PS&T negotiations to begin
Thank you, PEF members for electing me to a second term as the president of the Public Employees Federation. I am honored that you saw fit to continue the good work we started together in 2015.
I feel really blessed to know I am now serving with experienced and dedicated colleagues – Secretary-Treasurer Kay Alison Wilkie, Vice Presidents Adreina Adams, Sharon DeSilva and Randi DiAntonio and Trustees Christopher Buman, Jeanette Santos and Maddie Shannon-Roberts. These leaders are as committed as I am to building a strong future for PEF.
With Secretary-Treasurer Kay Alison Wilkie at the helm, we will continue to be transparent and accountable in all fiscal matters, and regain the highest level of trust and confidence between PEF leadership and the membership.
I am confident that we will work as a cohesive team to make our union better for all PEF members, who, after all, are at the heart of all we do!
I believe we are currently at a crossroads in the history of the labor movement. With unions under attack each and every day, I promise you my team and I will be unrelenting in confronting those attacks and we will ensure PEF makes its mark in these turbulent times.
I want to start out by saying our successful membership engagement campaign will continue. Everywhere I go, in every PEF region, members are signing their updated membership cards and asking what they can do to help keep PEF strong. (See related story on membership engagement)
Did we receive a lot of calls and emails after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its Janus decision? Yes, we did. But our calls have averaged nearly 200-to-1 of PEF members calling to find out what they need to do to STAY in the union and what they can do to help keep PEF strong.
PEF members, the state of our union is strong!
That is not to say we will rest on our laurels. We know anti-union groups have pledged to spend $20 million in New York state to tear us down, and that their campaign will pick up during the holiday season. We are preparing for this every day by acting strategically and in a way that benefits PEF members.
During my last term, PEF negotiated not just one, but two successful PS&T contracts with the state that included across-the-board raises and no givebacks. We are now preparing to start negotiations on our next PS&T contract. We think we found a winning formula with our last negotiations and we will not try to change our tried and true method that includes:
• A strong PEF contract committee with an experienced PEF leader as its chair;
• Professional negotiators Mark Richard from the American Federation of Teachers, and labor attorney Vincent Pitta;
• And most importantly, an engaged and united membership that gives the PEF team strength at the bargaining table.
PEF members, contract benefits such as wage increases, paid sick time, paid vacation, and excellent health care benefits are all the results of union negotiations made stronger by a united membership.
In the coming months, we will let you know when members of the PEF contract team will be holding “town hall” meetings in your PEF regions to hear from you and answer your questions. We will also set up a PEF email address where you can send your comments about what you’d like to see in upcoming negotiations. (For more contract team information, see here.) We have a commitment from the governor that negotiations will begin the first week in January.
We are #UnionStrong