Members are signing up to stay in PEF; What about you?
By DEBORAH A. MILES
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision about the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) case on the near horizon, PEF leaders have been educating members about the value in union membership.
One event took place May 18 when nearly 100 PEF members attended lunch-time meetings at the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance in Albany. Attendees agreed it was educational, informative and well organized.
“People sat up and noticed when the discussion focused around the Janus case and how its expected outcome could quickly change the way the union functions. People realized the necessity to support your union,” said Assistant Council Leader Deborah Walton.
“At first, some people were a little hesitant about signing a union membership card, but PEF President Wayne Spence explained how it works. I heard people rave about this meeting for getting the information as to why paying dues is the right thing to do to keep the protections and services they receive,” Walton said.
“I choose to be a union member. I love the strength and togetherness. People won’t always be on the same page and agree to disagree, but when it comes down to the big issues that protect all of us, the togetherness wins.”
Lisa DeJesus, a contract management specialist, agreed.
“I do support my union and plan on remaining a dues-paying member, so I signed a membership card. In today’s world, you need someone backing you up at all times. It’s important to have a group of qualified people to represent you and help you, versus you trying to do it on your own. If you try to do things on your own, it’s just not going to happen. The union is the vehicle that helps you get better wages, and addresses and helps resolve various concerns or issues that affect your job.
“I received a lot of feedback from other people who attended the meeting, and everyone was really glad they came,” DeJesus said.
Lesley Stefan, an associate attorney, said the meeting not only provided an update on what PEF is working on, but what it plans to do to move the union forward.
“I would have signed a membership card regardless if the meeting was held or not,” Stefan said. “I have been following the Janus case and am aware of the amendments to the Taylor Law that helps protect union rights, which were passed by the Legislature and recently signed into law by the governor.
“PEF is valuable to me for its negotiating power, collective bargaining, all the benefits, representation in disciplinary proceedings and the perks, such as discount ski tickets. It’s the whole package.”
Membership cards are available online at https://apps.pef.org/join-pef.html, or you can request one through your steward, council leader or regional coordinator.