|A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr|
Uncommon times are upon us
It is late July and I am writing this article for the September issue of The Communicator. September brings us to the end of summer and a transition to fall. In early September we celebrate Labor Day. This year, because of COVID, Labor Day will be unlike years past. We will need to find new and creative ways to celebrate in 2020.
I believe a historical perspective is in order because we need to appreciate the meaning of this important holiday. When America was founded, most people were either farmers, men of the sea, or involved in some related fields.
As people moved inland, people were becoming more aware of how enormous America really was, and it was natural for people to choose other professions, even that of the discerner.
As the world developed, mining of the many natural resources our country became a way of life which helped build the country. As technology was refined, labor took on a new face.
The more traditional modes of work remained, but the American thirst for innovation became prominent. Labor became organized, unions found their niche in society; and there was a greater emphasis on the dignity of the working person.
Labor Day developed as a way to search for showcasing the back-breaking labor that made America strong, independent, self-sufficient, and the provider for the world.
The early Labor Day parades were made up of the common Joe who went to work, took pride in what he did, was paid a fair wage, and reminded the country of her pride in her citizens
Today, there is a tendency to forget about these basic qualities of our everyday lives. If this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that workers are “essential” including doctors, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, grocery store workers, and all the dedicated public servants who work for the good of the public.
I am including below a letter we sent out in July to all PEF Retirees members for whom we have valid email addresses. I hope you find this information useful and I also you to provide us with a current email address. So we can keep you informed about issues that affect us all. You may send your current email address to our staff at *protected email* .
Please stay safe, be well, stay informed and engaged!
Happy Labor Day!
I hope this letter finds you doing well during these unprecedented times of pandemic from COVID-19. The PEF Retirees staff has been working from home in order to stay safe and continue to serve the needs of our retirees.
Our Board has met by using Zoom video conferencing. Some of our chapters have made wellness calls to their membership. We continue to stay engaged at the state and federal level in order to fight to maintain our earned benefits such as affordable quality health insurance, pensions with COLA, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
We can’t do it alone. That’s one reason we are affiliated with organizations such as The New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. When you are a dues-paying member of The PEF Retirees, you are also a member of NYSARA. It sends out a weekly electronic newsletter with great information for seniors. You can check them out at their website for the latest edition of the “Monday Alert”: Go to https://nystate.retiredamericans.org/.
You can also email them at *protected email* with your own email if you want to sign up for the “Monday Alert.”
We have also been engaged politically with the PEF Statewide PAC.
Please share this information with other retirees who we may not have email addresses on file. Email is the fastest, most efficient and economical way to share important information with our members. To update your email address contact: gro.f1621001997ep@og1621001997namr1621001997.
During these difficult times and this new normal, we will continue to represent retirees’ interests and advocate for a secure, well deserved retirement for all working Americans!
Please stay safe, healthy, informed and engaged!
Together we are stronger!!
UPDATES: PEF HQ is still closed while renovations are ongoing and all staff are working remotely including our retiree staff. The Retiree Executive Board held a ZOOM virtual meeting June 29, 2020. All chapter presidents were on this call. A decision was made that due to COVID 19, for the protection and safety of our members and with social distancing requirements in place, we are suspending all meetings and chapter elections of officers until further notice. All officers will remain in place until such time as an in-person meeting or a virtual meeting with a proper quorum present can be scheduled and held. This was a unanimous vote with no abstentions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: On behalf of PEF President Wayne Spence and the entire PEF leadership team, I hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe!
As you know, New York is facing a $13 billion deficit this year and a projected $60 billion shortfall over the next four years.
The HEROES Act – already passed by the U.S. House and sitting on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk, would provide New York $36 billion in operating aid, $3 billion in school aid and another $11.1 billion in resources to protect the health and safety of workers, to provide hazard pay and child care options for essential workers, and to continue Medicaid services and unemployment insurance benefits for struggling New Yorkers.
We need Sen. McConnell and the entire U.S. Senate to pass this critical bill now
Today is a national union day of action to make our collective voices heard! Please take a moment to make your voice heard by contacting your Congressional Representatives regarding the HEROES Act pending consideration in the U.S. Senate.
Your representative can be found at www.house.gov/representatives or by telephone at the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Want to learn more about the HEROES Act and share additional information with other members and friends in New York and in other states? Go to http://allin.rtp.aft.org/heroesact.
Please help us make a difference today!
PEF vice president and PAC chair
INFORMATION ON EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE (ERI) — “There are several bills pending that would provide an early retirement incentive for certain state employees, but to date, no legislation providing such benefit(s) is under active consideration by the relevant committees or has passed either house of the state Legislature.
The most comprehensive legislation introduced to date is A.10595 by Assembly Member Abinati. This legislation, if enacted, would provide:
• PART A: certain members or certain titles designated by management would be eligible for up to three years of additional service credit for an early retirement (one month of extra service up to an additional 36 months of pension credit); and
•PART B: eligible members who are age 55 and have 25 or more years of service would be eligible to self-select retirement without penalty during a specified window.
There is no NYS Senate bill at this time.
As you know, there are layoffs occurring in school districts and municipalities across the state. However, in the near term, given the expense for the benefits provided, we only see the Early Retirement Incentive being enacted and implemented for state employees if the state and Washington, DC are unable to address the state’s $13 billion budget gap effectively and if the governor advances layoffs for state employees.
The minute that we have any clarity on this legislation, we will advise the membership immediately. “
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