This year more than any other, PEF members received multiple dishonest communications via email and regular mail containing false details about opting out of the union. Organized labor is often the target of propaganda and disinformation at the hands of anti-union groups seeking to weaken and divide the power of working people.
To combat this, the PEF Organizing Department set up an information table at the Empire State Plaza in Albany to educate members about the value of their union membership and benefits. The initiative was first introduced during a telephone town hall held by President Wayne Spence in November.
“We will be set up at a table in the Empire State Plaza every December Wednesday during lunch time to talk to members and employees in the area about PEF, the contract, and other issues,” PEF Organizing Director Dan Carpenter said during the town hall. “For those who are not in Albany and cannot visit the plaza, please email me — Daniel.Carpenter@pef.org — and we will connect with your leaders and figure out how to provide this education to you and other members.”
On December 6, PEF Assistant Director of Organizing, Dr. Christine Pluviose, spent hours answering questions from members who stopped by the PEF table, including many who just recently signed their union cards.
Many members already knew about the anti-union tactics deployed by various organizations, either from being members in other unions before PEF or because they received a particularly disingenuous recent postcard in the mail – pretending to offer $800 in exchange for dropping their PEF membership.
“Like I would leave the union for $800!” said one member who stopped by the table. “My contract is worth much more than that.”
Members curious about PEF’s presence on the plaza also stopped by to discuss the contract and new benefits, especially the new dental stipend, which provides members with $400 every year that New York State chooses to contract with EmblemHealth to deliver dental insurance to PEF members.
“We want members to know that we are doing our absolute best to make sure they are covered,” Pluviose said. “We want them to know that their union has their back and is mitigating costs.”
Members also dropped by to discuss issues with their agencies and were told by Pluviose that they should reach out to PEF any time they face issues or are thinking about filing a grievance. She assured new members to take advantage of the protection PEF offers them in the event of any disciplinary measure by management.
“You do not want to enter the room alone if that happens,” Pluviose said. “Reach out to us, or if you know who your field representative is, reach out to them immediately.”
“PEF on the Plaza” will take place one more time this year — on Wed., Dec. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.