STATEMENT BY PEF PRESIDENT WAYNE SPENCE REGARDING CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIVE
In recent days, I have heard from many PEF members who are anxious to know when contract negotiations will begin. They also want to be reassured that we will be aggressive in the negotiations.
With regard to the start of the process, we were asked recently by the Executive for a short delay in the start of discussions. This was described to us as simply a matter of the administration needing some time to complete its preparations. We agreed with the request and are on standby for discussions to begin shortly. We will inform members when the formal talks have begun.
With regard to our stance in these discussions, I want you to know that my team and I are committed to doing our very best for members and yes, we will be aggressive.
But for strategic reasons, we do not want to adopt a confrontational stance. To the contrary, I want to work collaboratively with the Executive to achieve a fair contract for members.
My staff and I have been in regular communication with the Executive. This includes direct conversation with senior administration officials, including Jim Malatras, as well as preliminary interaction with the Executive’s negotiating team.
Our discussions have been cordial and forthright. I believe there is an appreciation by the administration of the fact that PEF members provide outstanding public service and that we sacrificed three years ago in contract talks. I believe this service and sacrifice will be acknowledged appropriately.
That said, we must be realistic in our expectations. We must understand that good contracts are negotiated, not bestowed.
As this process moves forward, I will do my best to apprise you of important developments. However, I do not believe that our interests are served by negotiating in the media. For this reason, there will be an extended period in which we refrain from comment and allow our representatives and those of the Governor to work through the issues.
We have a seasoned team of professionals working on our behalf. They will engage their counterparts from the administration and the issues will be narrowed one by one. Eventually, there will be a contract proposal that members will have the opportunity to study and vote upon.
I ask for your patience as this process unfolds. I also ask for unity of purpose moving forward. We all want the same thing – a fair contract. When the process begins soon, we must stand together.