November 18, 2021 — This update to November’s Communicator arrives shortly before Thanksgiving. I hope those of you who can safely do so enjoy some well-deserved time with friends and family next week.
I spent some time this month in Puerto Rico at the annual SOMOS conference and then as a member of the board of directors at the Public Employee Conference. Both gatherings left me feeling energized about the power of organized labor and the impact we can have when we come together and advocate for what we believe in. We shared on PEF social media a couple videos of me addressing the PEC board on two priority PEF issues: Fighting for Hazard Pay for all essential workers and reforming “Less is More” parole legislation to better meet the needs of parolees and the officers who supervise them. On the latter issue, we will be rallying against “Less is More” again this coming Monday, Nov. 22, in Rochester, and will have full coverage in the year-end issue of The Communicator.
In this issue, I’d like to call your attention to PEF’s ongoing advocacy regarding the crisis in the mental health system in New York State. PEF Vice President Randi DiAntonio testified on Nov. 9 before an Assembly committee and was widely quoted in media stories across the state. We also have a trio of stories about Convention 2021 workshops that took place last month in Niagara Falls on the subjects of telecommuting, health and safety in the workplace, and the Justice Center. All the workshops were full to COVID capacity (50% for each room) and it was great to see so many PEF members participating!
• Workshop details telecommuting agreement in contract
• Tools and standards to hold employers accountable for health and safety
• Work with people who have special needs? Protect yourself from charges
Finally, congratulations to PEF members who secured seats on the Executive Board in last month’s special elections and to PEF’s new Region 8 Coordinator Danielle Bridger. If you don’t know your E-Board representative, you can find them here on our website. I encourage you to get to know him or her and let them know what’s on your mind and how you can help them as they do their part to lead the union in the year ahead.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I am grateful for your service and thankful in the trust you’ve placed in me to lead PEF through these trying times.