Meetings with members great learning opportunity for you and me
I’ve been spending a lot of time traveling around the state and meeting with members in PEF regions from Long Island to Buffalo. I must say this is the part of my job that I like the most! At each visit I make, I come away feeling so impressed with our members who show up to engage in productive discussions about the issues facing PEF and the issues we face in our workplaces.
Thank you to the members I’ve met so far, and my sincere appreciation to the local leaders who work so hard to secure meeting locations and get the word out that I’ll be in their region.
I hope I’ve been doing a good job of answering your questions, but I want you all to know that it’s a two-way street. At the end of every session, I am amazed that I’ve learned something I never knew before about the incredible and vital services you, our members, provide to the state of New York. And I am so proud to share this information with other PEF members, our communities, our lawmakers and the governor. So, thank you for making these membership meetings a learning experience for me too.
There were several themes that emerged at most meetings I attended:
- Discrimination at the worksite. I found the information I learned from PEF members about workplace discrimination was so troubling that we decided to hold a series of workshops around the state (Cheektowaga, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany) and with experts on hand to answer questions and offer resources to help our members deal with employment discrimination issues. It’s so important to have the right tools so these workshops will focus on identifying, documenting and filing discrimination complaints.
We’ve also filed a lawsuit against the State University of New York (SUNY) for alleged age discrimination in the implementation of geographic pay increases for PEF nurses at Stony Brook.
- Civil Service. The continued erosion of the Civil Service system and downsizing or planned closures of state-run facilities continue to be on everyone’s mind — and rightly so. We are currently working with one family in Region 6 who is fighting to keep the state from moving their quadriplegic son from a state-run home because of short staffing in the state facility.
Because the civil service system can be complicated, we’ve added a feature to the eCommunicator to help you navigate the complex system.
And we have some good news this month about how PEF leaders and PEF civil service staff working together were able to help some PEF members in the title of engineering geologist at the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Anti-union forces. While we here in New York state have fared well post-Janus thanks to union protections put in place by the governor and Legislature, anti-union forces are still trying to break us down. I want to thank all of you who signed re-commitment cards and continue to recognize the value of being a PEF member. We’ve joined forces with other New York state unions for a successful billboard and bus card campaign and perhaps you’ve seen the digital video ad we produced warning against the anti-union groups that just might knock on your door one day.
I’ll conclude this month’s message by reminding you that by standing together we can use our collective power to chart a course of dignity and respect as we move forward. And there’s no question that negotiating a strong contract requires an engaged and active membership.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and talk to our brothers and sisters in PEF and other unions, your workplace colleagues and members of your community about the important work you do. We are stronger together!
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.