Tackling grievances 

Why is there no consequence when the state fails to meet its time requirements for grievances on behalf of union members (many waiting for years and still no resolution), while the Union and its members are strictly held to their time requirements without excuse?  What action is being taken by union leadership to resolve this matter? 

Jim Dwyer
Oxford, NY 

Editor’s note: PEF is working diligently to move grievances through the system. We demand step meetings and decisions when the state is delaying, and advance when warranted where no decision has been issued. Article 17s (Out-of-Title Work) have been discussed regularly at Executive Labor Management meetings and the state has hired additional staff to work through the backlog of grievances. 

Clarify final average salary and retirement age 

To the editor: 

I have two questions regarding your very recent email re: budget negotiations and wondered if you could clarify them. I’ve put them in bold below. 

  1. “PEF supports reducing employee contributions, increasing the 2% pension factor at 20 years of service, restoring the final average salary contribution to a three-year window versus the current five-year window.” I thought it was currently a three-year average. No? 
  2. “… and re-establishing the ability of career employees to retire at age 55 or older with 30 or more years of public service.” Employees can already do this, can’t they? 

Erik Rutnik
Capital Region 

Editor’s note: Regarding the salary calculations, for members in Tiers 4 and 5, there is a three-year final average salary calculation benefit. For members in Tier 6 (hired after April 2, 2012), it is a five-year final average salary calculation. In answer to your retirement age question, members in Tier 4 (Sept. 1, 1983, to Dec. 31, 2009) can retire at age 55 or older with 30 or more years of service. Members in Tier 5 (hired after Jan. 1, 2010, and before March 31, 2012) must be age 62 to retire without penalty and members in Tier 6 (hired after April 2, 2012) must be age 63 to retire without penalty.  

With the state’s recruitment and retention problems, making the state a competitive employer with a robust pension plan could help fill some of the 12,500 vacancies across state agencies. Improved staffing will benefit both PEF members and the people they serve. We have a few letter-writing campaigns you can participate in here.