Our PEF Retirees North Country Chapter covers the same area as PEF Region 7 –
New York’s four northern-most counties of Essex, Clinton, Franklin and St.
PEF retirees are scattered over wide distances there, but recent efforts by the
PEF Retirees have brought about encouraging results.
Juanita Babcock, a former PEF Executive Board member and council leader, has
taken a leadership role in organizing Chapter 7. She, along with PEF retirees
Dave Claydon and Tom Howard, have held a series of meetings throughout the
They have teamed with Ed Alfonsin, the PEF parliamentarian who holds dual
membership with PEF Retirees and United University Professions (UUP), to bring
state retirees from both unions in the North Country to work together on issues
that affect both groups.
Juanita reports the attendance at chapter meetings is growing and PEF retirees
are involved in political activities. She says everyone has united around
protecting our health benefits.
They joined thousands of PEF members and retirees in our recent campaign to
support the contractual rights of PEF members and to preserve our Medicare B
benefits and oppose a new pension Tier 5.
PEF President Ken Brynien said our campaign generated thousands of letters to
state legislators, resulting in no changes to either state contracts or health
coverage for retirees.
Now, we must focus on the national picture. We must expect continued attempts to
reduce our health care benefits until Washington reforms the entire health care
system. The House and Senate committees are now writing the health care reform
Our national unions have warned 2009 “looks like one of those turning points
where you live with the results for the next 30 years or so.”
Of course, the opposition will work to defeat health care reform.
We must define the framework of the dialogue in this battle. Our goal is
guaranteed, quality, affordable health care for all Americans. This cannot be
achieved without a government role. The insurance industry will never do it
Please join us in this battle. Keep the pressure on Congress and continue to
contact your senators and representatives.
The time is short and the fight is big. But, together, we can win it.