PEF Contract Town Hall Meetings: Real Professionals, Real Respect, Real Voice
Your PS&T Contract Team needs to hear from you now
STORY AND PHOTOS By SHERRY HALBROOK
Members of the union’s PS&T Contract Team are fanning out across the state to visit every PEF region.
With contract talks set to begin with a meeting in late January to discuss the ground rules for negotiations, the team members are moving quickly to hold meetings with members in each region at least once. The majority of these meetings are scheduled for January through mid-February.
PEF Region 6 members were treated December 12 to the first of these meetings. They spoke to team members about how the current PS&T contract, which expires April 1, is working for them, and their needs for improvements in the next pact. The meeting, held in New Hartford near Utica, was very well attended.
Four members of the contract team participated: Region 3 Coordinator Colleen Williams, Region 4 Coordinator Bobbi Stafford, and Executive Board members Amy DeMarco and Vicky Stockton.
Check the PEF website to find the meeting or meetings scheduled for your region. In addition to the regional meetings, team members are also responding to invitations from divisions to attend their general membership meetings. Please notify the designated PEF staff member for the contract team town hall meeting that you want to attend.
As DeMarco told Region 6 members at the December meeting, “We got what we did in the 2016-19 Contract because of you and the way you voted and supported our 2015-16 Contract and our campaign opposing a NYS Constitutional Convention.”
DeMarco, who also was a member of the team that negotiated the 2016-19 contract, said the governor’s negotiators saw how strongly members supported the team, and knew they had to deal fairly with PEF.
Going into these negotiations for a new contract, Williams said, “We’re here to listen to you tell us what you want, so we can take it to the bargaining table. We won’t know, if you don’t tell us.”
PEF REGION 6 MEMBERS SPEAK OUT:
Miranda Anglin, psychologist 2 at Central NY DDSO: “I want to support the PS&T Contract Team because it will take a very short time commitment from me compared to the time they are putting in. I’m very grateful they are able to devote their full attention to the negotiations on our behalf.”
Kenneth Denison Jr., assistant engineer, state Transportation Department: “I will support the contract team because some things they negotiate will affect me, even though I’m approaching retirement age. I think it’s even more important for younger members to support the team, because they will be affected even longer.”
Diane Solli, community mental health nurse, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center: It’s important to support PEF and the PS&T Contract Team because this is the only way a member’s voice can be heard. We need to express unity.
The team received comments from Region 6 members at many different agencies on a wide variety of issues, ranging from pay and benefits to staffing and hazardous duty.
Thanking the members for attending the meeting and sharing their concerns, Stafford added that this is only the preparation for negotiations and the team will need every member to show their support as the talks move forward.
The team asked members to be watchful for messages from their union asking them to participate in actions to strengthen the team’s leverage at the bargaining table.
“If we ask you to do something for us, please do it,” said Stafford, adding that such actions will help you get the contract you need.
CONTRACT SCHEDULE information, visit the PEF Calendar of Events Page.