President Wayne Spence and the PEF Contract Team continue to try to engage the state in meaningful dialogue on issues crucial to a contract, including longevity, dental benefits, across-the-board salary increases, and expansion of the Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP).
“Our bargaining demands are consistently being met with ‘no’ from across the table,” said Contract Team Chair Darlene Williams. “Our team is ready to sit down at the table and work out a fair contract but the state continues to say ‘no’ to our proposals.”
High on the list of priorities is increasing longevity pay — something that has remained stagnant since the late 1980s. The Contract Team is fighting for longevity that is “meaningfully proportional” to salaries, Williams said.
“We are also working hard to improve our dental benefits,” Williams said. “We want a better plan that works for everybody. Many of our members lack access and we want to fix that.”
The team is still waiting for data requested from the state to facilitate negotiations around dental benefits.
Talks have also broached on expanding the PEP program, which allows eligible employees to exchange accrued annual vacation leave and/or personal leave in return for credit to be applied toward their employee share of health insurance premiums on a biweekly basis.
“We are looking to expand the PEP program and allow more members to participate,” Williams said.
The Contract Team is also negotiating to achieve gains for PEF members with unique needs, such as hourly employees, fire protection specialists and nurses.
“Some inequities our union brothers and sisters are facing are troubling,” Williams said. “We are advocating for all members within the bargaining unit.”
Hourlies face unique challenges and are ineligible for benefits afforded to other PEF members, such as performance awards and location pay, and are paid sometimes substantially less for the same work. Read some of their stories here. PEF nurses are up against pay inequity with private facilities as well as short staffing. And, fire protection specialists provide valuable assistance in emergencies and care for canines on a 24-hour basis without compensation.
Take action now
PEF has launched a new website, PEFStrong.org, where you can easily submit you support for a fair contract to elected officials.
“All you have to do is click on ‘Demand a Fair Contract’, fill in your name and email address, and your support will be shared with elected officials,” Williams said. “So far, more than 4,000 people have demanded a fair contract for PEF. We need to keep growing that number. We need every member to do this.”
Also featured on PEFStrong are member stories. You can lend your voice to the effort to reach out to the public by sharing your own stories. You can remain anonymous.
“The more stories we share, the more support we can get from the community,” Williams said. “Make your voice heard.”
Share who we are
Help keep the PEF contract in the social media spotlight by sharing PEF’s new video highlighting the varied jobs of members and how they impact New York communities. Share this link on social media accounts, along with the hashtag #PEFDOESIT.
“We want the community to know what PEF members do for them,” Williams said. “Bridge inspectors, parole officers, nurses, engineers, scientists, and so many more — these are all professions the public can relate to and benefits from every day in some way.”
You can also display #PEFDOESIT signs at your workplace, on bulletin boards, in cubicles, wherever your agency permits. Take photos with your sign, share the photos on social media with the #PEFDOESIT hashtag and submit them to email@example.com so we can share them on PEF’s official social media accounts.
“Sharing the video and #PEFDOESIT photos helps us put the power of our 52,000 members behind us when we are at the bargaining table,” Williams said.