Delegates should have been vaccinated

To the Editor: 
PEF should be sanctioned for not requiring vaccination by participants in the recent convention.

Ramsey, NJ

Editor’s Note: First and foremost, PEF supports vaccination as a critical piece of layered prevention strategies (including masking, enhanced ventilation, etc.) to combat COVID-19. The science is sound and the vaccine does what it was designed to do – prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.   

The arrangements for PEF’s 2021 Constitution were handled by PEF’s Convention Committee and PEF staff.  Those responsible for Convention planning were cognizant of the potential risks of holding an in-person convention and took the responsibility of doing so very seriously, and did so with the health and safety of attendees always in the forefront of their considerations. 

The Convention Committee, with the assistance and support of PEF staff, developed very strict COVID protocols using CDC and New York State DOH guidelines, and in consultation with the Niagara County Department of Health.  PEF’s COVID protocols were strict and consistent with federal, State and local health department guidance. 

PEF’s protocols for the 2021 convention included, but were not limited to: enhanced ventilation in convention space; mandatory masking for all PEF events; social distancing and density restrictions for PEF events; and availability of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at all PEF events.  PEF also had a system in place for attendees to report COVID exposures or symptoms prior to and throughout the duration of the Convention. 

PEF provided details on the COVID prevention controls to Delegates well in advance of the Convention and included contact for testing sites in and around the convention area. Further, PEF encouraged all attendees to get vaccinated in advance of the convention and communicated the benefits of vaccination to all attendees.  Additionally, PEF ran a vaccination clinic on site for attendees who were eligible for vaccines or boosters. 

As a result of the diligent and exhaustive planning and execution of PEF’s COVID protocols, PEF’s 2021 Convention was conducted in accordance with PEF’s Constitutional mandates, accomplishing the business of the members, without a single documented exposure resulting from any member’s attendance at the Convention or any related PEF sponsored event.  

Fight vaccination mandates

To the Editor: 
Please fight the mandates.


PEF should support mandated vaccination

To the Editor:

At this stage in the pandemic, PEF should be 100% on board with other forward-looking organizations and employers, and advocate for mandated COVID vaccinations for all PEF members, with only limited medical exceptions the rule.

The current scheme to require weekly testing of those who have, thus far, refused to be vaccinated (for whatever reasons – some political, some based on misinformation, but all clearly misguided), burdens taxpayers who supposedly have to foot the $75/test bill for the willfully ignorant.  It’s time for PEF to move to the head of the pack and demand that the governor mandate that all state employees be vaccinated.  That’s a step that truly represents workers – protecting their health and safety.  Will PEF step up to the plate?


Editor’s note:  PEF encourages all members to be vaccinated against COVID.  However, the union must and is working to ensure that every members’ contractual and legal rights are respected in this matter.

Did limit for cashing in accruals change?

To the Editor: 
I see the 40-50 hour accrual change. Was there any change to how many hours will be paid upon retirement? I think it is currently 225?

Sea Cliff

Editor’s note: There is no change to the contract or attendance rules regarding the amount of accrued hours of leave that may be liquidated upon separation.  It’s still capped at 225 (or 240 for employees who work a 40-hour week).

Retirees want Silver Sneakers benefit

To the Editor:

Our local community center in Vancouver, WA, participates in Silver & Fit and Silver Sneakers.  Has PEF ever considered negotiating to have these programs, which emphasize well being and physical fitness, in our Medicare supplement contract?

We pay monthly to belong to our center, but most friends have Silver & Fit included in their Medicare plans.  They pay no extra Medicare premium and pay no fees to belong to any facility offering these programs.

PEF is always on the cutting edge of personal wellness programs.  Silver & Fit matches PEF’s ideology.  If you haven’t already looked into it, please do!

Robyn Eskenazi Gray

Dean Gray
Vancouver, WA

Editor’s note:  Silver Sneakers is offered by some HMOs, but not by the NYS Empire Plan.  The coverage provided by the Empire Plan is negotiated by the state Department of Civil Service.  In addition, PEF may only negotiate on behalf of employees it represents.  It is barred from negotiating on behalf of its retirees.

Wants union scholarship info

To the Editor:
I am interested in learning about the scholarships offered within PEF to members’ dependents.

My daughter will be graduating high school this coming fall 2022.


Editor’s note: Information about PEF and other scholarships for members and their children is included in this issue of The Communicator and on the PEF website.

When is retroactive longevity pay coming?

To the Editor: 
When are the retroactive payments for longevity going to be paid?

Staten Island

Editor’s note: The Office of the State Comptroller has not yet issued their payroll bulletin, but PEF has been advised that retro longevity payments will be distributed in the Feb. 10, 2022, paycheck for members on the institutional payroll and the Feb. 16, 2022, paycheck for members on the administrative payroll.