|By Wayne Spence|
PEF with you every step of the way through this crisis
I am so proud of each and every one of our 52,000 members. All of you are playing an important role in helping New York state fight the coronavirus pandemic and keeping New York state running during this emergency. Our union is unique because PEF members, working in nearly 4,000 different titles, touch every facet of society.
What we are facing is unprecedented and from day one PEF members have not only risen to the occasion, but have been on the forefront and the frontline in this crisis.
Your health and safety and that of your loved ones are our number one priority. We have been working 24/7 to ensure you have what you need to stay safe and to provide the quality services New Yorkers need now more than ever.
Our vigorous advocacy, including daily and often times late-night conversations with staff of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) to make sure COVID-19 related policies are being implemented as imagined in state agencies, emails to commissioners on health and safety issues of our members and efforts to get personal protective equipment (PPE) where it is needed most.
We have a been able to:
• negotiate an emergency telecommuting plan;
• submit an “Essential Duty Pay” plan to the governor’s office;
• negotiate a policy allowing members to wear their own protective masks in the workplace;
• secured protective masks for distribution to PEF members and medical masks for health care professionals;
• secured blocks of hotel rooms for PEF nurses around major medical centers in New York state including SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Downstate and SUNY Upstate, and working on a plan to be able to continue this initiative for as long as needed;
• call attention to the unfairness of delaying state paychecks for the very workers that are putting their lives on the line for New York state;
• sent a strong letter to the commissioner of the state Department of Health (DOH) opposing a DOH plan to return suspected or confirmed COVID-19 staff back to work during staff shortages;
• tracking new budget legislation and how it impacts PEF members;
• set up a web page on pef.org with COVID-19 information, copies of letters sent to agency commissioners, and a comprehensive FAQ document that is updated DAILY with new information as soon as we receive it;
• held several tele-town halls where members could get questions to answers they have.
There is still much to be done. Please continue to reach out to your PEF field representative or local union leader with any questions and please let us know what you are facing at your worksite. We hear you and are vigorously advocating for your safety! We are in this fight together and together we will get through it.
Thank you, PEF heroes for your work, your dedication and your continued commitment to PEF and the residents of New York state.
Thank you for all you do!
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.
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