Delegates pass 5 resolutions, plus 2
BY SHERRY HALBROOK
Five resolutions were passed by delegates to PEF’s 41st Annual Convention that was held at the Capital Center in Albany in September. The delegates dealt with all 11 resolutions that had been submitted by members earlier in the year.
The delegates amended four of the five resolutions that they adopted. They referred two to committees, three were ruled out of order and one was withdrawn by the person who submitted it.
Two additional resolutions that were introduced by delegates as motions from the floor also were adopted.
The only resolution that passed without amendment was titled: Addressing the declining delegate numbers as a way to increase member engagement. This resolution cited the gradually increasing gap between the number of potential delegates to PEF conventions and the actual number of members who run for the office of delegate and participate in the subsequent convention. The resolution noted that this means more than 15,000 members have no delegate to represent them at convention.
“Particularly at this time with unions under assault on so many fronts, this lack of representation of (more than) 15,000 members further limits their knowledge of the issues, the knowledge of the anti-union tactics, the potential to become more active members, as well as decreases the power of the union by having close to one-quarter of our members not having a voice,” the resolution states.
This resolution directs PEF officers and the Executive Board to study this issue and develop ways to resolve this concern and bring them to the board and possibly even the 2020 PEF convention for discussion and possible implementation.
One of the resolutions adopted with amendments was titled: Representation of bi-lingual (English as a second language) PEF members. It calls on the PEF Hispanic Committee to “work to implement a pilot program that provides testing translations for PEF’s current and prospective members for whom English is their second language or who acquired their professional licenses and/or degrees in a language other than English.” The resolution further calls for the pilot program to begin in the New York City area and focus on Spanish translations.
Another resolution that was adopted with amendments was titled: Enhancing Member Promotional Opportunities. This resolution calls attention to state agencies’ abuse of the Selective Certification process for hiring and promoting. The resolution states, “This process is often misused to circumvent Civil Service Law to allow managers to reach ‘favored’ candidates.”
This resolution directs PEF to create legislation and seek sponsors for it that would amend civil service rules or laws governing the selective certification process in which skills sought for promotion are delineated to “only require such education as is required to be eligible to take the corresponding examination and the specific skills required for the promotional item.”
A third resolution adopted with amendments was titled: Improving the NYS Department of Civil Service Transfers by Section 70.1, 70.4 and 52.6.
This resolution focuses on sometimes unfair but legal practice by state agencies of filling vacant positions by transferring employees without further examination. The appropriateness of the transfer is decided by the state Department of Civil Service on a title-by-title basis at the request of personnel offices of state agencies.
This resolution calls on PEF to request data from the state on the use of this hiring process and after reviewing that data to determine if the law should be amended. Furthermore, PEF should educate its members about what its review of the data shows and to “report to the delegates of the 2020 convention the details of (PEF’s) efforts to add transparency to this process.”
The final resolution adopted with amendment was titled: Conversion of earned work schedule time to compensatory time. This resolution calls on PEF to find a way to address situations where state employees, who are not eligible to receive overtime pay, must work overtime and only receive “work schedule adjustment time” that must be used within the same two-week pay period or it is forfeited.
Often the same work demands that forced the employee to work overtime continue throughout the pay period, so the employee cannot use the work adjustment time and receives nothing for this extra effort.
The resolution directs PEF to look for a legislative or contractual language measure to extend to one year the period during which work adjustment time may be used.
After spending time debating challenges to the Convention Credentials Committee’s report on the first day of convention, the delegates approved a motion that all requests to add delegates must be submitted in writing to the Credentials Committee before the call to order on Day One of conventions.
Solidarity with UAW
The delegates also approved a motion from the floor declaring PEF’s solidarity and support for members of the United Auto Workers on strike nationwide against GM. The delegates made personal donations totaling $1,470.66 to contribute to the strikers.
One of the two resolutions that were referred to committees was titled: Greater public contract oversight. It was referred to the PEF Legislative Department. The other resolution was titled: Improving the NYS Department of Civil Service new title classification and compensation reviews. It was referred to the PEF Department of Civil Service Enforcement and Research.
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