Sanitary Engineer II, Omar was responsible for unannounced visits to UST facilities across the state, to assure that the owners and operators of these tank systems were following the regulations in place. He regulated the installation, performance, use, delivery and removal of these UST systems and ensured that owners and operators completed their daily Inventory Reconciliations—a crucial way to quickly detect inventory discrepancies and a possible loss of product.
These regulations are important for the overall well-being of our state, especially since Connecticut is built on so much bedrock—historically difficult to recover free product and clean up after a toxic release. In addition, there are approximately 6,000 farms and roughly 1/3 of all CT citizens are currently utilizing wells as their primary source of water. Omar can remember one case in particular where a gas station’s owner and operators were egregiously non-compliant, resulting in over 3,000 gallons of gasoline being released into the local community. Because Daily Inventory Reconciliations were not being performed, compounded by the improper decommissioning of a pipe that manifolds two tanks, weeks went by before the owner realized there may be a problem. Members of the UST Enforcement team performed an inspection and determined that the site was in noncompliance for failing to perform proper release detection. Further investigation, which included comparison of sales receipt data and recent product delivery amounts, confirmed that a release had occurred. Had the owner been reconciling the inventory daily as required, the release would have been detected and reported much sooner, resulting in an immediate response and a significant reduction of the impact to the environment.
As a Sanitary Engineer II, Omar is one of the primary administrators of enforcement. Therefore, when inspectors report sites that were found to be in violation of UST regulations, in many cases, Omar brings actions against those bad actors. These actions can come in many different forms, depending on the length, severity, and overall risk to human health and the environment. While most are resolved with Consent Orders, which are almost always accompanied by a significant civil penalty, some require the Attorney General’s involvement and others are forwarded as criminal referrals.
If it wasn’t for state employees, like Omar, Connecticut’s environment would be in a dangerous predicament. Nationally, USTs were previously the largest source of underground contamination of ground water and wells until Sanitary Engineers like Omar stepped up.
Retired Assistant Director of Land Acquisition (DEEP) - Edward Daly
While some of our newer members might not remember what Connecticut was like before state employees could bargain collectively, Ed sure does. He worked hard to get pro-labor candidates elected to better the political environment for working families. One of his biggest accomplishments was his work to elect Governor Ella Grassa who would go on to give state employees the right to form a union.
While many of you may know Ed as President of Council 400, or previous President of CSEA, Ed has served CSEA, Connecticut and our country in many, many more ways.
A Korean Conflict Veteran, Ed served from 1953 until 1955 where he then went on to study Animal Science at UCONN. After moving his family to Vernon in 1969, Ed’s passion for civic engagement began to show. He became involved in both Governor Ribicoff and Dempsey’s election efforts and served as Representative Chet Morgan’s Treasurer during his re-election bid as well as managed several mayoral races. He eventually rose to become the Vernon Democratic Town Committee Chair from 2001-2003 where he helped bring a democratic majority back to the Town’s Council.
In his professional life, Ed worked for the State in several different facets—from a Dairy Inspector at the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to a Land Agent and Assistant Director of Land Acquisitions in the Department of Environmental Protection, of which he is a founding employee.
He was also instrumental in creating the Open Space Program which helps direct Federal grants to cities and towns and establishing the Tidal Wetland Program to regulate our vulnerable salt marshes.
But that is not all. All the while Ed was also passionately fighting for state employee’s right to bargain collectively, eventually joining other members to create CSEA. In 1986 he was elected CSEA President until his retirement in 1992 where he has since served as Council 400’s President.
As a union leader, veteran, and public servant Ed has worked tirelessly to protect and support his fellow state workers and Connecticut has been better for it. Thank you Ed for your 60+ years of activism, CSEA wouldn’t exist without your efforts.
Environmental Analyst 2 - Katie Clayton
During the summer you’ll find Katie in Old Lyme and Milford working as a Field Operations Manager for the Long Island Sound Water Quality Program. As an Environmental Analyst 2, Katie’s job is to monitor the nutrient and dissolved O2 content for the Sound to protect its’ aquatic life, a vital resource for local residents and businesses.
In addition to being a CSEA member for over 13 years, Katie has also served as the Chapter 24 Secretary for the past 6 years. Coming from a strong union family, she’s #UnionYes because of what unions enable the working class to better themselves and their families. Unions are the reason we have paid vacations, sick time, wage increases, health insurance, pensions and so much more. She wants to maintain those benefits and work towards new ones for her and the rest of the working families in CT.
Karen was the main plaintiff in the 2nd District Circuit Court of Appeals case, Karen Pineman et al. v. William G. Oechslin et al.
Despite the nerves associated with testifying in a court of law, Karen stood proud as she delivered her testimony eloquently stating the reduction of benefits that she and her female colleagues would endure if the 1975 amendment to the State Employees Retirement Act was upheld. This reduction in benefits would have resulted from the shortened length of time benefits were received or the annual amount received being less.
Fortunately, with CSEA in her corner, Karen and the others were able to prove unconstitutionality and a permanent injunction was issued, “requiring the defendants to administer the State Employees Retirement Act in a manner which respects the plaintiffs’ contractual rights”.
