|By Wayne Spence|
Together we are UNION STRONG!
As we enter 2020, I would like to thank you once again for the privilege and honor of serving you as the president of the Public Employees Federation.
This time of year is a good time to look back on all we’ve accomplished together over the last 12 months, as well as a time to look forward to the new year to come.
We all know it hasn’t been an easy time for labor unions since the Janus Supreme Court decision, but I am happy to report that in spite of the attacks trying to silence the labor movement in the United States, the state of our union is STRONG! We are perhaps stronger than we’ve ever been.
You might ask how that can be. Well, the simple answer is: we were ready! Not only did we knock on doors, meet with members in their homes and on the job and have frank conversations about the value of unions and what it means to be a part of PEF, but we tightened our fiscal belts, making strategic changes that give us the power to make sure you, our members, receive the services you deserve such as:
• Negotiating a contract that provides members with the monetary, health benefits, retirement security, and respect we all deserve;
• Protecting our members’ safety and health in the workplace;
• Conducting legislative advocacy to make our members’ voices heard;
• Organizing in our workplaces; and
• Working with communities to improve the quality of life for all working families.
Our contract team has been hard at work negotiating a new contract that we can be proud to present to you, our membership. It is my intention to ensure we keep you informed on the talks by posting updates on the PEF website and social media pages and with video updates from the contract team after each negotiating session has concluded.
I want to thank you all for showing tremendous support for the contract team this year by participating in our Hashtag Fridays and Members in Black campaigns and especially at the Labor Day parades and events around the state. This is the kind of member participation that sends a message to the governor and his team that We Are Union Strong!
The time we spent building and strengthening relationships resulted in some really important wins for our members in the last legislative session.
It’s important to remember that it’s not always about getting bills passed. Sometimes blocking a bill may be the best way to protect PEF members. That’s how we went about fighting the so-called “Less is More” bill – a bill that would have made it very difficult to enforce the rules of parole, making it nearly impossible for our parole officers to do their jobs. The proposal was bad for parole officers, bad for the people they supervise and bad for the communities that parole officers are sworn to protect. We intend to block this bill again, should it come before lawmakers during this year’s legislative session.
Over the summer, many of you participated in the incredibly successful MBP Family Fun Days. These events are a wonderful place for members who may not go to a worksite or membership meeting to learn about PEF and to get to know their PEF brothers and sisters and find out what it means to be part of the PEF family.
As we look ahead to 2020, let’s remember that you are our greatest strength. Unions are about members coming together to gain a strong voice in the workplace and the power to improve their lives. The PEF team is here to stand with you, to fight with you, and to provide the support, tools and resources you need to improve your life and the lives of your members.
Remember, you are not alone. Traveling around the state and meeting with members I feel a strong sense of unity that is growing and expanding across our union. I hope you feel it too, because it is because of you that we remain strong.
As we start a brand new year, I offer you my sincerest thanks for all you do every day on the job and in your communities, and working together I am confident we will have a successful 2020.
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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