Home » Media Center » The Communicator » February 2019 Letters to the Editor


Don’t take your union benefits for granted

To the Editor: There is an alert in a recent issue of The eCommunicator Plus about anti-union canvassers.

Since the Janus v. AFSCME decision, websites have been set up for every public employee around the country to use to terminate of their union affiliation. I’m confident that these canvassers are part of a larger, well funded, anti-union organization. In an era when private-sector union membership has fallen below 10 percent, those of us in public-sector unions are the last vestiges of a once powerful union movement.

We can’t take our union benefits for granted.


A few years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker faced a recall election after curtailing collective-bargaining rights for public employees. In that recall, one-third of union households voted to keep Walker as governor. Clearly a lack of union solidarity in Wisconsin worked against public employees.

State employees in New York have a very good work-life balance. The way that we vote allows us to hold on to that.


We should call for a general strike

To the Editor: American politics are moving toward a general strike for re-employment, universal health care and restoring education in America. Another case for a national general strike is to call for the end to atrocities and crimes against humanity by the U.S. Government. By executive order and by the actions of its agents, our government is guilty of reprehensible atrocities of torture and murder of children on our southern border.

Those responsible and the perpetrators should be rounded up, detained in prisons, and then put on trial for crimes against humanity. Along with the president and the vice president, the commissioner of customs and borders and agents enabling the torture and murder of these children should be charged.

All representatives of any level of government who have not spoken up for the arrest and prosecution of these murderers are, by their silence, complicit, negligent and morally depraved. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, they “will have to repent … for the appalling silence … of the good people.”

Without the direct and immediate intervention of the Congress, the only way to stop further atrocities is for working people of America to take control by shutting down the country in a general strike to restore all workers who have been laid off, to end unpaid compulsory servitude decreed by this administration and to demand restitution and punishment for crimes against humanity.

Every American who understands the depth of criminality here needs now to speak up in protest!

PEF is uniquely situated to lead the call for a general strike to help other government workers.


Copayments differ for retirees

To the Editor: I am a retired PEF member and enjoy reading The Communicator. I was very happy to read of the health insurance copay staying at $20, not $25.

However, I thought the documentation I received from the state said the copay was increasing to $25.

Since it’s the start of a new year, and there is new information about new/changed coverage, perhaps the state should review all of the forms of information it sends to see how widespread the error is, and inform all affected NYSHIP members of the error/typo, just in case they missed your article.



Editor’s note: While the copayment for state PS&T employees and their dependents covered by the Empire Plan continues to be $20, the copayment for retirees’ health insurance is now $25.

PEF was the only state-employee union that held the line on keeping copayments at $20 in its 2016-19 PS&T contract. However, state law does not allow unions to bargain on behalf of their retired members – even those who are active members of the union’s retiree organization — so the state raised the retirees’ copayment for 2019 to match those for the other groups covered by NYSHIP.

Glad PEF’s educating members on discrimination

To the Editor: I’m happy to learn PEF is finally educating members, especially those working in parole, on discrimination. Much education and work are needed in this area.

Bayonne, NJ

Skeptical of PEF’s motives

To the Editor: I have been a member of this union for almost a year and this (the December 19 issue of the eCommunicator Plus) is the second communication I have received. I feel it is only because we have the opportunity to change unions.


Editor’s Note: PEF regrets that the writer has not been receiving The Communicator, The eCommunicator Plus and other news from PEF on a regular basis.

Most PEF communications to members are now electronic and the union needs members’ personal email addresses to get important and timely information to them. However, members can also find the latest news on PEF’s website.

PEF has actually reduced its printed/mailed communications since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSSCME, rather than increased them.

PEF would like to clarify the court’s ruling does not allow employees to “change unions.” Only one union can be the bargaining agent for a bargaining unit of employees. The court’s decision does allow employees in a union-represented bargaining unit to withdraw their membership from that union and still continue to be covered by the union-negotiated contract without paying agency fees in lieu of dues. Of course, the ability of a union to negotiate good contracts depends largely on the number and unity of its members.

Send letters to:
The Communicator
c/o NYS-PEF, P.O. Box 12414,
Albany, N.Y. 12212-2414
or email to: gro.f1553121645ep@ro1553121645tacin1553121645ummoc1553121645eht1553121645

Table of Contents – February 2019