Home » Media Center » The Communicator » President Message – Oct 2020

The President’s Message

 By Wayne Spence


Wayne Spence, PEF President

PEF’s working for you; please help by voting

As you have heard by now, we were able to extend the Statewide Telecommuting Agreement until January 1, 2021. Having heard from many members, I understand the anxiety of traveling in a crowded subway, bus, and elevator during this pandemic, as well as the unknown issues associated with childcare and schools during a state-of-emergency, and the danger associated with underlying health conditions related to cramped work areas while COVID-19 is still out there.  We will continue to do everything possible to protect members. COVID-19 remains a force that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and PEF has gone to great lengths to make sure you have the proper information:

• PEF Workers Comp and COVID-19 Factsheet
• PEF COVID-19 Exposure Tracking Form
• PEF Health & Safety  COVID-19 Information
• PEF 4-23-20 Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 & Workers Comp

Please be sure to document your exposures, even if asymptomatic, on the PEF COVID-19 exposure and tracking form.

Our collective union influence is used daily, but this power was demonstrated and amplified throughout the current COVID crisis. From telecommuting to leave accruals, PEF does it. From hard fought health and safety protections to the unfair delay of the April 1 paycheck, PEF does it. And from providing daily information updates to assisting members with a multitude of grievances, PEF does it. As you have probably experienced, state agencies are constantly seeking to shed responsibility and circumvent contractual protections. As your president, I will not sit idly by and permit any union member to return to a dangerous work atmosphere or allow management to take advantage, especially while the state-of-emergency is in effect. People’s lives are at stake.

A union’s survival depends on cooperation between all of our members. That unity was demonstrated this month at our 42nd Annual Convention, held virtually for the first time from Oct. 18-21. This issue of The Communicator contains summary articles about the convention — from my State of the Union and the Secretary-Treasurer’s Report to informative workshops about everything from filing Worker’s Comp claims to taking advantage of your Employee Assistance Program.  I hope delegates learned a lot and I’m proud that they considered eight resolutions during plenary sessions.  I know we had quite a few new delegates this year and I’d like to once again give credit to a group of PEF members who do not always receive proper recognition.  Within PEF, there is a dedicated group of volunteers with the titles of stewards, council leaders, regional coordinators and Executive Board members who work tirelessly on your behalf. These volunteers — almost 1,000 in number —  work all across the state. They are the protective wall between you and overzealous management. Think of them as sentries on duty with their hands on their swords, ready to protect you. These stewards, council leaders, regional coordinators and Executive Board members spend countless hours of their own time to make sure the business of the union is accomplished and that your issues are properly addressed. From my executive team and I, we would like to say thank you to all our volunteers across the state. PEF is greater because you enforce the contract and protect members locally. We are PEF strong and this is what we do.

As I mentioned in my September message, I am not one to ever tell someone how to vote. However, I would ask that you please exercise your right and vote in this upcoming election. It is important for all elected officials to know that you are politically active and that you are a member of a union. Each collective voice is important, and I want yours to count. Would I like for you to consider voting for the elected officials your local union leaders recommended for a full PEF endorsement? Of course, but I am realistic and understand that we all have personal ideologies. The only thing I ask is that you look at the legislators who have allowed or enabled attacks on unions and decide whether they stand with you and your family or with the corporations and interests that hold down working people.  Although diverse in titles, regions and state agencies, we have so much in common as a union. We all share a desire to financially provide for ourselves and our families, to work in a safe environment, to be free from overly aggressive management and to be treated with respect. As a union, we must focus on our similarities rather than our differences.

We are PEF strong and this is what we do.

Wayne Spence
PEF President


I am a proud memberThank you for all you do!

#RealVoice #RealRespect #RealProfessionals

Membership cards are ALWAYS available online at http://www.pef.org/join-pef, or you can request one through your steward, council leader or regional coordinator.

CLICK HERE to view all stories featured in the Communicator!