December 2007 Newsletter



 Every indication seems to be that negotiations are proceeding at a rapid pace and that we are close to an agreement.  However, one little snag could delay an agreement by weeks, if not months. 

As I’m sure most of you know, CSEA reached a tentative agreement with the State that calls for increases of 3%, 3%, 3%, and 4% over the life of the contract.  This agreement also called for an increase in location pay from $1302 to $3026.  As the State uses any agreement with one Union as a “pattern” for settlements with other Unions I would guess that our increases would be similar.

 Once the contract team and the State do finalize an agreement there is a long process of ratification that must occur before we see any money.  First, PEF’s Executive board must approve the agreement.  This entails bringing 120 Eboard members from around the State up to Albany to discuss and approve the contract.  Arranging this meeting could take 2-4 weeks.  Once approved by the Eboard the contract is then sent out for a mail vote to over 56,000 PEF members, a process that could take 2 months.  Finally, once approved by the membership, the State Legislature must approve the agreement, which could also take a month or two.

 When an agreement is reached details will be available at WWW.PEF.ORG.  I will also send out a Newsletter and schedule a membership meeting, hopefully with members of the contract team present, to go over what’s contained in the agreement.

             HOLIDAY PARTY

PEF’s annual holiday celebration will be held on Friday December 14th from 6 – 10PM.  This year our celebration will be held in Sodexho Court in the back of the Hospital’s cafeteria.  Make sure you join us as we intend to have a lot of good food and drink (no alcohol), a DJ for music and dancing, and a number of raffle give a ways.


Now for the bad news, and if anyone’s not happy with some of the rules, I’m the one to complain to.  First, we will be checking IDs at the door to ensure that only PEF members, their immediate families, and invited guests attend the party.  To be honest, I am given a very limited budget to run the Union local and we can’t afford to feed the entire hospital.  Next, we will not allow plates of food to be brought back to the units.  As your Union it is our responsibility to make sure that you get a meal break. If your workload is such that you can’t get away for your break call the Union office at ext. 1362 and I’ll make sure that you’ll be able to get your break.  We can’t continue to condone or look the other way when members are denied the breaks that they are entitled to.



Downstate has recently adopted a new notification system that enables Downstate to send urgent news to your cell phone. Once you sign up for the service, Downstate can text your cell phone with timely information about emergencies. Depending on your personal cell phone plan, there may be a nominal fee from your carrier to receive text messages, but

there is no charge from the school to use the service. The service is available to all current students, faculty, residents, and staff of Downstate. To learn more or to sign up, go to and click on the link titled “New User Sign Up.”   I urge all PEF members to sign up for this service.




A payroll staff member is now available starting at 8:00 am on the Wednesday and Thursday mornings of payroll weeks to discuss problems with held checks or to pick up a paycheck.  These extra hours are for paycheck issues only, in order to review time records you must still wait until 9:00 am to see time accrual staff members.  You can, however review time accruals over the telephone.



Empire Plan premiums are adjusted annually based on plan experience.

Starting January 1, 2008 Empire Plan premiums will increase 4.2% for individuals and 6.2% for families. The new biweekly rate for individual coverage is $22.19 and for family coverage $95.10.  Rates for HMOs will also be increased.  There is no change in the co-payment rate.



If you think about it PEF needs to be involved politically.  Our real bosses are the Governor and the State Legislators who we negotiate with for our contracts and increases in salary.  PEF’s political endorsements and our ability to provide political contributions helps us to have a say in our terms and conditions of employment.


PEF’s Committee on Political Education [COPE] was established in 1985 in response to a convention resolution. This is a segregated fund for our members and staff to make voluntary contributions for political purposes. It is our only vehicle for making contributions to PEF endorsed candidates in Federal elections, since union dues cannot be used for this purpose.  Only $1.00 per paycheck from every member would give a large boost to our political clout. At the holiday party I will have COPE payroll deduction forms to allow you to contribute.  It is my hope that more of our members enroll.  This really does help in building the power of our Union.


PEF endorsed political candidates often ask for assistance in their campaigns.  Sometimes a volunteer helping out is more important than any monetary contributions we could make.  If you are interested in volunteering to help get these PEF endorsed candidates elected or reelected, please call me at ext. 1362.




Early next year we will be having our local Division elections.  It is expected that there will be 9 steward positions (up from the present 6) up for election as well as the 4 officer/steward positions (Council Leader, Assistant Council Leader, Treasurer, and Secretary.)  Each position carries a three year term of office and all dues paying PEF members are eligible to run for office.  The exact dates for the election and the process to get on the ballot will be given prior to the election – both in this newsletter and in a direct mailing to your listed residence.  If you are interested in running for steward or officer, and want to be more involved in your Union, feel free to ask me what the positions entail.  PEF is truly a democratic Union and all members have the right to run for any steward or officer position.





It has up to date information on contract negotiations and statewide and local issues that affect you.  There are links to PEF membership benefits and to scholarship information.









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