September 27, 2021 — It’s been a little more than two weeks since our September issue and there is a lot of new information to share with members. First, I’d like to highlight all the union did in advance of today’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. After declaring an impasse with the Public Employment Relations Board, PEF attended a mediation with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and successfully kept GOER from circumventing our collective bargaining agreement when it comes to the disciplinary process. Any of the about 5,800 members subject to the mandate who choose not to get vaccinated will receive their due process rights, as governed in Article 33 of our contract.
On September 14, I attended a PEF rally at the State Capitol focused on understaffing at OPWDD prior to a NYS Senate hearing on the issue. The event received a good deal of press coverage and served as a launching pad for the New York State Fund Our Future coalition PEF has assembled with our parent unions, AFT and SEIU. Convention delegates will hear much more about it next month in Niagara Falls, but it’s a multi-year campaign focused on stopping cuts and restoring critical public services, while also pushing the State to utilize public workers to solve its problems, not private contractors as they’ve done for far too long.
In this Communicator update, you’ll also find profiles of four new PEF regional coordinators. If they represent you, please reach out and get to know them. They can best do their jobs when they hear directly from PEF members about the issues they face.
On the benefits front, I encourage anyone who is interested to sign up for the Productivity Enhancement Program, or PEP. Enrollment is now open and closes on Oct. 1. This negotiated benefit is part of your contract and allows you to cash in accruals for a reduction in your health insurance premiums. It is retroactive this year to July 1, but you must apply. Click here for the enrollment form and more information.
We’ll have another Communicator next month before the Convention, which is Oct. 24-27 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Until then, please continue to stay healthy and safe.