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Letters to the Editor

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Wants cheaper NYSHIP rates for couples

To the Editor:

Please help married retired PEF members over age 65 with no dependents.

We are getting charged premiums by the NYS Health Insurance Program at family rates, when we are only two senior citizens.

We desperately need a legitimate two-person rate.

LARRY ECKHAUS
Delmar

Editor’s note:

While state law does not allow PEF to negotiate benefits for retirees, it has taken this issue of couples paying family rates under consideration in approaching PS&T contract negotiations with the state. 

Although it seems logical that health coverage for two people should cost less than coverage for larger families, that may not be true because the rates are based on actual costs and usage of the benefit.  Larger families tend to be younger and healthier than retired couples, so the issue is more complicated than it appears at first glance. 

The state has suspended contract negotiations with PEF  since the pandemic began last March, but the PEF Contract Team is ready to resume negotiations as soon as the state returns to the bargaining table, and the team will make every effort to get the best health benefits at the least cost that it can secure.


Was expecting more from PEF

To the Editor:

I’ve been a PEF member since December 2017.  PEF has done nothing, but disappoint me. I thought I was golden when I became a PEF-represented employee. I thought wrong.

CATHY MIDDLETON
West Sand Lake

Editor’s Note:

PEF is very sorry to disappoint any member.  If you want help with a workplace issue, please talk to your PEF division steward or your PEF field representative.  The union will always advocate for your rights under the contract and under the law. 

Beyond that kind of personal representation, the entire PEF organization of both elected leaders and union staff work tirelessly to advocate for members workplace needs, including their health and safety during this pandemic. 

The state has suspended contract negotiations with PEF during the pandemic, but the union is ready to return to the bargaining table at any time.  Meanwhile the union is in touch with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and with commissioners and managers at various state agencies whenever new issues arise. 

If you have special concerns or ideas for how to improve the union’s efforts, please let PEF know. 


What happened to PEP?

To the Editor:

I am new to PEF with one year. I received an email from the Business Service Center about the PEP- 2021 productivity enhancement program where you can cash in accruals to reduce health insurance premiums for the year. I called the BSC and they said that it is not offered to PEF members.

Why not? Is there another similar program for PEF members? Please advise. This is an outstanding benefit.

JEFFREY STAATS

Albany

Editor’s note:

The Governor’s Office of Employee Relations recently notified PEF that it has chosen not to extend PEP to its PS&T employees (represented by PEF) in 2021.  PEF is actively trying to persuade GOER to reverse that decision.  For more information see the article about it that appeared in the November 2020 issue of The Communicator.


Wants better dental insurance

To the Editor:

Please get us the same dental coverage that CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) has.  Ours is not as good as theirs.

THOMAS LEID
Fredonia

Editor’s note:

Currently, PEF, along with several other state-employee unions, receives dental insurance through the state’s NYSHIP program.  CSEA, however, provides its dental insurance through a union-administered benefit fund.

PEF is concerned that many of its members do not have access to network dentists through the state-provided plan and this results in higher out-of-pocket costs for those members.  

Dental insurance is, indeed, a priority in PEF’s negotiations for a successor agreement.  To that end, PEF put out a dental insurance RFP (request for proposals) earlier this year.  PEF has reviewed the proposals submitted by the carriers and will meet with them individually for one-on-one discussions.

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