Happy New Year to the proud public employees of PEF! I hope you all found a moment during the holidays to reflect on the power of our union in 2022, like we did in this year-ending issue. From rallies to parades to in-person gatherings across the state, the union worked hard to protect your rights and keep you safe at work this year.
2023 is off to a fast start and in this update before our February issue, we’ve included quite a few new stories. I first want to draw your attention to the PEF heroes of the Buffalo blizzard. I was on the phone with agency commissioners when the storm hit and they all sang the praises of our members who pitched in to help out co-workers, many of them missing holiday celebrations with their own families. As always, I am humbled by the generosity shown by PEF members to New Yorkers in times of need.
The Legislative Session is underway in Albany and to kick things off I was honored to attend this year’s State of the State address, where PEF’s political power was on display like never before. Among the PEF staff accompanying me on Jan. 10 were Legislative Director Patrick Lyons and Political Director Leah Gonzalez and I don’t think we passed a single Senator or member of the Assembly who didn’t recognize them by name. It is those sorts of relationships that make change possible in Albany. All of us in attendance were pleased to see so many of PEF’s “Fund Our Future” campaign themes echoed in the governor’s speech. Be on the lookout in your email for how you can step up and help in our lobbying efforts.
Speaking of stepping up, it is Special Election season for PEF seats on the Executive Board. There are 14 vacancies and I encourage anyone interested to get involved. Yes, it’s a commitment – the EBoard meets four times per year for two days at a time, during which you earn EOL for your time away from your state job – but it is the policy-setting body that truly governs how this union runs in between our annual Conventions. Signature petitions for the available seats are due by Feb. 1.
Last but certainly not least, if you weren’t able to listen in, please read our summary of the January 12 All-Member Telephone Town Hall, where various PEF leaders and staff updated members on contract negotiations, legislative plans, and organizing efforts. There is a link to an audio recording of the Town Hall in the story for members who were unable to attend.
Thank you for reading and we’ll be back with a full February issue next month.
Wayne SpencePEF President