March 10, 2023 — Spring is right around the corner and it’s always one of my favorite times of year – the white and grey of winter turns green, flowers begin to bloom, and warmer weather rolls in. This year’s Executive Budget shows similar signs of renewal for New York state, reflecting many of the priorities outlined in PEF’s Fund Our Future campaign and hopefully setting the stage for a productive year.
PEF has been working hard in Albany to fight for changes to the proposed budget to better align with our union priorities. We submitted testimony on several issues, from workforce development to public protection, to mental hygiene, and we held a press conference outside the Senate chamber earlier this month to talk about ways to fill the 12,500 vacancies statewide, with Sens. Robert Jackson and Jessica Ramos by our side.
As the process rolls on, we’ve created a letter-writing campaign focused on eight PEF Budget Priorities for FY 2023-2024. Please take a few minutes to send a pre-written letter to your legislators letting them know why it’s so important they Fund Our Future for a thriving New York!
Recently, Gov. Hochul instructed the Office of Employee Relations (OER) to implement Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for M/C employees but instructed them to negotiate PPL agreements with unions as part of their collective bargaining agreements.
Our PS&T contract expires on April 1, and we see no reason to wait. We maintain this no-cost benefit should immediately be made available to PEF members via a Memorandum of Understanding. So far, OER has refused. We will continue to fight for this.
PEF scored another win for nurses with the signing of an amended “no mandatory overtime” law with language that would help hold health care facilities accountable for mandating overtime to meet staffing needs. We have been saying for years that health care facilities should not use mandated overtime to fill gaps in their staffing and those that do should be penalized for it. That option now exists.
In recognition of International Women’s Day March 8, the PEF Statewide and New York City Women’s Committees invited delegates from Public Services International (PSI) to the Region 10/11 office in Manhattan as a show of solidarity for their advocacy at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) conference.
As Women’s History Month continues, we are soliciting nominations for PEF Everyday Heroines until the end of this month. We’ll highlight those heroines in April, but in this issue, we feature a PEF member at the New York State Museum who helped curate an exhibit on female photographer Berenice Abbott, whose Changing New York exhibit showcases New York City’s dramatic changes in the early 1900s. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in Albany.
I wish you all a healthy and happy Spring.