Gov. Cuomo on PEF Deal: ‘Cooler Heads Prevailed’

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Getty)

Shortly after the Public Employees Federation ratified a new four-year contract, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a press conference in the Red Room of the State Capitol Building in Albany where he praised the deal and described the negotiations as a “monumental undertaking” that was, at times, “combative.” “Today, truly, cooler heads prevailed,” Governor Cuomo said. 

The new PEF deal will save New York about $165 million this year and approximately $250 million over the next four years. It calls for no salary increases for PEF members until 2014 and for member to make larger contributions to their own health care costs. PEF members rejected an earlier version of the deal negotiated by Governor Cuomo and the Federation’s leadership. About 3,500 PEF workers would have been laid off tomorrow if the federation and the Governor were unable to agree on a new contract.

“This is great news all across the board. It’s great news first and foremost for 3,500 families who were possibly living with layoffs for a period of time and that must have been very unsettling and disconcerting. It’s good news for the State Government, because … we wont have to go through the reduction. It’s great for the Capitol District region and communities all across the state,” Governor Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo described the negotiations as a “monumental undertaking.”

“We were closing a $10 billion deficit at the time. … We had identified $450 million in savings from workforce renegotiation of contracts and that was a very large number and it was a very ambitious undertaking to do this type of renegotiation, especially at this point in time in the country,” Governor Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo said there were problem solving lessons to be learned from the PEF deal, especially in this difficult economic climate.

“When you see the outcome today, there are a few lessons. For me, one of them is, collaborative works. … You look at other states and other situations that have gotten combative, this shows that collaboration works and I believe we’ve been probably more productive than most situations where it got combative. I also think today, truly, cooler heads prevailed. … I think there’s a lesson in these times. These are times of hyperbole, and rhetoric, and emotion, and fear, and frustration, and if you’re not careful, the frustration and the fear and the anxiety can win the day. This is the exact opposite,” Governor Cuomo said.

Gov. Cuomo on PEF Deal: ‘Cooler Heads Prevailed’