PEF votes overwhelmingly to ratify contract with state

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The state’s second-largest public employees union overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new, 4-year contract with the state, just five weeks after it voted down a similar 5-year deal.

With 27,718 members voting in favor to 11,645 voting against, the Public Employees Federation now avoids 3,496 layoffs of state workers that were set to begin tomorrow.

“More than 75 percent of our membership voted on the agreement,” PEF President Ken Brynien said in a statement. “Although this was a difficult decision for our members, 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.”

The number of ballots returned represented a huge increase over the failed contract five weeks ago, when 19,629 voted against to 16,906 for.

The contract includes three years of frozen pay for PEF members, increased health care contributions and nine furlough days (which are repaid at the end of the contract.) The previously rejected deal was tweaked slightly to make it more appetizing to the union.

Shortly after the first deal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued layoff notices to 3,496 PEF members. The layoffs were slated to begin tomorrow, but the union says those will now be rescinded.

“We now call on the governor as part of his efforts to increase the efficiency of state government, to direct his attention to areas where PEF has highlighted cost savings. These areas include the elimination of wasteful contracting out and reducing the state’s excessive authorities, commissions and public benefit corporations that make up the state’s shadow government,” Brynien said.

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