Blast from the pastApril 3, 2024 — In 1987, hundreds of state Department of Labor (DOL) members faced layoffs. They were initially spared by a reprieve, but layoffs were back on the table and slated for March. 

PEF leadership and rank-and-file members mobilized immediately. The union organized what observers said was the largest public demonstration in Albany by a single labor union, sending a strong message to legislators and the state that layoffs would have a devastating impact on DOL services. 

It worked.  

An unprecedented second layoff reprieve was announced only two days after PEF rallied together more than 1,000 PEF members and descended on the State Capitol to protest the budget cuts that necessitated layoff plans. 

Responding to PEF’s unerring lobbying and grassroots support, state legislators passed a bill allocating about $3 million to keep DOL jobs intact until federal money was received. PEF took the fight to Washington to muster support for a measure restoring millions of dollars in federal aid to DOL – if approved, the money would cancel the third planned layoff of several hundred workers. 

Unions are well known for strikes, lobbying, and rallies to protect workers’ rights. PEF rallied recently at SUNY Downstate to oppose the Chancellor’s “transformation” plan for the hospital, which would uproot all PEF members at the facility and move them to Kings County Hospital across the street and would decimate the United University Professions’ ranks. PEF members lobbied for much-needed changes to social worker compensation last month. The union’s Executive Board circled Empire State Plaza to call attention to bullying and toxic work environments at state agencies at the end of last year. 

When PEF members face adversity in the workplace, whether it’s layoffs or bullying, PEF stands up, stands strong, and fights back. 

Read the full DOL article here