No challenge too great for us, when we take them on together
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against each one of us last month when it issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME (For more information, see pages 4 and 12.), but those forces working against us should be put on notice: Don’t Count Us Out!
PEF, like other unions around the country, has been preparing for this decision with vigorous member-engagement campaigns involving thousands of one-on-one conversations about the value of being a union member.
I have seen firsthand, visiting with many of you, the power of our recommit campaign. And since the decision was announced, the majority of calls and emails we’ve received have been from members like you who want to know what they can do to keep our union strong.
Our strength in unity has given us the power to:
• Negotiate good contracts for our members with across-the-board raises and no givebacks;
• Thanks to rebuilt relationships with state lawmakers and the support of Gov. Cuomo, we were able to ensure the 2018 state budget included a package of amendments to the Taylor Law that help support unionism in New York state;
• Get legislation passed and signed into law in 2017, that will allow you to deduct a percentage of your union dues from your state income taxes, beginning this year, 2018;
• Implement new programs to your PEF Membership Benefits Program including new legal benefits, free college for PEF members and their families, a new employee purchase program coming soon and PEF Family Fun Days in every region.
At its June meeting, the PEF Executive Board enacted a new policy, effective immediately, for non-members, stating that PEF shall not provide representation to non-members, except as required by state Civil Service Law section 209-a, as amended.
If you opted out of membership, you would lose many union benefits including, but not limited to, all PEF Membership Benefits Programs.
And defunding the union means we would have fewer resources to fight for better pay and benefits. We will begin negotiating a new PS&T contract next year and your dues and your membership absolutely will make a difference!
Together, through our union, we not only fight for ourselves but for the people we serve. We know that strong unions make strong communities.
Here are a couple of ways you can show your support for PEF right now and help keep our union strong:
• Sign the updated PEF membership card, which not only ensures we have your most up-to-date contact information, but better positions us in this post-Janus environment; and
• Show your union pride by participating in our social media campaign. Have your photo taken holding a sign with the word UNION and post it on social media using the hashtag #Union. Then send your photos to #NYSPEF via messenger or email them to gro.f1531752249ep@re1531752249ihtim1531752249 to be showcased on PEF’s social media.
PEF members, always remember that this is your union and our strength comes from each and every one of you.
We cannot let this decision make us forget why unions were formed in the first place – to ensure good jobs with a decent wage, safe workplaces, good and affordable health care, the ability to retire with dignity, and the strength to make our communities and our state a better place for all. #WeAreStrongerTogether