PEF off to exciting start in 2017
By Wayne Spence
Here we are just a few months into 2017 and already we have accomplished so much together. You have responded in a big way to our call to participate in the PEF budget fightback, including letter writing, lobbying visits to legislators and participation in budget hearings. Many of you have spoken out eloquently at budget hearings and have helped us have our voice heard. I can tell you that legislators truly appreciate the efforts we’ve made to keep the flow of information going to both them and to our membership and this will serve us well as we further identify PEF’s legislative priorities and begin our advocacy on those issues in the months of April, May and June. (See related video)
Thanks to the work of the PEF legislative staff, we were able to get a “message of necessity” from the governor on the PEF pay bill. This allowed the Legislature to act on the PEF pay bill and it has been signed by the governor. I’m happy to say we are way ahead of the typical time schedule in getting a pay bill passed, signed and implemented. And I’m happy to say that because of this, we will be seeing our salary increases sooner.
While we may not have been talking about “right to work” and other legal threats to organized labor as much as we did before the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it was still on our radar. We know that an engaged membership is the way to fight these threats. And our member engagement efforts have paid off so far with two very strong contract ratification votes where we showed our unity.
This month we are embarking on something that has never been done by PEF before — a membership blitz. One of our parent unions, AFT (the American Federation of Teachers) is our partner in this effort that will see teams made up of PEF volunteers and AFT volunteers blanket Region 8 with both worksite and home visits to meet and speak with as many PEF members as we can in a one-week period. We’re starting in Region 8, but expect our PEF volunteers to take what they learn in Region 8 back to their own regions and plan member engagement actions there.
We want to have one-on-one conversations with you to help you identify worksite issues to organize around, and to educate you, our members, about what we are facing in terms of threats to PEF and the labor movement nationwide. We are beyond excited about this initiative because it is, after all, you, the members, that make this union whole. Look for information, photos and video of our blitz week on the PEF website and official Facebook page. And I will, of course, be reporting to all of you about our experience.
I feel excited and hopeful when I see the signs you’ve shown of a re-invigorated membership; one that is engaged, interested and active. Members, while it is clear we do face threats and challenges in the future, I know that together we can face anything that comes before us.
THeCOMMUNICATOR – March 2017 Contents – PDF