PEF is looking for you, listening for your voice
By SHERRY HALBROOK
The December holidays bring thoughts of sharing time with family and friends, and that applies to your PEF family, too.
“We are continuing to reach out to members and bring them together with their PEF brothers and sisters,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “Along with worksite, division and regional holiday parties, you should be on the lookout for membership meetings and trainings to prepare for the PS&T contract negotiations that will get underway in January.”
In addition to meetings with members of the PEF contract team that are being planned for every region, the union’s Field Service Organizing Department is scheduling meetings with members to help them learn how to work together to keep everyone informed and ready to take actions that show support and solidarity with the contract team.
“We won’t get far at the bargaining table if the state’s negotiators think our PEF team members are speaking just for themselves,” Spence said. “Throughout the negotiations process the key to success will be to show the state that PEF members are unified behind their bargaining team and that we are all determined to get a fair contract that meets our needs and respects our rights. We expect bargaining this year will likely focus on contract provisions relating to workplace protection, wages and health care.”
When every PEF member has stood up in support of common goals, such as negotiating the current contract and defeating the public referendum on holding a state constitutional convention, the membership has achieved stunning success. PEF believes 2019 will be the start of another big win for member unity.
That’s why PEF Field Service Organizing is working with the PEF Divisions Department and divisions and regions across the state to set up meetings for members to provide information and training on how leaders and members can begin by getting better organized at their worksites and at the PEF division level.
“It is important for individual members to attend PEF meetings on contract issues and to go to the PEF website at www.pef.org.” said PEF Associate Director of Field Service Organizing Dan Carpenter. “By sharing your insights, your needs and experiences with the team members, you educate and empower them to represent you at the bargaining table. If your top priority, for instance, is telecommuting or paid family leave, the team really needs to hear that from you.”
But supporting the team depends on everyone working together, and that’s why Field Service Organizing is working with PEF Divisions Department and PEF leaders to identify and reach out to pockets of members who may not have had the benefit of a strong and active PEF presence at their worksites.
“Some PEF divisions are spread over the entire state and some focus on the bulk of members at a main work location, while other members working in distant satellite locations might feel left out or ignored,” said PEF Director of Field Services Michael Farrell. “We also have divisions where turnover and retirements have left gaps in the PEF division structure. Members at such divisions are important and we want to meet them, tell them what’s going on, hear what they want to tell the union and then, help them get organized and ready to make their voices heard when it counts most. So far, five divisions have been able to hold new elections to fill leadership and steward gaps. We are very grateful to the members who step up to take on these responsibilities. Being part of an effective union can take hard work and sacrifice, but it makes all the difference in ensuring your voices are heard and your needs are met.”
Farrell said organizing meetings will begin to be scheduled in all regions and that these meetings will be open to any member interested in learning more about their union, their rights and how to get involved and active.
“Don’t think that because you are not an elected union leader or a steward that you have no voice in the union, or that your needs don’t matter,” Carpenter said. “We are looking for you. We want to hear from you. So, tell your division leader that you want to be informed and active, and you want PEF to hold meetings where you are. If you can’t reach your division leader or steward, call your PEF field office or your regional coordinator. Or tell your Executive Board representative that you need and want to be an active part of the union, and learn how you can support the contract team.”
In addition to checking the PEF web page for the latest news and scheduled meetings, you will also find lots of information about events and activities on the PEF Facebook page and other social media. Offline, you may also check the PEF Information Line for weekly news updates at 800-553-2445.