|By Wayne Spence|
One Year Later, PEF is Still Doing It
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. One year since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. One year since states began issuing stay-at-home directives. And one year since Governor Cuomo issued his “New York on Pause” executive order. Of course, tens of thousands of you never got a break and still haven’t had one, 12 months into the greatest public health crisis New York has ever seen.
The last year has been filled with hardships. We’ve all lost loved ones and friends. Many of you have worked out-of-title supporting the pandemic response effort, and members on the various front lines of the fight — from hospitals to congregate care settings to correctional facilities and many more — have spread yourselves so thin and given so much to help fellow New Yorkers in their time of need.
I am deeply grateful for the dedication PEF members have demonstrated in the last year. And I am proud of what we were able to accomplish together in support of our union brothers and sisters. We’ve updated our “COVID Scorecard” for this issue and some of the numbers are staggering: The union and your donations have contributed more than $360,000 to the PEF Relief Fund, money that helped purchase 3,056 nights in hotel rooms for members working on the front-lines of the state’s COVID response who didn’t want to risk infecting their families. We’ve conducted 350 membership meetings and six virtual town halls in an effort to keep you all informed. And our Organizing and Field Service Departments have held 50 membership appreciation events to recognize members for their tireless work.
Moving into the second quarter of the year, our priorities haven’t changed. Our paramount concern is still your health and safety on the job. So as always, let our Health & Safety Department know at gro.f1618179364ep@yt1618179364efaSd1618179364nAhtl1618179364aeH1618179364 if you see something that doesn’t seem right. As the state expands vaccine eligibility, we will continue to push for all PEF members who want a shot to have access to one. And as the state’s fiscal situation improves with tens of billions of dollars provided in the latest round of COVID relief, we will ramp up our demands for the state to return to the bargaining table so we can negotiate the fair and just contract you have all earned and so richly deserve.
So as signs of Spring appear across our great state, I wish you all health and happiness. I know I’m not alone in looking forward to hugging loved ones I haven’t seen in a year. And when we are once again able to gather in our various committees and councils and conduct the business of this union face-to-face, I can’t wait to greet all of you — the proud members of the Public Employees Federation who have exemplified our union’s motto this past year: PEF Does It!
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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