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Letters to the Editor

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Decontaminating air isn’t simple

To the Editor:

You can not simply install “HEPA” filters in an HVAC system. You’d be smarter to ask for UV lights and increase air changes.

Simply adding more resistance to air flow (that’s what a HEPA filter is) will be detrimental to systems that are not designed to operate at a higher static pressure.


Editor’s note: The writer is correct about not just putting HEPA filters in any system, although they are used in hospitals. PEF is not asking for HEPA filters (which are MERV 17-20). PEF recommends the state go by the ASHRAE recommendations for high-efficiency filters of MERV 13. It’s not a one-size-fits-all blanket recommendation. PEF members of health and safety committees have engaged agency management to discuss which locations have systems that can support MERV 13s. In some cases they can, and where they can’t they may be able to install MERV 11s. Other alternatives are also being discussed and considered, such as UV lights or multi-level filtration systems.

Most importantly the filtration alone will not protect people. It must be part of a comprehensive COVID control plan including air exchange, terminal cleaning/disinfection, low density occupancy, masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene.

Thank you, PEF, for informing members

To the Editor:

Thank you for keeping NYS State PEF-represented employees informed. Without you guys giving us the information, we employees would be totally in the dark.

As far as the HVAC and air filters issue, you are right on the money. I feel until this equipment has been properly installed in all New York State offices and facilities in NY City and throughout New York state, no NYS employees should be working in these offices.

I applaud and thank you for your efforts and hard work in addressing these very important issues. Please know that as a NYS employee and PEF member you have my full support.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Best wishes to everyone for good health and safety during these critical and difficult days.

Staten Island

Thinks contract should have been settled before pandemic

To the Editor:

I am convinced we would have had a pre-COVID contract if President Spence and the contract team were not set on wresting control of the dental benefit plan from the state and saving our members a lousy $5 on health care copayments.

Now, here we are 18 months later, with the state in a dire financial situation, making any negotiations for our membership more difficult than they had to be!
Please convince me I am wrong.


Editor’s note: Neither President Spence, nor the PEF Contract Team were seeking to wrest control of the dental benefit from the state. To the contrary, based on membership input, they were seeking a better dental benefit with assurances of a network that would be accessible to all PEF members, including those in less populated areas of the state.

The PEF PS&T Contract Team is trying to navigate a pandemic and economic calamity. When there will be a full reopening of the state and the economy is unknown. Tax revenues are in crisis and the virus threat remains.

Against this reality, the state has indicated that there is no meaningful way to conduct negotiations. The Governor’s Office of Employee Relations has informed those other state-employee unions that previously agreed to a 2 percent raise in exchange, in part, for health care concessions, that their raises have been postponed, perhaps indefinitely. However, their health care concessions are not postponed. They already went into effect. That is not the case for PEF members, because PEF has made no concessions.

PEF is being very deliberate in its analysis as to when and how to best re-engage in negotiations during the pandemic. The union is monitoring economic conditions and the health care crisis. As soon as the bargaining landscape changes, the PEF Contract Team will swiftly set its next negotiations date, which it looks forward to being sooner then later.

Grateful for PEF’s efforts to protect members

To the Editor:

Thank you, President Wayne Spence and PEF, for all you have done and continue to do.

So many PEF members have shared concerns about the lack of a pay raise over the past three years, no PPEs and intentional retaliation against PEF members during the COVID-19 crisis, and refusals to allow teleworking for high risk PEF members and PEF stewards.

NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker held a department teleconference yesterday and stated that HR and the managers should research and review all requests and do everything possible to approve such requests per NYS DOH policy for all state workers (our PEF heroes). An effort by managers continues to recall high risk PEF members and stewards who were originally approved (to work from home). The PEF members continue to share their concerns and retaliation accounts.

In terms of positives concerning the COVID-19 crisis, Oxford, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, and Gilead have treatments as well as other pharmaceutical firms. And the positive HEPA filters and UV lighting (are available).

The NYS commissioner of health stated that public servants have researched , shared medically evidenced-based best practices, offered treatments, air filtration and UV lighting, and are turning NYS from the worst immunization rates and hospitalizations, ICU and intubations, and the worst death rates in the world to the best now in the world.

Much credit to PEF heroes and to PEF. Great work! Never have so few, done so much for so many, with so little.

Thank you and PEF for all you are doing.



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