Sent on behalf of President Spence:
Great News, Your letter writing and emails helped PEF’s “Agency Pandemic Planning” Bill Pass Both Houses. This legislation requires public employers to adopt a plan for operations in the event of a declared public health emergency. The bill was introduced by Senator Gounardes S.8617-B and Assembly Member Abbate A.10832 .
While the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded New Yorkers how important state government is in times of crisis, this crisis has also exposed an alarming lack of emergency preparedness at various state agencies, as well as a clear lack in the consistent application of basic standards and procedures to keep staff and clients safe and this legislation will ensure agencies are prepared for a resurgence of the virus or a new public health emergency.
This legislation will begin to address some of the omissions and inconsistencies that occurred across state agencies regarding various directives and orders during the COVID-19 ordered shutdown, including, but not limited to:
- Which employees are essential versus non-essential?
- Which employees are eligible to tele-commute?
- What are the safety protocols and precautions for call center and other staff who work in common areas?
- Are there adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment for staff?
- Are there appropriate numbers of staff to deal with staggered shifts and potential overtime needs?
- Are there appropriate protocols and safeguards for staff who contract a communicable disease?
- What are the safety protocols for parole officers, correctional services staff and other staff at the state’s residential facilities in dealing with clients?
- What are the protocols for cleaning and maintaining a safe workplace?
Under the bill, the union will have the ability to make recommendations to the plan and the agency must respond in writing to those recommendations. The publication of this plan will inform staff on their roles and responsibilities as well as clear direction on their roles and work locations during the emergency. .
This legislation would provide public employees with greater clarity on their roles and responsibilities, as well as greater confidence in the maintenance of their personal safety, in the event of resurgence of COVID-19 or another public health emergency. “We thank Senator Andrew Gounardes, Chair of the Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee and Assembly Member Peter Abbate, Chair of the Assembly Governmental Employees Committee for their leadership on this issue,” Spence said, ““we encourage the Governor to sign this legislation so that our joint labor-management teams can begin to collaborate on developing plans that meet the growing needs of New Yorkers and the workers who deliver those critical services,”
For more information, please contact Patrick Lyons, Legislative Director
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Please send your letter(s) today
If the budget requires cuts to be balanced, then those cuts should be made across the entire spectrum of expenses. If cuts are made to state agencies, then they must also be made to outside private contractors.
Any Budget Cuts made to State Agencies must also be made to Outside Private Contractors
Our frontline and essential members of the state workforce literally put their lives on the line to continue to perform their jobs at a time when many workers were ordered to stay home.
Hazard Pay for Essential Employees
Overtime calculation must be based on the PEF contract salary rate or the job rate in which the overtime is performed, whichever is HIGHER.
Correcting Overtime Payment Calculation
Seek alternative revenue sources
Enact New Revenues Now!
Establishing State Agency Emergency Planning Protocols
Support Telecommuting Policy for State Employees
Hazard Pay letter to Governor
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