Home » Media Center » The Communicator » February 2018 Letters to the Editor


What is PEF Retirees doing?

To the Editor:
I’m a PEF retiree and (was) a PEF member since its inception in 1978. In my opinion, the PEF Retirees column would serve the retirees better if it would keep us informed as to what PEF Retirees is doing to combat the governor’s constant attempts to weaken or lessen NYS retirees’ benefits.

PEF Retirees should take a lesson from the Retired Public Employees Association which is constantly on guard and countering efforts to reduce our benefits.

We really don’t need the column’s left-leaning rhetoric or walks down memory lane as in the last PEF Communicator. Is this the only “action” PEF Retirees takes?

Feb2018AlbanyDentalEmbeddedSubrata Mukherhjee

Long Island

Balks at use of term ‘medical’

To the Editor:
In the November Communicator, PEF President Wayne Spence stated, “PEF nurses answered the call to volunteer their medical skills in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, providing lifesaving medical help to those in need.”

Nursing is a discipline which is separate and distinct from medicine. Nursing collaborates with medicine and other health care providers to ensure the best outcome for patients. It is a disservice to nurses and their profession, when stating that nurses provide medical care.

Please help educate the membership and the public by refraining from the use of the word medicine, in place of nursing.


Editor’s Note: Sources for the definition of  nursing vary on this point.  

According to the American Nurses Association: “Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.” (This definition does not use the term “medical.”) 

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition, defines the term nursing as: “1 the duties or profession of a nurse; 2 the medical care given by a nurse.” (The Communicator follows Associated Press style, which specifies the use of this dictionary in conjunction with the Associated Press Stylebook.)

In any case, it is important to recognize the diagnosis and prescribing of treatment for illness, may only be performed legally in New York state by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant or credentialed nurse practitioner.

Medicare should trigger discount

To the Editor:
Why don’t retired NYS employees who are on Medicare receive a discount on their health insurance rates?

Medicare pays 80 percent of their costs. Every civil service retiree in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and even New York City, receives a substantial discount on their health insurance rates when they are on Medicare.

Ballston Lake, NY

Editor’s Note: New York state pools its employees and retirees together to keep premiums as low as possible. In addition, the state allows its retirees to convert unused sick leave to a credit balance to pay for health insurance, which may not be permitted by some other public employers.

The Communicator is not able to verify the writer’s assertion that retired civil servants who have Medicare coverage in certain states receive discounts. However, we were able to verify that NYC retirees do not receive a discount for having Medicare coverage.

Serving PEF has been a pleasure

To the Editor:
Please share this message with my dear PEF family.

It has given me great pleasure to have worked alongside such dedicated individuals. I have learned and been inspired by your flaming spirits that have prepared me for the next phase in my life.

On that note, I am pleased to announce that effective December 30, 2017, I officially retired from public service with New York state and as the council leader for PEF Division 364 at the state Council for the Arts in PEF Region 10. Hallelujah!

Happy blessed New Year 2018 of greater beginnings, and remain in solidarity forevermore.


Help sought for member

To the Editor:
I am writing to call my PEF brothers’ and sisters’ attention to the plight of a fellow PEF member who needs any assistance you’re able to offer.

Randolph “Randy” Lukas is an addictions program specialist 2 with the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and a member of PEF Division 265. I’m both his colleague and his division council leader.

Last year, Randy and his family lost their home and most of their possessions in a fire at their home in Columbia County. They’re currently living in a trailer on their property awaiting the approvals needed to begin rebuilding. A number of unanticipated personal issues have arisen during the past year, placing Randy and his family in financial distress.

Randy explains his goal and situation on his Go Fund Me page at: https://www.youcaring.com/randolphelukas-1039069.

I hope you are able to help Randy and his family.


Letters Policy: The Communicator welcomes letters to the editor about union issues and events relevant to PEF’s diverse membership. All letters are subject to editing for space, fairness and good taste. Please type your letters, keep them brief (up to 250 words), and include your name, non-work email address and phone number for verification.

Send letters to:
The Communicator
c/o NYS-PEF, P.O. Box 12414,
Albany, N.Y. 12212-2414
or email to: gro.f1519503230ep@ro1519503230tacin1519503230ummoc1519503230eht1519503230

Table of Contents – February 2018