TOP LEADERS — PEF’s new Secretary-Treasurer Arlea Igoe and President Ken Brynien
take office after being sworn in Aug. 1. Photo by Deborah A. Miles
New leader; Same high standards, priorities
By Kenneth Brynien
Now that PEF’s internal elections are over and a new administration has been
sworn into office, continuing to address the needs of our members will remain
the central focus of this union.
As PEF’s new president, I am committed to following through on the main
priorities of the past nine years: stronger contracts, job security, retirement
reform and civil service enforcement. To build on our success and produce even
greater results in these areas, my administration will place more emphasis on
obtaining member feedback on issues, further strengthening our influence in
state and national politics, and establishing working coalitions with labor,
professional and community organizations.
Regarding membership input, our contract negotiations team has started its “road
trip,” meeting with members all over the state in regional and division
meetings. I encourage every member to contact their regional coordinator or my
office to get information on the meetings in their area.
Our legislative staff is working to identify key races in this fall’s election
in which PEF can play a major role in helping to elect/re-elect those
legislators who support our members’ agenda.
I have been engaged in a series of face-to-face meetings with political and
labor leaders across the state, working to forge the coalitions necessary to
achieve our goals. Great things can be accomplished when everyone works
together, and we must work together, because our members’ jobs and futures are
For example, we have been fighting on a federal level to preserve jobs at the
state Department of Labor through the re-authorization of Workforce Investment
Act funding. We’ve worked to preserve jobs at the state Department of State and
the Albany Housing Authority through maintenance of the Community Services Block
At the state level, we are fighting to preserve jobs at the Department of
Agriculture and Markets which may be threatened by a proposal to re-locate the
food testing laboratory. We continue to fight for a fair, broadly based, early
retirement incentive, and we are urging the governor to sign the fourth of our
GO Public bills — Cost Benefit Analysis.
Finally, PEF is gearing up for a potential drive to push the state Legislature
to override some of the governor’s vetoes, including his rejection of the Judi
Scanlon Bill to better protect mental health workers from workplace violence.
This is a lot of activity for my first week on the job, but I look forward to
working with our members every day to face our challenges head–on. It is truly a
honor that the members have chosen me to represent their interests, and I will
do so proudly.