In addition to carefully analyzing the budget, preparing budget documents and providing Senate and Assembly leaders with pertinent PEF budget priorities, on January 24, 2018. I once again had the honor of representing the PEF membership by giving testimony at the 2018 Workforce Development Joint Legislative Public Hearing. Though my oral remarks were abbreviated, our entire written testimony was submitted to the Joint Hearing Panel.
Legislators that I have spoken with have mentioned that they appreciate the continuous flow of information from PEF, PEF members and our legislative department. Please take a moment to read the attached and forward to members that will return a completed letter or make a local legislative visit for our budget member engagement. Making this a team effort will assist in stopping the damaging aspects of the 2018 budget proposals described below:
Click on links below to send email letter:
- Preserving the Civil Service System: The budget calls for allowing 300 people to enter high level positions within the ITS state workforce, without ever taking a New York State Civil Service exam. Selective tailoring of employment must be stopped and investment in New York State employee training needs to be resurrected.
- Ella McQueen : Proposed fast-track closure of the Ella McQueen Reception Center for Boys and Girls in Brooklyn with only 30 days notice instead of the 12 months required by current law.
- Design Build: This proposal increases the number of projects that can be designed, built and inspected by a single entity. State employees, whose only interest is public safety and quality of work would not be consulted. PEF will continue its vigorous opposition to Design Build because we know that without proper State oversight, design-build allows for opportunities to skimp on critical component materials. As a consequence, to save money, concrete that is supposed to last twenty-years may only last five years or the proper amount of reinforcement steel (rebar) to ensure project longevity can be overlooked when no one is watching.
- SUNY Hospitals: Once again they are being targeted with a proposal in the budget to manipulate the funding support for SUNY’s three teaching hospitals by 78.6 million dollars and once again we will fight to keep our hospitals public.
- Mental Health : Proposal to allow locally-operated jails as well as state prisons to house and treat individuals until they are restored to competency.
- Medicare Cuts : If adopted, this would constitute a significant diminishment of established healthcare benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees enrolled in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP).
- NEW – DOCCS : 30 Day Amendment includes disciplinary actions that would supersede the PEF CONTRACT
If additional information or assistance is needed, please feel free to contact PEF legislative director, Greg Amorosi at: GRO.F1550696468EP@is1550696468oromA1550696468G1550696468.
Currently, SWPAC Chairs and PEF PALS are securing meetings across the state between their members and local state legislators. We have until April 1, 2018 and I would ask that you encourage your members to take the time to visit, email or call their local legislators with the information attached.
At the same time we are engaged in a budget fightback, all unions are bracing for what appears to be an all but certain ruling against unions in the Janus v. AFSCME case, but this will not hinder our resolve and our efforts to build a stronger union.
We know that our efforts to engage members more deeply in the union is not about any one Supreme Court case, so not only did we continue our membership engagement efforts – we increased them! We built a membership engagement campaign around two contract ratification votes. Our success was clear and resulted in historic turnouts in both votes with percentage of YES votes at 96% and 97%. That work now serves as our foundation to build more union capacity as we face new uncertainty about the future of labor in the United States.
As president of this union, it is my job to make sure we step up our conversations about pathways back to increased membership involvement and activism. With your help, we now have beat back the “con-con” attempt and PEF is now leading the way for fighting Janus.
What are some other actions you can take?
- Get involved with regional lobbying and help us ensure our budget and legislative priorities for 2018 are achieved;
- Take the Paid Family Leave survey;
- Check the PEF website and Facebook page often to make sure you are informed about union activities and the issues facing PEF;
- Help enforce the PEF CONTRACT at your workplace:
- Go to the PEF website and update your contact information;
- Stand Strong for Labor;
- Re-commit to your union;
- Take a membership engagement survey