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Letters to the Editor

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Tell lawmakers to keep us working from home

To the Editor:

I wrote the following to my NY State assemblyperson and senator, and I hope other folks can send similar emails to theirs. I just want to make it clear, though, that I am expressing only my own personal opinion. This is what I wrote:

I urge you to ask Governor Cuomo to keep state workers working remotely from home, as much as possible. It’s good for all of your constituents.

“Since I and my wife have been working from home, we don’t drive much, which greatly reduces fossil fuel consumption, which of course greatly reduces air pollution, which is good for everyone. Since we don’t drive to our offices, that, of course, reduces traffic, which creates an easier commute for everyone else.

“With COVID-19, working from home also means fewer people interacting, which is a key tool to stopping the spread, which, of course, benefits everyone. We got the vaccines, and we wear masks and do physical distancing. We hope that everyone will get the vaccines, and use masks when necessary. But even so, keeping state workers at home is very useful to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“As you can see, state workers working from home benefits all of your constituents.”    


Editor’s note: PEF continues to negotiate with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations for continued telecommuting benefits.  As you may know, PEF has been able to secure this benefit until July 2, 2021. 

Wants to vote on any raise offered

To the Editor:

Members deserve representation that will not screw up negotiations by making excessive demands.  If the state’s offer includes raises, then put that offer up for a vote by full membership.


Editor’s note:  ​President Spence has made it very clear from day one that he will not accept a contract that does not respect the value of each PEF member. The value of raises can easily be offset by cuts in benefits, such as increasing the share of health insurance premiums that members must pay, or increasing their copays and deductibles. Offers of raises may come with demands to give up job protections.  PEF looks at the entire proposal and seeks the best net value for members.

The PEF Constitution requires any tentative agreement reached at the bargaining table to be presented to the PEF Executive Board, which then votes on whether to send it to the membership for ratification. 

It is extremely expensive to conduct a vote on a contract. The changes to the previous contract must be published and sent to members and the union must hold meetings to explain the changes and answer members’ questions. Then the ballots must be printed and mailed, with pre-paid postage for returned ballots. PEF pays the American Arbitration Association to conduct the referendum and count the ballots. 

The union always tries to send only the best possible tentative contract to the members for a vote, but even then the members may reject it and force the contract team to return to the bargaining table and resume negotiations.

When will contract talks resume?

To the Editor:

When is PEF going to negotiate?


Editor’s note:  ​The PEF contract team continued to prepare and meet throughout the pandemic.  PS&T contract negotiations between PEF and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations restarted April 27 on a virtual basis. (May 18 – Contract Town Hall)  PEF was prepared to continue negotiations throughout the pandemic, but the state refused.

Pay not keeping up with cost of living

To the Editor:

Never in my life have I felt so cheated as I do now by your despicable representation!

Get your acts together and get us a reasonable contract.  When was the last time we didn’t have to take a loss?  When was last time we got a reasonable cost-of-living wage increase?

I’m not sure if you’ve tried to buy any construction materials or groceries lately.

Over here waiting on my 276% wage increase to keep up with the cost of living and raising a family in central New York!  Just out here risking my life to inspect bridges for no extra, thanks.


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