Member input empowers contract team. PEF’s PS&T contract team held its initial meeting with the negotiators from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations at the end of January.
Prior to this meeting where ground rules were exchanged, the team attended dozens of local PEF membership meetings where union issues were brought to the forefront.
“These meetings, along with two tele-town hall conferences, will help the team when they are advancing proposals at the table because of the specific examples members provided regarding certain work-related issues and concerns,” said Darlene Williams, chair of the PEF contract team.
“It has been a priority for my team to tap into the issues raised by as many members as possible, so we can negotiate an agreement that members will be eager to ratify.”
The current PS&T agreement expires at midnight on April 1. The team, which has been preparing for full and small table talks (those specific to certain issues), said the governor’s representatives need to know that the majority, if not the entire PEF membership, will back up the team.
The tele-town hall contract conference call-ins were an extra outreach effort to engage as many members as possible in the negotiation process. For those members who missed the exchange, the questions and answers are posted on the PEF website.
So far, the hot-topic issues of 2019 include across-the-board raises, maintaining health insurance benefits, paid family leave, telecommuting and a path for permanency for PEF’s hourly employees.
Williams also said members on PEF’s labor-management committees may also play an integral role in negotiations.
“Our labor-management representatives know first hand the concerns and issues that are raised and rejected by management. They are a valuable source for the team. To achieve our goals, we all must work together,” Williams said.
PEF REGION 6 MEMBERS SPEAK OUT:
Miranda Anglin, psychologist 2 at Central NY DDSO: “I want to support the PS&T Contract Team because it will take a very short time commitment from me compared to the time they are putting in. I’m very grateful they are able to devote their full attention to the negotiations on our behalf.”
Kenneth Denison Jr., assistant engineer, state Transportation Department: “I will support the contract team because some things they negotiate will affect me, even though I’m approaching retirement age. I think it’s even more important for younger members to support the team, because they will be affected even longer.”
Diane Solli, community mental health nurse, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center: It’s important to support PEF and the PS&T Contract Team because this is the only way a member’s voice can be heard. We need to express unity.