Retired Correctional Lieutenant - Mark Lucey
Mark spent most of his 21 years as a Correctional Lieutenant at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield, however he also worked at the Hartford Correctional Center and UCONN Health Center (CT DOC Medical Ward) in Farmington.
Mark was a main player in the formation of the Correction Supervisors Council here at CSEA, serving as the Executive Vice President from 2003-2011. Working with former CSC and CSEA President and now current CT State Senator Cathy Osten, they understood the unique challenges poised to employees working in a dangerous, high-stress environment and advocated to make the situation better for their peers.
Mark is #UnionYes because he believes in the power of collective bargaining. Before Correction Supervisors unionized, they were often the highest ranked officers on the floor with the most responsibility, yet being paid the lowest salary. In addition to poor pay and a dangerous work environment, employees were also mandated to do OT without pay if they had already capped out at their pay scale. After years and years of unacceptable conditions, Mark and his colleagues unionized under CSEA and won the right to bargain collectively—greatly improving pay and conditions for Correction Supervisors across the state.
Council 400 has been lucky to have her involved in two of our chapters—Chapter 410 in Windsor Locks and Chapter 418 for the 4C’s Community College Retirees!
Chapter 418 started in 2005 when Retirees from CT’s Community Colleges became interested in forming a group to share experiences, cultivate a strong voice and continue their life-long passion of education. Since the 4C’s is a SEIU affiliate, CSEA Council 400 was a natural fit.
After retirement Marilyn decided to join CSEA because she felt that it was important for retirees like her to remain active for their own causes, like protecting earned benefits, but also active employee causes.
Marilyn is an engaged member and many recognize her for her work on the Legislative Action Committee, though she is never one for the spotlight! She’s always willing to lend a helping hand and step up when she’s needed and we are very grateful to have her as a part of the CSEA family.
Before starting his state service in 1976, Lester served in the US Army from 1949-1952 when he discharged to begin school at the University of Maine in 1956.
Upon graduation, he moved to Portland where he became a High School History teacher and met the love of his life who he is still happily married to (I guess the movie they saw on their first date was pretty great!)
After moving to Connecticut, he began working at the tolls in Madison and Montville—the start to his long career at DOT. He later became the Clerk for the Office of Right of Way, then Assistant Property Agent and eventually was promoted to Property Agent before his retirement in 1992.
Lester is an instrumental member of Council 400 and never fails to attend a Delegate’s meeting up here in Hartford (despite the drive from the shore!)
He’s been a union member for over 40 years and remembers when his coworkers and he finally gained the right to negotiate collectively—finally making his voice heard to management after years of dangerous and unfair labor practices.
Lester understands that benefits require in-depth and assertive negotiations in order to protect and extend them throughout retirement. So when Lester went to retire there was no question—he decided to join CSEA Council 400 so that his voice would continue to be heard.
Retired Corrections Officer- John Quinn
We dug back in our CSEA Time Capsule all the way to the Vietnam era, where this week’s #ThenVsNow member served in the U.S. Army from 1969 through 1975, stationed in Korea, north of the 38th parallel.
After serving his country, John came back to Connecticut where he was a Corrections Officer for 20 years at both the Bridgeport Prison and the Cheshire Complex until 1996, when he then went back to serve in the Army Reserves stateside where he earned the rank of Sargent First Class.
John is not only the proud President of Chapter 404 out of Waterbury, but also the Treasurer for the entire Council 400. We are very lucky to have him in those two roles, but he does so much more!
John is always willing to step up and help in whatever capacity we need. When we started our Phone Banking Program, John had never done anything like it before. That didn’t stop him from jumping in though—you can see him here on the phone recruiting a recent retiree to join CSEA. Thank you John for all that you do!
NOW…Some of you may recognize Patrice from Chapter 401 meetings, others might remember her as CSEA President, and still others might know her from SEIU Union Forever Meetings—needless to say retirement did not slow Patrice down!
Don started out his state service back in 1968 as an Engineering Technician where he was promoted three (3!) times before retiring in 2003 as a Transportation Engineer. Most of his time was spent at DOT District 1; however he spent a few years working with the District 2 construction teams.
Working for DOT, Don was charged with supervising contractual projects to ensure that quality work was being performed at the price-point the State had agreed on. This was a crucial job for the financial well-being of Connecticut because when a company was contracted for work in CT, there was a possibility of those contracted companies cutting corners to increase their own profits. Poor quality workmanship and substandard materials, however, would result in the state having to eventually redo the work sooner than expected –leaving the taxpayers to foot an even larger bill in the long run.
This isn’t even to mention the safety concerns connected with poor workmanship or substandard materials in the bridges we drive over and the cables and equipment we drive under—one failure could result in the loss of life.
CSEA was lucky to have Don has an active member for over 30 years, and now CSEA Council 400 is lucky to have his talents and passion to help guide our mission. Don is the President of Chapter 412 out of Putnam, but also works as the Chairman of the McCusker Scholarship Fund.