Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PEF Members Stand Together

[We found the following anonymous comment at the Times Union "Capitol Confidential" blog. We agree! And we hope the leadership of PEF takes up the ideas this "proud PEF member" outlines here in the final paragraph. Please share this post.]

PEF Members Stand Together
September 27, 2011, 5:26 PM

As a proud PEF member, I am very happy with the outcome of our vote today. We sent a strong message to Governor Cuomo rejecting his bullying techniques.

Of course, we don’t expect a better contract tomorrow. We will patiently wait until things cool down. And while we wait, we all need to stand together to face whatever reactions the Governor chooses to do.

The people who berate PEF members for voting “NO” on this terrible contract proposal are sadly misguided. They have convinced themselves that we did this out of greed. In my view, they are absolutely wrong.

We voted “NO” because the governor refused to consider alternate solutions. He refused to make millionaires pay their fair share. He refused to limit contracting out, which is a huge fiscal waste. He refused to consider a stock transfer tax. And he refused to adjust the regressive tax structure of NYS. He seemed to want to punish state workers, who had no part in creating this fiscal nightmare we are all in, but who were being asked (with repeated threats) to pay a grossly disproportionate share of the pain in fixing it.

Only the Governor has the power to terminate or furlough employees. There are always alternatives for raising needed revenue. The Governor can choose to lay off employees, but he does not have to. I would suggest that people should place the blame where it properly rests.

Just today, in fact, the Governor proudly announced that NYS was giving $400 Million to high tech companies who are participating in Albany’s Nanotech Center. How hypocritical is that? High tech firms are getting tax breaks while state workers are getting laid off…

Let’s remember that the next time NYS faces another calamity. There are an awful lot of state workers who responded to the recent floods who are now threatened with layoffs. And let’s never forget that there were hundreds of PEF employees who rushed into the World Trade Center to help with the evacuation on 9/11, many of whom did not survive. From nurses to engineers to corrections officers, PEF members make a big difference to New York State, and all are better off for the work that PEF does.

If the Governor holds firm to his prior threats to lay of PEF members, I would ask all of my Union brothers and sisters to stand together. We need to form networks to help anyone who is laid off. We need to contribute to anyone who suffers as a result of the Governor’s petulence. We need to be bigger than the self-serving bums that many on this blog seem to think we are. PEF’s leadership and agency rep’s need to take the lead on this and to get out ahead of this issue right now. Let’s set up emergency response teams and communications networks, to identify exactly what is going on, who is affected, and what they need in terms of help. This is an all-hands effort, and everyone needs to participate, just as much as if the floods hit your neighborhood. PEF members are our family. It’s time we acted that way.

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