PEF’s Membership Benefits Program Working For You
By DEBORAH A. MILES
PEF’s Membership Benefits Program’s (MBP) idea to hold Family Fun Days has rank-and-file members looking at their union in a different way. The reviews from the last two events, held in Rochester and on Long Island, have members talking about PEF membership as “a great way to interact with other PEF members from a variety of agencies in a social environment.”
That quote from Briana Stewart, who works for the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, was echoed among the more than 700 people who flocked to the Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester in late August.
“My brother, who works for another state agency, is also a PEF member. We were able to get our five children together and enjoy a fun-filled family day, along with grandma. I also was able to have some time, away from the office, to hang out with co-workers and other PEF members,” Stewart said. “What a great deal to enjoy the entire day at the park, and also get a free lunch out of it, all for just $10 per person.”
“Seabreeze, a very popular local attraction, can be quite expensive when you include park admission and food for an entire family. This MBP event made it affordable for all our members. It was a fantastic gathering in a joyous environment,” said PEF Region 3 Coordinator Colleen Williams.
PEF Executive Board member Randi DiAntonio described the day as “awesome with great food, rides, water slides, face painting and camaraderie.”
On September 16, 300 members and their families invaded the Long Island Aquarium where the popular face painters enchanted the children. Their aquatic journey included everything from alligators to the vibrant and colorful discus fish, to a sea lion show.
“The tickets went like hot cakes,” said PEF Region 12 Coordinator Nora Higgins. “Along with all the fish and animals, we had giveaways and raffles. People were able to network with other members, enjoy life, enjoy family, as well as learn about their union.”
Kevin Wilson, a licensed master social worker and council leader at the Long Island Developmental Disabilities Services Office, described the event as beneficial on multiple levels.
“The discount was tremendous. The day was fantastic. It was a day to relax and enjoy, while getting the word out that what your union does is very important. People were wearing PEF buttons and stickers, and coming up to others saying, ‘I didn’t know you were a PEF member, too!’ I hope to see more events like this that get our members together, and to motivate people to take an active role against New York becoming a right-to-work state,” Wilson said.
MBP Administrator Scott Harms said, “We have held five Family Fun Days this year, and have received nothing but positive feedback from members. These events are sponsored through MBP, which does not use your dues money. Our program works in tandem with PEF, especially during a time when the labor movement is under attack. Our goal is to bring members together, help educate them on union issues, and remind them that we care about every member in and outside of the workplace.
“We look forward to planning more events in 2018.”