September 9, 2019
PEF sets record straight on members’ transfer to 1199 SEIU
BY JANE BRIGGS
The papers finalizing the smooth transfer of about 100 PEF-represented members at Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport to representation by 1199 SEIU (Service Employees International Union) are ready to be signed. The 100 employees, consisting of clerical workers and lab technicians, voted overwhelmingly August 5 to join the rest of the employees at the hospital, who were already being represented by 1199 SEIU.
PEF President Wayne Spence said, “The idea for the transition was first brought to us by a US Department of Labor official who noted that PEF was using a lot of resources to represent a tiny fraction of the membership. We brought the idea to the PEF Executive Board, and it voted to give us the authority to explore the proposal.”
Over the course of many months, both PEF and 1199 SEIU held numerous meetings, including four town halls, with the employees to make sure all their questions were answered.
Spence said, “It makes perfect sense for these employees to be represented by 1199. Both 1199 and PEF are locals of SEIU and just as PEF is an expert in public-employee representation, 1199 is an expert in private-employee representation. This was simply moving these members from one SEIU local to another SEIU local.”
In spite of the positive result for both the employees and PEF, some anti-union individuals, organizations and newspapers have chosen to present this outcome as a negative for the PEF membership.
PEF Secretary-Treasurer Kay Alison Wilkie said, “Federal decision makers decided that the LMRDA (Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act) does not apply to organizations that solely represent state and local government employees. So, when this change is finalized and PEF becomes a union that represents only public employees, its reporting requirements under the LMRDA will change by operation of law. But, PEF has every intention to have its financial management and guidance still comport to LMRDA standards and will continue to be transparent with its members regarding financial matters, by providing access to its audits and quarterly financial updates on the PEF website and in The eCommunicator. Any assertion that PEF is trying to avoid accountability is blatantly false.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers which is also an international affiliate of PEF, reacted to the recent inaccurate and slanted media reports, saying, “Anyone who had simply checked into facts and background of PEF’s internal governance before they wrote inaccurate news stories would have quickly concluded it’s a non-story. They quickly would have realized that PEF complies with the AFT constitution, which has stringent rules that require independent annual audits, financial disclosure to members and leaders, constant reporting, union election safeguards and strong enforcement standards. The AFT has very high standards, in part based on our commitment to transparency and our fiduciary respect to our members, and PEF supports and complies with them all. Next time, I hope people will ask questions before they quickly come to a false conclusion. PEF has nothing to hide.”
CLICK HERE to view all stories featured in the September 2019 Communicator!
Follow and Like Us On:
For best desktop viewing use the latest Google Crome browser