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Letters to the Editor

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Thanks, PEF, for good work

To the Editor:

Thanks very much for keeping me up-to-date on PEF.

PEF has always done a great job in representing the best interests of its members.

I am now retired, but am still a proud member of PEF Retirees. Thank you, and keep up the good work!



How long do new contract deals take?

To the Editor:

OK, thanks for you efforts, but we’ve been working without a contract for more than six months. What’s the timeline for a tentative agreement and a vote?


Editor’s Note:

There is no way to know how long it will take to reach tentative agreement on a PS&T contract. Negotiations cover 50 contract articles affecting members on many levels. Pay raises are just one of the issues. Negotiations of previous contracts have taken months and often they have taken years. It is exhausting, frustrating work. But nothing moves the bargaining forward in a positive direction better than unbending unity among the members in support of their bargaining team.

Men’s sick leave credit 15% too low

To the Editor:

One of the key inputs used by the state formula for calculating the monetary value of a (retiring) employee’s sick leave accrual is one’s life expectancy.   The longer one is expected to live, the lower the monthly sick-leave credit available to offset the cost of one’s insurance premium.  This makes sense since the value of the accrued leave must be stretched out to cover a person’s full life expectancy.

Women, on average, live longer than men.  Therefore, if a man and woman retire at the same age with the same sick leave accrual, the man’s monthly sick leave credit should be higher than the woman’s.  However, this is not the case.

The state uses a “uniform” life-expectancy table that does not take gender into account and, instead, uses the same life expectancy for both men and women.

So, to be fair, one might expect that table to be based on a blended life expectancy of men and women.  Not so!  The state only uses the longer life expectancy of females, thus shortchanging the monthly sick-leave credit for men.

Does this really matter?  Damn straight it does!

Take a look at NYS’ Self-Help Guide to Pre-Retirement Planning.  The beginning of Chapter 6 contains a Life Expectancy Chart.  According to the chart, a 65-year-old man is expected to live 17.75 more years; while a woman of the same age is expected to live 20.32 more years.   In other words, a 65-year-old woman is expected to live almost 15 percent longer than a man of the same age.  In monetary terms, it means that when it comes to their monthly sick-leave credit men are short-changed to the tune of 15 percent. This is plain out discrimination.

Did this happen by accident?  More to the point, does PEF know about this? If so, what is PEF doing about it?

Teaneck, NJ

Editor’s Note:

PEF appreciates members bringing work-related issues to its attention. It will look into any unwarranted and unfair disparity.

Raise the bar for PEF delegates

To the Editor:

I take strong exception to the sentiments in the October issue of The eCommunicator, saying, “Showing up is one of the most important things union members can do.”

Really?   Just “showing up” is all you expect of the delegates to the PEF Convention?   Here’s a reality check:  It’s not a key virtue, but an obligation.  PEF pays the delegates to be there.  That’s not a virtue. It’s simply the right thing to do.

What is a key virtue is participation.  How about raising the bar for PEF delegates, and making participation – getting up to the mic, writing and defending resolutions in committee and on the floor, and otherwise doing what they’re elected to do – the new expectation?


Just get us a contract

To the Editor:

The lack of a contract is bewildering. The transparency of the contract negotiations is black as night. I have lost faith in the leadership.

When a contract is agreed to, it has to go out to vote, mailings, etc. This is truly a waste of time, money and other valuable resources.

I am starting to question why I keep paying my dues. Just get a deal done so we can move on.


Editor’s Note:

Money is not the only issue in the contract that matters. Take a look at the lead story in this issue of your eCommunicator to understand that workplace safety is one of many issues that are fundamentally important to PEF members every day they go to work and that can not be achieved by pay raises alone. Job security is another overarching issue that is just as important as pay hikes.

The union is obligated to negotiate the best agreement it can for its members and if the PEF Executive Board feels a tentative agreement that is reached with the state provides sufficient benefit to the members it would vote to send that to members for their votes. Not all unions allow their members to personally vote on their contracts, but PEF has always been wholly committed to letting members make that choice.

Members have not always ratified the tentative agreements PEF has sent to them. If the members reject a tentative agreement, the union’s and the governor’s negotiators must return to the bargaining table and try again to reach terms that members will accept.

Credentialing issue haunts retiree

To the Editor:

It amazes me that, after 29-plus years with the criminal investigation unit (at the state Department of Taxation and Finance) as a criminal investigator with police status, we, who have retired, were never issued police credentials as our predecessors were.

All of this changed when one director came in and changed our identifications. So why is it that, prior to that, investigators who retired received their police credentials, and thereafter no more police credentials?  We made arrests, conducted search warrants and much more, yet it seems that we are not entitled to our police credentials.

As a retired criminal investigator/police officer, I feel cheated, as do many of my former co-workers who have devoted and given so much of themselves to the NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance criminal investigation unit.

Our union has failed us.

The Bronx

Editor’s Note:

As the writer points out, the change in credentialing resulted from an upper management decision. As a public employee union in New York state, PEF is prohibited by state law from negotiating with the state on behalf of its retired members.


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