TO: Executive Board
FROM: Ken Brynien, President
DATE: March 22, 2007
RE: Negotiations Update
As the expiration date of the current PS&T Unit Agreement approaches, I wanted to update you on the status of negotiations. Given the change in the Governorship, and the long delay in making appointments to GOER, we are in a different circumstance than we have faced in previous rounds of bargaining.
To date, the State has not commenced negotiations with any of the negotiating units, which is unusual given the nearly all of the Collective Bargaining Agreements expire in a little more than one week. This situation occurred in large part because of the delay in appointing a Director to GOER. That circumstance changed earlier this month with the announcement that Gary Johnson was the Governor’s selection to head the agency. I have already had discussions with Mr. Johnson and we have made plans to meet face to face in the near future. He has also assured me that once he assumes responsibility for the agency in April, negotiations will be a top priority.
Vice President Lou Matrazzo assures me that the Contract Team is prepared and waiting for the call to start negotiations. I passed that information along to Director Johnson who told me that he appreciated our patience while the new administration assumed their new roles. He also understands that our patience is not unlimited and that the State has a responsibility to commence negotiations sooner rather than later.
In the interim, we have taken several actions to better prepare ourselves for when do get to the table. I have communicated with the Governor about the importance of continuing funding for the various educational programs provided by the contract even when there is no contract in place. While we have not received a formal reply, I expect to discuss this issue with his top staff person when I meet with him later this week.
Vice President Matrazzo has also been working very closely with the COLA Committee to start mobilizing our members and other state employees around the issue of cost of living adjustments for employees in high cost areas. The meetings have been very well received, and more than several thousand of the letters to Governor Spitzer have already been signed. Even more important, there appears to be significant participation from employees in other unions including CSEA, UUP, and DC37. In addition, I have also just communicated with the Presidents of the unions representing the uniformed services (NYS Troopers, Council 82, NYSPIA and NYSCOPBA) asking them to join our coalition around the COLA.
I will continue to update you on the status of negotiations, and I expect that the next memo will be to share the date on which we expect bargaining to start. We will also continue to use the PEF website and the AIM e-mail updates as more information becomes available.