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Labor history lessons apply today

To the Editor: I just finished reading the October labor history column (page 17), “The struggles, triumphs of labor unions in America,” and I wanted to comment by mentioning some of the pivotal moments in labor history. Naturally, I recognize the limitations of writing about labor history, in limited space of a single column of The Communicator.

I did notice you mentioned the Knights of Labor and the AFL. I was disappointed you did not mention the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905, or the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1936, and labor notables such as James Connolly, Eugene Debs, Bill Haywood, Mother Jones and Lucy Parsons. Both the IWW and CIO have played significant roles in fighting for and establishing many of the rights we, as workers, take for granted today.

I strongly encourage people to read about these groups and individuals. The tactics and perspectives they promoted and put into action are as important today as they were then.

Feb2018AlbanyDentalEmbeddedSubrata Mukherhjee


Editor’s Note: Since December 2012, The Communicator has been running a monthly labor history column, and has featured dozens of labor activists and labor organizations, many you mentioned. The column was first called “Roots of Struggle,” and then re-titled “Know Your Labor History.” You can read these columns in the back issues of The Communicator, available on the PEF website.

Retiree wants more gym discounts

To the Editor: I am a PEF retiree who would like to take advantage of a gym membership to improve and maintain my health. PEF offers discounts at some gym/fitness centers through the Membership Benefits Program, Health and Wellness Program. These centers range from 2.5 to 6 hours away from me.

There are no gym or fitness memberships in the greater Central New York area for PEF members. Those PEF members who reside in Central New York pay the same dues and are just as deserving of benefits as those residing in other areas of the state.

Please add additional services in more locations, so all PEF members can receive the same levels of service and benefits as those living near the Capital District or downstate.

Kathleen A. Miller

Editor’s Note: The Membership Benefits Program only provides a limited amount of gym or fitness center discounts, because most of the gyms already offer low membership rates, such as $10 a month. There are some discount gyms in Central and Western New York, such as the Court Jester Athletic Club in Binghamton and Johnson City, and Snap Fitness in Farmington.

Member seeks three-tier health insurance

To the Editor: As contract time is upon us, I would like to suggest that we, again, entertain the possibility of three-tier health insurance. My daughter has this at her job, and basically it is single, two persons and family. Premiums are about $50 for single; $95 for two (either a couple of single parent with one child); and, $185 for family. This would make it more equitable for couples without children, or single parents with one child. I raised this during the last negotiations when I was on the contract committee, and it was going to be discussed at the table. I was fired from the committee by the new president, so I don’t know if it ever made it to the table. As I said then, and still say now, I am for all PEF members and only want what is right for all.


Editor’s Note: The contract team is actively considering whether to propose creation of a two-person premium.  As in past rounds of bargaining, one concern is that creation of a two-person premium would actually harm more PEF members than it benefits. While a two-person may reduce premiums for the roughly 20 percent of PS&T Unit employees enrolled in NYSHIP who have only one dependent, it would increase the cost for family (3+) plans for the roughly 40 percent of the PS&T Unit employees enrolled in NYSHIP family coverage, who have two or more dependents.  

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The Communicator
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Table of Contents – November 2018