Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Calling all PEF members!

If you're looking for an alternative to the tentative agreement - or even if you simply want to pause to evaluate the serious predicament we face - it is time to unite and work together.  Consider this:

The Public Employees Federation was founded to represent the professional, scientific and technical workers of New York State.  Our employment contract with the state ought to represent our interests. 
Soon you will receive a ballot asking for you to vote yes or no on a contract based upon the CSEA contract.

Please vote NO!  This contract is not in the best interest of PEF members!

"No layoffs" must mean NO LAYOFFS
(Proposed contract language in fact protects the governor's power to lay off PEF members.)

5 years is TOO LONG for this contract
(Economic and political circumstances will change.)

Dramatic increases in our health care costs amount to A PAY CUT, A GIVEBACK 
(All benefits amount to foregone wages.)

(To justify a proposed cut in retiree health benefits, we stand accused of living too long!)

The "furlough days" in fiscal year 2011-2012 are simply a GIVEBACK
(Biweekly compensation will be cut by nearly 4% for 13 pay periods to pay for the “furlough.”)

The givebacks in the contract have been presented as a trade-off, a way to prevent layoffs. But even if we ratify this contract, we will face the prospect of layoffs. Layoffs of PEF members are happening right now!

The Governor has given PEF and the other unions a false choice: givebacks or layoffs. To accept this false choice is to embrace concession bargaining at its worst.  If we accept this false choice, we negotiate against ourselves, against our own interests.  It is time to go back to the bargaining table.

In reality there is no reason to lay off New York's public servants in 2011 or 2012 or in the years to come. Decades of successive tax cuts for New York's millionaires and billionaires have trashed a once-progressive tax system and under-funded public service.  And as the tax burden has been shifted to the middle class and the working poor, essential services have been contracted out to private profiteers, to the further detriment of public welfare. We, the professional, scientific and technical workers of the State understand better than anyone the harm this has done the health and education, safety and environment of New York.  It is time for us to stand up and defend public service.

Join PEF Professionals Reclaiming Our Union Decisions: PEF PROUD.  We need to stand together to FIGHT EVERY LAYOFF while we demand a FAIR CONTRACT.

Email us: pefproud@gmail.com.  Print and share: Link to PDF version here.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be honored to be first to blog. I am voting NO! I have already given at the office and I'll be damned if I willingly contribute more.

    1. While PEF employees are relatively well paid for public sector employees, that's not a reflection on lucrative contract settlements that compensate employees more than they are worth, but on the fact that as a state, New York is among those with the highest cost of living and pay scales reflect that situation. Further, the NYS Department of Civil Service is responsible for assigning job grades to job work tasks and applicant qualifications. The contract is not negotiating salaries, but cost of living increases and benefits to its members.
    If the public has a problem with employee benefits and pay, then they need to vent their anger at the NYS Dept of Civil Service, an executive branch of state government under the auspices of the governor.

    2. On December 31 I was bumped out of my former position and reassigned to a work location 300 miles away. I took a 5 grade demotion at a loss of about $19k in salary and now have the additional living expenses of two domiciles and $125-300 weekly transportation expenses (train vs car gas, toll, wear & tear). My discretionary income took a huge hit at a time when I need to be saving for retirement. There's no spare cash now.

    3. State's management dictates the work that has to be done and labor is a cost necessary to accomplish that objective. Demand for labor is a function of the rules, regulatory requirements and demands of the executive branch management and the legislature. if the work doesn't have to be done then it labor cuts should be made. if however, he jobs are necessary, then government has an obligation to fund it at a fair wage rate.

    4. Shared sacrifice? Give me a break. Sure there are hundreds of thousands unemployed. But their status is not going to change because PEF settles a contract with give-backs. The governor will still consolidate agencies and authorities at will, and layoffs will follow. The reality is that the state will still hire hundreds, if not thousands of management confidential employees in political plum positions at high salaries. The governor has not sacrificed, he flied about the state to go home for dinner. The legislature has not cut its salary, perks, lulus or travel reimbursements, though it was forced to lay off staff. And consultants still do work state employees could do at less cost. Only employees suffer... Management Confidential employees (who have gone without raises for years) and the union rank and file. There is no shared sacrifice.

    5. Inflation will march onward and this contract will see wages fall further behind with every year. We'll see 6% wage growth over the next five years (discounting the furloughs) while a reasonable inflation expectation is 7.5-10% Where's wage growth? Add in the increased health insurance costs and employees fall further behind with each year.

    Good luck. I vote NO. I already gave at the office.

    Forgive me for signing off as Anonymous. Given my situation, I wish to protect my family's identity.