PEF focus on contract, parole bill
As I write this, we are deep in contract negotiations with the state and we are dealing with a potentially dangerous bill coming forward in the last days of the 2019 state legislative session. I want to update you on both of these very important issues.
PEF’s negotiations on a new PS&T contract with the state are going strong. And even in these early days of talks, I am gratified to see the PEF contract team can count on your show of support as it continues to work hard negotiating the contract you all deserve.
As contract talks got underway, PEF members from every region of the state and from every agency participated in our Members in Black campaign and now in its second week, the PEF #ashtagFridays campaign is going strong!
You might ask how campaigns like these can result in a better contract for the membership. That is a valid question and the answer is simple: A visibly united membership gives the PEF contract team added strength at the bargaining table. We have, in fact, started hanging photos of our members on the walls during contract talks to ensure the governor’s team never forgets the important work we all do for the residents of New York state while figuratively giving each one of us a seat at the table.
The members of the PEF contract team, chaired by Region 10 Coordinator Darlene Williams, heard your voices at the contract town halls and teleconferences we held earlier this year and believe that PEF members have a #RealVoice and deserve #RealRespect! As the negotiation process continues, you can be assured the PEF contract team will not let up in its efforts to ensure all PEF members earn a fair wage and have adequate health care benefits at a fair cost. We will accept nothing less. To this end, our team, along with chief negotiator Mark Richard is developing an arsenal of tactics, should we need them, to fight fire with fire.
What can you do to support the PEF team?
- Continue to send us your #ashtagFridays photos (gro.f1600778563ep@tn1600778563arbll1600778563iwk1600778563) and share them on your own social media pages so our friends, family and communities can show the governor’s team that PEF members have support for the work we do providing vital services to all of New York state.
- Check the PEF website, official PEF Facebook and Twitter pages for contract updates.
- Be prepared to engage in the kinds of actions that demonstrate our determination and unity.
Unity is our strongest asset and together we remain #UNIONSTRONG!
I also want to bring to your attention another matter that is causing us great concern.
Earlier this legislative session, state Sen. Brian Benjamin and Assemblyman Walter Mosley introduced the “Less is More” anti-parole legislation. This bill would allow more individuals to become eligible for parole under certain conditions, and keep others from returning to jail after their release.
We believe that if passed and signed into law, this bill would most likely have an extremely negative impact on violating parolees when it comes to revocation discretion of presumptive release, parole, conditional release and post-release supervision.
Because of the danger I believe this legislation presents, I met with PEF Division 236 Council Leader Tony Perez and Assistant Council Leader Gina Lopez and held face-to-face meetings with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Sen. Benjamin and Assemblyman Mosley to explain how this bill would limit the role of parole officers and endanger public safety in our communities.
As a result of these conversations, the bill sponsors sought guidance and recommendations from PEF leadership to amend and incorporate within the current bill language.
I met with all PEF-elected parole leaders May 28 in Albany to get their input and expertise to assist the PEF Legislative Department with revisions to the bill. The PEF Legislative Department has been working with the bill sponsors on new language.
Sadly, as recently as this month, we saw on the news the horrifying details of parolees accused of committing heinous and violent crimes.
We believe passage of the “Less is More” legislation will just mean more such crimes will be committed. I know you will join me and your brothers and sisters in NYS Parole in opposing this dangerous legislation that would put the safety of our neighborhoods at risk.
Membership cards are ALWAYS available online at https://apps.pef.org/join-pef.html, or you can request one through your steward, council leader or regional coordinator.