Union training empowers parole officers
By DEBORAH A. MILES
Buried in mounds of redundant paperwork, members at the state Division of Parole are taking advantage of union training to help stop the ink flow and get back on the streets.
More than two-dozen parole officers from the New York City area and from the western part of the state took part in intensive two-day workshops to sharpen their labor-management skills.
Fedie Redd, a parole officer from Queens, said the training provided a lot of information and new avenues to try in order to change the “ridiculous and repetitious paperwork” parole officers are now required to do.
“Every week, management gives us something new to do. Our main mission is not being accomplished. We spend about 15 hours a week in the field, and the rest of the time we are inundated with paperwork,” she said.
The training was the first step to alleviate the heap of paperwork by teaching parole officers how to wave a red flag in front of their local lawmakers.
“The part of the training that stands out in my mind was how to acquire and utilize legislative contacts,” Redd said.
Get legislative support
Approximately 250 parole officers work downstate. If mobilized, they could make a powerful pitch to their local lawmakers for legislative support.
Redd said 70 members from her Queen’s office are waiting for the final touches on a letter designed to draw lawmakers’ attention to the problem.
“We need to get a commitment from legislators to look into the problems in parole,” Redd said. “Our issues need to become part of the legislative agenda.”
In addition to legislative action, Redd said the training focused on mobilization, the role of a steward, and how to plan and be a team at labor-management meetings.
Teamwork pays off
“One of the keys to being successful is teamwork,” Redd said. “We learned you have to have structure, a plan and assign specific jobs to specific people in order to make the team work.”
Terry Anderson, a parole officer from the Buffalo area who attended training in Geneva, described it as “superb.”
“That training should be available statewide,” Anderson said. “It taught us how to deal with people, execute plans and mobilize other members.
“When we have our next labor-management meeting, we will be prepared,” he said.
For more information on scheduling a mobilization training workshop in your area, call the PEF Mobilization Department at 1-800-342-4306,
|Union wins extension for parole pistol permits
PEF members in the state Division of Parole who applied for a pistol permit by May 27 will be able to keep their guns until the permit is received, regardless of the date.
In April, PEF went into state Supreme Court to get a temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of a new parole firearms policy until an arbitrator could rule on PEF’s grievance.
The division initiated a revised firearms policy in March which requires officers to obtain a permit for any personal weapon, or dispose of that weapon by June 5.
The case was settled to extend the deadline to November 18, or until the permit arrives, provided the application was made by May 27.
PEF’s grievance remains intact and is unaffected by the settlement.
“Our goal was to gain more time than the 90 days to allow members to get pistol permits,” said PEF President Roger Benson.
“The 90 days was insufficient time that could result in parole officers actually losing possession of valued personal firearms.
“We are pleased we were able to gain a significant extension regarding the pistol permits. Our ultimate goal remains having this latest parole policy eliminated,” Benson said.
Members should direct their questions about this procedure to their respective regional director or area supervisor. — Deborah A. Miles