PEF Region 4 Coordinator – Roberta Stafford
Roberta “Bobbi” Stafford expects to draw on all of her 16 years of union leadership experience ranging from steward and the division offices of secretary, treasurer and council leader and convention delegate to serving on the PEF Executive Board in her new duties as the PEF regional coordinator in Region 4.
While it’s easy to identify Region 4 with the City of Syracuse, this central New York region actually stretches far beyond the city limits to include Seneca, Cayuga, Cortland, and Onondaga to the south and north to Oswego, and Jefferson along Lake Ontario’s eastern shores.
Stafford said her goals as coordinator include creating a more inclusive membership and developing and empowering members and new local leaders to strengthen the union.
As an Executive Board member, Stafford also served on various PEF statewide committees, including: Ethics; Nurses’ and Grievance Appeals Committee, which she chaired. She also is PEF chair of the statewide Joint PEF-SUNY Health and Safety Committee.
A teaching and research center nurse 2 at SUNY’s Upstate University Hospital, Stafford participated in PEF’s annual conference in Albany and lobby day activities for nurses’ legislation to require safe patient-staffing ratios, safe patient handling, no mandatory overtime, and protecting the shift differential for SUNY Upstate nurses when SUNY tried to revoke it.
“I had to mobilize our members and meet with local legislators to successfully protect the shift differential for our nurses,” Stafford said.
In addition to SUNY, Stafford said she has worked for the state Office of Mental Health, the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Not only will her broad experience at a variety of state agencies be helpful in working with the diverse membership of Region 4, it should also be an advantage in her other new role as a member of the PS&T Contract Team that will begin negotiations with the state in January.
As demanding as her state and PEF duties have been, Stafford has also made time to serve her community as a volunteer with the North Area Volunteer Ambulance Company known as NAVAC.
Stafford said she grew deep union roots at an early age as part of a union household. Her father was an active member of the Iron Workers Local 9.
“His respect for workers and the value of fair wages, benefits, and working conditions still inspire me today,” Stafford said.