Together, we’re achieving so much!
After a long, hard winter, spring has finally arrived, and what better time than when we feel spring’s renewal to review the growth we’ve made together over the past few months.
Our ability to build and renew relationships with other unions, state legislators and the governor’s office has resulted in positive changes that will only make us stronger in the aftermath of what is expected to be a negative decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME.
New union protections
For the first time in 50 years, changes were made to the state Taylor Law to protect a public employee’s right to join a union, and a union member’s rights in the public sector once they have joined a union.
The changes that were enacted:
• Require public employers such as the state to provide the names, work locations and contact numbers of all new hires and rehires to the union within 30 days of employment;
• Require public employers to provide reasonable time during work hours within 30 days of the above notification for the employee organization to meet with all new hires, without loss of employee leave time;
• Codify that individuals may sign dues authorization cards via means allowed by state technology law, allowing emails and other electronic means, including voice authorization, to be accepted by the employer;
• Require employers to begin dues deduction within 30 days of receiving a member’s dues authorization card and require remittance of the dues to the union within 30 days of making the deduction;
• Codify that members who have left service and return within a one-year period will automatically have their membership reinstated and a member who is placed on voluntary or involuntary leave will automatically have membership reinstated upon return to the payroll;
• Codify that the withdrawal process from the union and the member’s obligation to pay dues may be determined by the terms of the union dues authorization card that the member signed; and
• Codify that the union may offer benefits and services that are above and beyond a negotiated agreement to its members only. To protect dues-paying members from free-riders, the language codifies that the union’s obligation to represent non-members is limited to the negotiation and enforcement of the contract. It also provides that the union is not required to represent non-members in disciplinary procedures or performance evaluation appeals when the non-member is authorized to get their own representation.
Civil service improvements
We’ve also been able to reach a new level of cooperation with the state Department of Civil Service that will benefit all PEF members.
For the first time ever, DCS has agreed to quarterly Executive Labor-Management meetings with PEF leadership. The priorities at these quarterly meetings will remain timely exams for your advancement opportunities; fair process for scoring exams; and selective certification safeguards, which include justifying any profile changes.
All PEF members are now entitled to sign up for the “Civil Service Institute” that offers in-person and online classes designed to help you fully understand the civil service system and how mobility opportunities work. I encourage you to take advantage of this information.
More member benefits
The PEF Membership Benefits Program (MBP) is implementing new programs to better serve you and your families. These programs include:
• A new legal benefit that provides a cash benefit to defray the cost of legal fees and retainer agreements. This benefit is only for dues-paying PEF members who are arrested and charged with a crime while working, during the course of their employment in their PS&T position;
• Free college benefit for PEF members, retirees, and their families to earn an online associate degree or certificate with no out-of-pocket cost. You, your spouse, children, financial dependents and grandchildren, may all take advantage of this exciting opportunity; and
• An employee purchase program will soon be offered that will make it possible for union members to buy the products and services they need and want through a simple, automated payment plan with no credit check.
We’re on a roll
These are all examples of what we can achieve when we stand together.
Never forget that this is your union and our strength comes from each and every one of you.
I’m proud that together we have turned the challenges we face into opportunities that make us stronger, resulting in real benefits for our membership.
Thank you for all you do. #WeAreStrongerTogether