Wayne Spence was born on the island of Jamaica. At the age of 10, he immigrated to the United States, and has called the New York City area his home ever since.
Wayne was first elected president of the Public Employees Federation in 2015, and was recently sworn into office for his third three-year term on August 1, 2021.
During his 28 years in state government working as a parole officer, Wayne has been very active in the Public Employees Federation. Before being elected PEF’s first African-American president in June 2015, he held numerous leadership positions in the union, serving as a PEF Vice President, Shop Steward, Division Health and Safety Chair, Executive Board Member, Long Island Political Action Co-Chair and Assistant Council Leader of Division 236 (DOCCS/Parole) for several years. He currently serves on the executive boards of AFT, SEIU and the New York State AFL-CIO; these commitments give him direct access to our international unions, which in turn allows PEF to benefit in the form of immediate communication and leverage for federal issues. President Spence also serves on New York State Comptroller DiNapoli’s Advisory Council (NYSLRS) and on the AFT Nurses & Health Professionals Program Policy Council.
Under Wayne’s leadership, the union negotiated not one, not two, but three successful contracts that included across-the-board raises and no givebacks for the membership. Wayne is known as a leader who demands the union and the state follow through on mandates, especially for member health and safety and community safety issues. He helped change parole policies to ensure that pregnant officers were not required to place themselves and their unborn children at risk by executing felony warrants, and secured state management action to install metal detectors after incidents of violence with weapons had occurred.
Wayne graduated from a top public school, The Bronx High School of Science. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the New York Institute of Technology. During his time in college, he was known as a student leader and respected for his passionate advocacy for the student body. He founded the NYIT/Central Islip Campus Caribbean Society in 1996.
Wayne is a certified Police Firearms instructor and Instructor Evaluator. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, and sits on the First Baptist Church of Freeport Trustee Board.
Wayne is happily married and the proud father of three children.