Stick with your PEF family.
Question: When does PEF have its greatest success getting you better pay and working conditions, defending your job and avoiding legal pitfalls?
Answer: When PEF members stick together to achieve their goal.
“I’ve been thinking about the challenges coming at us in 2018, and the campaigns that achieved some impressive wins in 2017 and ’16,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “You know what? A lot of those victories started with stickers! It’s amazing how something so simple can allow our thousands of members to focus their energy and will on an issue or a goal we all share, and make a statement that is heard all over the state. Sometimes it’s even heard beyond this state.
“To me, that is so empowering. And I know it really empowered our contract team when we were in negotiations. Because suddenly as leaders we know we are not alone out there on the front lines. We know the members are with us and when we start to see those stickers everywhere it’s almost like we can hear members roaring their encouragement and support. I’ve learned that management and legislators hear it, too. Even other unions see the results and give us more respect.”
“Sticker campaigns help to build PEF’s organizing capacity,” said Daniel Carpenter, PEF regional director of field services and organizing. “When members display a unified message on their stickers, they are telling management or lawmakers we are engaging in solidarity tactics. We are organized and linked arm-in-arm in an unbreakable chain. We are a family. And that is powerful.”
When the action keeps building until it results in a big action, such as the statewide voter rejection of a constitutional convention, “We show what 80 percent to 20 percent really looks like and everyone has to respect that,” Carpenter added.
The PEF Communications Department produces a boundless variety of visual symbols of unity and advocacy for members and leaders to use in campaigns. From lawn signs announcing “A proud public employee lives here,” to magnetic ovals calling on New Yorkers to “Vote No” on a state constitutional convention, to brilliant yellow hats and scarves proclaiming “PEF,” the union gives its members multiple ways to tell the public and state leaders who they are and what’s important to them. But at the very foundation of these campaigns you are likely to find the lowly stickers that build the foundation of solid support for all of the more advanced communications that may follow.
“I find our members love to be part of the action and knowing that their participation, even on a small scale, makes a big difference,” Spence said.
Not every sticker campaign is statewide. Some are tailored to focus on an issue at a worksite or a job title, or an agency.
“Take a minute to think back to some of these campaigns and their stickers,” Spence said, “because it helps you see the scope of our issues and how powerful we can be when we all stick together.”
Stickers, for instance, have been a first line of defense in treating what ails PEF nurses and health care workers. More than a dozen sticker designs have been prescribed for maladies such as too much overtime, too few workers and too little pay at hospitals from Stony Brook on Long Island to Buffalo’s Roswell Park. While these harried professionals have little time or opportunity to personally speak out and speak up, they are glad to let their stickers say it for them.
Parole officers in the Bronx turned to stickers to demand the respect they deserve, and PEF’s many professionals at the state Office of Information Technology Services have found sticker “code” can be a powerful little “app” in reminding the state that public employees “can do IT!”
Across all state services that sticker message translates to: “Go Public! Invest in public employees.”
If you have ideas for stickers to convey PEF’s messages in coming months, pass them along to gro.f1601568415ep@ro1601568415tacin1601568415ummoc1601568415eht1601568415. Who knows? Your idea might just stick out from all the rest.
— By SHERRY HALBROOK
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