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The President’s Message

 By Wayne Spence

 

Wayne Spence, PEF President

New Year, Same Commitment

2021 is here, with signs of hope, shared in this issue, of PEF members on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 who have volunteered for the vaccine. But this union will not rest until every member is protected in the workplace.

New York flattened the curve of the pandemic’s first wave, but is now in the middle of a second surge. PEF will continue the fight on multiple fronts to ensure your health and safety, but as always, we need your help. 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.f1627857603ep@yt1627857603efasd1627857603nahtl1627857603aeh1627857603 so we can make the case with management and elected officials that not enough is being done to protect state workers.

In the first week of this year, I have already written more than half a dozen letters to agency leaders demanding they take action to remedy unsafe conditions and unfair practices in their agencies. You can read the letters here. I am committed to sharing their replies and if improved dialogue does not yield sufficient results, we are preparing a statewide media campaign to pressure the state into action. 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.

As I’ve said countless times, sending government employees back into clustered workplaces 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 virus.

Happy New Year to you and your families and thanks again for everything you do to keep New York State running.

In Unity,

Wayne Spence
PEF President


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