10,000 voices strong, PEF petition urges Legislature to fund state services for a thriving New York

Union unfurls 42' petition signed by 10,000 New Yorkers

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PEF President Wayne Spence, center, surrounded by other union leaders and lawmakers.

ALBANY, NY (03/29/2023) (readMedia)-- In the face of increasing demand for state services, staggering short staffing across all state agencies, and the constant threat of privatization, the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) launched its Fund Our Future campaign in 2020 with an eye toward tackling the issues in the best interests of the people.

"A functioning democracy depends on the essential work of public employees, who deliver the services we all use every day – from public education to affordable health care, transportation, safe streets, green spaces, and so much more," said PEF President Wayne Spence. "We're here at the state Capitol where this week lawmakers and the Governor are finalizing the state budget. We have been working with them to make sure that budget invests heavily in the state workforce and funds the public services we need to thrive."

In the halls of the Legislature on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, PEF unfurled a 42-foot-long copy of a petition with the signatures of 10,000 New Yorkers who agree with the principles of the Fund Our Future campaign.

The goal is to secure a state budget that:

Supports state-operated safety net services and stops the continued privatization of services;

Makes good, middle class public service job opportunities available to all New Yorkers;

Supports our SUNY hospitals and builds a long-term plan to revitalize SUNY Downstate

"We must continue to create pathways to the middle class by growing state jobs with competitive salaries, benefits, and an attractive pension plan," said PEF Vice President Randi DiAntonio. "We have to fix Tier 6 so the skilled state workers we already have stick around and so new hires have an incentive to make state service a long-term career."

The following legislators stopped by to show support for the tenants of the Fund Our Future campaign: Senators Shelley Mayer, Michelle Hinchey, John Mannion, Robert Jackson, Toby Stavisky, and Jim Tedisco, and Assemblymembers Dana Levenberg, William Conrad, Aileen Gunther, Marianne Buttonschon, Edward Gibbs, Alex Bores, Josh Jensen, Manny De Los Santos, Pat Fahy, Harvey Epstein, Deborah Glick, Chantel Jackson, Brian Manktelow, and Karen McMahon.

Sen. Robert Jackson said: "Strong public services are the backbone of a thriving society. We owe it to our public employees to ensure they are respected, protected, and paid fairly. As the Chair of Civil Service & Pensions, I stand with PEF and will work for a budget that will help draw and retain skilled professionals in New York. Because it's time we Fund Our Future for a prosperous New York!"

"My constituents are frustrated," said Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg. "They see their taxes going up, but don't feel like they see the results in our infrastructure or anywhere else. They see corporations getting sweetheart deals and feel like they're getting the short end of the stick. Enough is enough. Public dollars should go toward improving public goods, not private greed."

Assemblyman Phillip Steck said: "The 110th Assembly District stands with our public employees. Public employment has enabled many of my constituents to enjoy a middle-class American life. We also need to support our public hospitals and medical schools. There is a shortage of physicians, and people are waiting too long to be seen."

"As Chairman of the Disabilities Committee I'm proud to stand with PEF and the hard-working men and women who provide crucial services for every New Yorker, regardless of zip code or income level," said Sen. John W. Mannion. "Unacceptably high job vacancies are putting healthcare, quality of life and enrichment services at risk – we need to bolster the state workforce and pay these professionals a decent wage. Labor always needs a seat at the table, which is why I'm pleased to have passed a law that allowed PEF to have a seat on the New York State Developmental Disability Advisory Council."

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker said: "One of the most critical tenets of the 'Fund Our Future' campaign is the belief that every New Yorker should have access to quality healthcare. That means healthcare has to be affordable, especially in underserved communities. I also support the demand for investments from the state to make childcare affordable. New York's spending plan must improve the lives of all who dwell in our great state – no matter their immigration status or whether they're insured. We are a community with shared needs and interests – from bridges to broadband, from Brooklyn to Buffalo."