Let your voice be heard at political action meetings
By DEBORAH A. MILES
With the Executive Budget being flat, PEF members throughout the state are revving up their Political Action Committees (PAC) with the goal to alert lawmakers of their workplace issues and seek their support for PEF’s legislative agenda.
One member has caught the attention of PEF President Wayne Spence and PEF Region 5 Coordinator David Dubofsky for his efforts.
“I want to give a shout out to my statewide PAC co-chair, Scott Staub, for all the hard work he does for the region and our statewide membership,” Dubofsky said.
Spence, who was impressed with a report Staub submitted about a meeting, said, “It’s not enough to have the Executive Board members know of the work you do. Other members should also know, as your example might encourage others to step up.”
The meeting Spence was referring to was held January 10 at the office of state Sen. Frederick Akshar II in Binghamton where Staub, a disability analyst 3 at the state Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, attended with PEF Region 5 members.
“While I appreciate the recognition for my efforts, the point is PAC meetings are occurring in all PEF regions and in 213 state legislative offices. Local PACs are working on behalf of the membership everywhere,” Staub said. “I see myself as a facilitator.”
Staub described the meeting as successful and productive, as Akshar and members discussed the state budget and the “Make NY Affordable” proposal.
“When state employees learn the budget cycle will be providing less money, it makes them nervous. We stressed to the senator that the work PEF members do at places such as the state Department of Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Department of Corrections and Community Supervision requires a level of skill that we have. And when we look at it from a budget standpoint, everything we do is a ‘need,’ and not a ‘want.’
Staub said Akshar was on board with the union as he agreed to remain engaged in the issues surrounding the Justice Center for People with Special Needs, and will co-sign state Sen. Robert Ortt’s Justice Center bill.
The PAC meeting also focused on the opioid crisis.
“Akshar fully supports the expansion of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in our area, and said he would be heavily involved with the whole opioid fight. This issue is big enough that there needs to be a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. Both public and private facilities will have a role to play,” Staub said.
“Elected officials want to hear directly from their constituents. My message to PEF members is to attend your next local PAC meeting. It is the one place where all our political interests converge. We are there to give the workforce a voice, and to see firsthand how the union works for them. Only people who work in various agencies have the passion and knowledge to speak about their issues. You don’t need to be eloquent, you just need to tell your story.
“Everyone must do whatever little part they can to help each other have good working environments and jobs that allow us to provide for our families. One individual voice does nothing. I encourage all PEF members to raise their voices and become a choir. Then we can do great things.”