By a vote of 27,718 to 11,645, the New York State Public Employees Federation ratified a new four-year contract on Nov. 3. The agreement secures vital services for New York residents by avoiding thousands of layoffs that had been threatened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"PEF members displayed incredible compassion and sacrifice in voting for a contract that is pivotal to New York state's fiscal viability," AFT president Randi Weingarten says. "New York state public workers didn't create the fiscal crisis, but they have been asked to help solve it. The overwhelming vote approving the new contract avoids the threatened layoff of nearly 3,500 people, who will now go back to keeping New York's bridges and roads safe, and its water and air clean, and will continue to provide care and treatment for the state's most vulnerable citizens.
"After frank discussions by PEF members, the renegotiated contract also contains provisions that alleviated some of the concerns they voiced when they rejected the first agreement."
PEF president Ken Brynien, who is an AFT vice president, says the decision to approve the contract was a difficult one for members, but "it demonstrates they are willing to do their part to put New York state on a stable financial footing, as all New Yorkers should, and are helping to resolve a fiscal crisis for which they were not responsible."
"This agreement preserves our members' jobs and the services they provide," he adds. "During this economic downturn, the state's citizens are more dependent on these vital services than ever."
Says Weingarten: "The state's public workers have stepped up to help move New York state forward. Now is the time for others in New York to share in the responsibility of helping all New Yorkers reclaim the American dream." [AFT press release, PEF press release]
November 3, 2011