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Town hall call gives members latest news on state budget, COVID, contract, more

By SHERRY HALBROOK

PEF members joined President Wayne Spence, Secretary-Treasurer Kay Alison Wilkie and top union staff February 4 for a virtual town hall meeting that provided updates on critical issues and a call for every member to reach out to their state Assembly and Senate representatives.

The state budget process is in full swing and members have just a few weeks in February and March to make the case for why the state must back away from proposed closings of state facilities, agency mergers and the consolidation and greater privatization of state services.  Members are urged to speak up to defend their jobs and services.  Sample letters to state legislators on priority budget issues are available on the PEF website for members to personalize and send..

Members participating in the call also received updates on lawsuits PEF has filed on their behalf, information about COVID-19 vaccinations, and PEF’s efforts to get the state to extend telecommuting and paid leave for members exposed or testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Information was provided on additional COVID matters and the union announced PEF will soon offer more training.

Spence urged members not to put off applying to use their vacation accruals because the state may stop rolling unused leave forward, and the union will only be able to successfully fight for you to keep your leave if you applied to use it but were denied.

Wilkie briefed members on the union’s finances, as well as the continuing renovations at PEF headquarters in Albany to eliminate the need for frequent and costly repairs.  Spence joined her in emphasizing that they have no intention to raise members’ dues, which are the lowest in the state and have not increased in two decades.

“President Spence and I are committed to not increasing dues!” Wilkie said.

You may listen to the entire call, which lasted about an hour, here.