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Utica Zoo workers vote to unionize

Posted 10/22/22

Workers employed with the Utica Zoo overwhelmingly voted to join the Civil Service Employees Association in a National Labor Relations Board election held on Thursday, Oct. 20.

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Utica Zoo workers vote to unionize

Posted

UTICA — Workers employed with the Utica Zoo overwhelmingly voted to join the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election held on Thursday, Oct. 20.

“We’re happy to have won our election and have the support of the Utica community and its leaders,” said Kallen Muste, an educator with the Utica Zoo. “I’m incredibly proud of the staff here and everything we have accomplished. I’m looking forward to working together with management to get this amazing team what it needs to make the Utica Zoo the best it can be.”

The group of zookeepers, veterinary technicians, education and ambassador animal specialists, buildings and groundskeepers, administrative specialists and gift shop employees came together for a strong voice on the job knowing that a union is the way to get one, they said in an announcement.

It is their hope that they will make the zoo a workplace where more talented zoo workers like themselves will want to come and stay, the announcement added.

Workers with the zoo say turnover rates have been plaguing the zoo for too long.

They say they also want to work on ensuring resources go where they should and not wasted unnecessarily.

“I worked at a unionized zoo in California, and I know the issues we have here require us to work closely with management to solve,” said Garrett Buck, zookeeper with the Utica Zoo. “This win is the beginning of a really exciting future for the Utica Zoo. Our team has worked so hard to bring this union chapter to fruition. I know that we can bring the important changes this zoo needs through our expertise, effort, and solidarity. I hope we can work together with management for swift negotiations and a better Utica Zoo.”

“We are excited that these workers chose to organize with us to form a collective voice to enact positive change at their workplace,” CSEA Central Region President Kenny Greenleaf said.

“The CSEA Central Region welcomes them to our union family. We look forward to helping them secure a great first contract and improve their working conditions,” Greenleaf said.

The group of 26 organized with CSEA to better their working conditions and have a stronger voice on the job. They join a national wave of organizing wins across the country including big recognizable names like Amazon and Starbucks, according to the union announcement..

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