CSEA's 90th Annual Conference

Annual Conference

Members energized and motivated at 90th Annual Conference



More than 1,400 delegates represented their local chapters at CSEA’s 90th Annual Conference, Aug. 1-4 in San Jose. After four days of resolutions, budgets, recognitions and rousing speeches, they emerged energized and motivated to take on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

Getting down to business

Delegates worked efficiently and effectively to vote on resolutions that will set the future course and goals of the union. They reviewed the Association’s income and expenditures for the upcoming year carefully, asked questions, and voted to approve a balanced budget. They heard about how their association has grown and become stronger during the last year because of members’ efforts during President Ben Valdepeña’s State of the Union.

“When we closed our books for fiscal year 2015-16 on May 31, our membership was 229,903,” Valdepeña said. “That’s less than 100 short of 230,000 members. This is nearly 4,000 members more than our highest point ever back in 2008. Brothers and sisters, we’re just barely two months into the new fiscal year and we have surpassed 230,000 members. At a time when the union movement itself is not growing, I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

In their reports, Executive Director Dave Low, Assistant Governmental Relations Director Jai Sookprasert and Director of Field Operations Keith Pace congratulated chapters for their outstanding work during the last year converting service fee payers. They reminded delegates about the significance of electing pro-labor candidates in November and stressed the importance of working to ensure the passage of Proposition 55, the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act.

“Proposition 55 is the highest priority this year to ensure that the very wealthy continue to pay the same level of taxes so that schools and colleges don’t have to face $4 billion in future years,” Sookprasert said.

Delegates also heard a report by CSEA Past President and CalPERS President Rob Feckner, who told them that the pension fund is focused on maintaining stability for years to come.

“The bottom line is that markets are volatile, always have been and always will be,” he said. “We remain focused on the long-term success of the fund.”

Speakers deliver motivation

Besides working to move their Association forward, the delegates were treated to a host of speakers, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, Centralia School District Superintendent Norma Martinez and Burbank Unified School District Board Member Steven Ferguson.

“You are the people that saved me from a very dark time in my life and you are the people who inspired me to work to improve the lives of others,” Ferguson said. “Although you may not be seen on a daily basis and there are people that see right through you, I see you because you saw me.”

Honors and Recognitions

One of the focal points of CSEA’s Conference each year is the recognition of the extraordinary individuals who provide exceptional service to California’s students and the Association. This year, each of the five 2016 Members of the Year had their moment to shine. CSEA also honored long-time activists with Life Member and Honor Roll membership, and praised this year’s top humanitarians and activist with the William P. Schwartz Humanitarian of the Year and the Richard C. Bartlett Activist of the Year awards.

Gaining knowledge to provide better service

Another central component of Conference is what members can learn to provide better service to students, improve their chapters and live better. This year, delegates could choose to attend a broad array of informative forums, symposiums and seminars. Education Days gave them a chance to learn many things, including the ins and outs of CalPERS benefits, how to keep students safe and how to communicate the value of their work.

Renewed energy for continued activism

For many delegates, they return to their chapters with valuable information about how their union works and sense of solidarity. They also bring back replenished motivation to keep fighting for education and for working families.

“It’s not just your members that you are fighting for,” Newsom told delegates. “You’re fighting for folks that will never join a union and that count on you.”


Sunday, July 31

Sunday News/Photos:

CSEA delegates flock to San Jose ahead of 90th Annual Conference


CSEA’s 90th Annual Conference began at the union’s San Jose’s headquarters Sunday as hundreds of delegates registered, caught up with one another and took tours of the headquarters building...More


Monday, Aug 1

Monday News/Photos:

Speakers inspire delegates to action during first business day of 90th Annual Conference


The first business meeting of the CSEA’s 90th Annual Conference kicked off on
Monday with opening ceremonies and dynamic speakers who motivated delegates to work to make their union stronger and to improve education in California for future generations...More


Tuesday, Aug 2

Tuesday News/Photos:

Second business day of 90th Annual Conference devoted to resolutions, speakers and honors


Delegates voted on resolutions that will set the direction of the union, listened to moving and informative speakers, and honored outstanding members on Tuesday at the 90th Annual Conference...More


Wednesday, Aug 3

Wednesday News/Photos:

Legislative Session, approval of budgets and top honors highlight Wednesday’s session


Delegates were moved to action during the Legislative Session, approved the Association’s budgets for the upcoming year and honored it’s most notable members by naming them to the Honor Roll and as Life Members during the third day of the 90th Annual Conference...More


Thursday, Aug 4

Thursday News/Photos:

CSEA spotlights member and chapter contributions on last day of conference

Members and chapters that have worked to make the association stronger were the focus on the final day of the 90th Annual Conference...More


Ben Valdepena

State of the Union:

Association president sets direction for upcoming year in state of the union speech

CSEA President Ben Valdepeña highlighted the Association’s accomplishments during the last year and spoke of the upcoming goals and challenges during his state of the union address on Monday...More


New Delegates

New Delegates:

Conference newbies excited to attend, ready to learn

More than 330 delegates representing CSEA chapters across the state are attending CSEA’s annual conference for the first time. The New Delegates were greeted by Conference Committee Chair Roy Hartnell and Association Ben Valdepeña...More


Education Days

Education Days:

Conference offers valuable training to delegates

Delegates who attend conference not only get to listen to distinguished speakers and decide the direction of the Association for the upcoming year, they also get to participate in valuable seminars to learn about how to better serve their students and their chapters....More