Meet Your Contract team: 4th and final in the series
By DEBORAH A. MILES
Three members of the 2019 PEF contract team will play a vital role at the bargaining table for the entire PEF membership, and also as negotiators for the appendix agreement specific to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where they each work.
PEF Region 1 Coordinator Michele Silsby is a registered nurse and a case manager in utilization management. She has been involved in contract negotiations several times in her professional career and highly praised the training provided by Mark Richard, PEF’s co-chief negotiator from the American Federation of Teachers.
“The training with Mark has been excellent. He has been assisting the team to analyze, prepare and present the true concerns of our members,’ Silsby said.
The 1,450 PEF members who work at Roswell Park have had the opportunity to attend one of five contract membership meetings where they raised their concerns, such as parking issues.
“At the first meeting, the room was packed,” Silsby said. “Our members demonstrated that they were involved with their union. They came not only from Roswell but from all agencies in PEF Region 1. I will attend all the meetings so I can bring back the information to share with the other members of the contract team,” she said.
Silsby has held several union roles and served on various committees which has given her an insider’s point of view of what members expect and need from their union. “I am passionate and committed to work with the team to obtain a successful contract for all PEF members, one that improves current disparities.”
Yatram Bruce Jagroop works as an occupational and environmental safety specialist, and served at small table negotiations for Roswell Park for the last three bargaining sessions. He is a long-time Executive Board member, and served multiple terms on the PEF Veterans’ Committee including two terms as its chair.
He described the training for the upcoming bargaining session as “phenomenal” and credited not only Richard, but the PEF staff.
“The contract team does the greatest good for our members. I wanted to be a part of a dedicated team whose goal is to acquire the best agreement for all members. That motivates me.”
Jagroop also said the best way for members to get a contract they are eager to ratify is to be part of the process.
“I encourage members to have one-on-one conversations with each other to send the message that all members need to be a part of the mobilizing group. We need mobilizers to support the contract team and their decisions.
“We are not always going to give everyone what they want in the contract, but we will work for what the majority of members want us to negotiate,” Jagroop said.
Marilynn DiCara is a senior nurse case manager who has also represented Roswell Park at previous PS&T negotiations.
She is motivated to be the voice of members to negotiate and articulate their overall concerns in order to achieve a good contract.
As Jagroop mentioned, DiCara also said the team will focus on the issues and benefits raised by the majority of members.
“I am the current council leader at Roswell Park and a PEF Executive Board member, and served on the statewide Health and Safety Committee. Negotiating a contract is a process that includes the input we receive at membership meetings. These meetings are very motivating for members as they give everyone a chance to express their concerns,” DiCara said,
“The team is very committed to work on these concerns and issues, but we can only accomplish this if members continue to be involved in the process and support the team. Every member plays a role in helping to make your union the best it can be for all PEF members.”