PEF Region 9 Coordinator – Vivian Street
Since January 2010, Vivian Street has made a difference in PEF Region 9 by reaching out, engaging and unifying members.
It has been a challenge as the 4,100 members are spread across seven counties; Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. Most of the PEF members work either at one of the 14 prisons, or Helen Hayes Hospital, Rockland and Mid-Hudson Psychiatric centers, two state Office of Children and Family Services centers, or a few administrative offices.
“The geographic range in area has made it necessary to hold regional meetings in each county,” Street said.
“It can be difficult to reach every member because they work different shifts and there are restrictions associated with institution work such as contact by cell phone. But I have recently met with specific titles at agencies such as doctors and dentists who work at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“My goal is to introduce the younger and newer PEF members to the value of unionism, and its prominent role in their working lives. Activism is the way to secure benefits, help earn better contracts and secure jobs.”
Street plans to engage members by focusing on the upcoming legislative budget, highlighting PEF’s priorities, and working closely with PEF’s Organizing Department.
“I also am seeking support from our seasoned activists and new volunteers. We have a huge number of elected lawmakers in all our counties, and in order to get the union message delivered, Region 9 must strengthen its Political Action Committees and other committees in each county,” Street said.
Since Street was elected to the position, stepping in for Neila Cardus when she became ill, Region 9 has hosted legislative receptions and has held annual leadership training conferences. But Street said the most effective strides have come from visiting the lawmakers in their home offices.
“I hope to put more political punch in our efforts,” she said. “Unionism is rewarding, and I am devoted to engaging and welcoming more volunteers to form a dynamic planning committee to entice members through union activities and purpose. This is a critical time for the labor movement and we must all unite.”
Region 9 - Poughkeepsie