|By Wayne Spence|
We Got Through 2020 Together and That’s How We’ll Face 2021
This is the final Communicator of 2020, which makes it a perfect time to look back and look ahead.
The cover of this issue graphically summarizes what we as a union accomplished this year. It was certainly a year unlike any other and PEF members demonstrated that their work is critical to keep New York state running. Every day thousands of you risked your health to serve fellow New Yorkers in need.
New York flattened the curve of the pandemic’s first wave, but is now in the middle of a second surge. As you heard in this month’s Telephone Town Hall, PEF is fighting on many fronts to ensure your health and safety. As management continues to return employees to work despite evidence that thousands of you can effectively telecommute from home, we’ve put together a toolkit to help you check if the proper COVID controls are in place at your worksite. When you see a lack of compliance in your agency, I implore you to send us photos if you can do so safely. Not enough hand sanitizer for your agency’s size? Take a picture. No signs in the elevator indicating maximum occupancy during the pandemic? Take a picture. Inadequate mask supply? Take a picture. Send them all to gro.f1611670181ep@yt1611670181efasd1611670181nahtl1611670181aeh1611670181 so we can make the case with management and elected officials that not enough is being done to protect state workers.
Forcing government employees back into clustered workspaces demonstrates the disconnect between the governor’s public statements and agency management’s interpretation of those statements. Their actions have put the workforce and local communities at risk from this unrelenting aggressive virus.
As the calendar turns to 2021, I promise you that we are preparing to increase pressure on the state to live up to their promises. “Follow the Science” is among the governor’s most popular phrases. So why are PEF members returning to work in micro-cluster zones that are orange or even red? It is simply not right and enough is enough. If the administration and agency managers do not take immediate action in the new year, we plan to roll out a public awareness campaign on multiple fronts. Look for billboards, digital videos and radio ads aimed at increasing public awareness of the critical work PEF workers do and the utter failure of the state to protect you and your families.
Finally, a word of thanks. In a tragic year beyond belief, I’ve met so many of you on the front lines who define what it means to be in a union. We are truly all in this together and we will fight unfair treatment, together. From all of us at PEF, please celebrate safely this holiday season.
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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