Go Public campaign lights up digital billboards statewide
By DEBORAH A. MILES
PEF’s Go Public campaign, the union’s crusade to highlight the value of public employees and their contributions to the state, is being noticed from Manhattan to Buffalo, as the faces of real PEF members are appearing on digital billboards.
One of the first phases of the campaign was to find people who would be willing to be photographed on the job to showcase the diverse and important roles of PEF members. And they had to be willing to have their photo seen by thousands of people who drive on I-787, I-90 and Fuller Road in Albany, or in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and those strolling around Times Square.
Andrew Puleo, chair of the Go Public committee and PEF Region 2 coordinator, said the committee could have used stock photos in the ads, but wanted the public to see real union people at their jobs.
“It’s a matter of being authentic, honest and proud of the work PEF members accomplish every day,” Puleo said. “The committee and I are grateful to the members who came forward to help us with this campaign. Their involvement is a tremendous example of how supporting your union and working together can accomplish goals that benefit the entire public workforce.
“We want the general public to recognize and understand that it is not the role of a private contractor to ensure our food, dairy products and water are safe to consume, but the role of a public employee. Through these ads we are distinguishing the vital services performed by PEF members such as making certain that roads and bridges are safe, finding new vaccines, protecting our wildlife and natural resources, or establishing security in our information technology (IT) systems.”
The digital billboard ads started to run in early March and will continue for 12 weeks, during the time the state Legislature is in session. The ads are also being rotated on the PEF website and official PEF Facebook page.
PEF President Wayne Spence said, “Go Public is an anti-privatization campaign aimed at saving state jobs, and getting a cost-benefit analysis bill passed. This bill would force cost-benefit analysis regarding the use of outside contractors, for example, in the IT field.
“Throughout the years, PEF has released research that identifies savings of millions of dollars annually if the state takes reasonable steps to reduce the excessive use of consultants. PEF has long acknowledged there is a need for private consultants on short-term projects. But on continuing work such as bridge inspection and IT services, the state is needlessly wasting millions of taxpayer dollars,” Spence said.
Puleo said PEF is also attacking privatization of services on a federal level by working with others to block federal legislative language that incentivizes the outsourcing of engineering, architectural and design services on federally-funded construction projects.
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