Declaring Independence Requires a Strong Voice

In May 2011, a coalition of police officers representing the interests of approximately 1,200 members of the state Agency Law Enforcement Services (ALES) unit, working at New York State’s public universities and colleges; state parks and historic sites; and across the state as environmental conservation officers and forest rangers, announced they were seeking authorization to create a new union on the officers’ behalf.  This new union would represent members on matters ranging from contract negotiations to legislative affairs to local management grievances.

Through a process known as decertification and under the oversight of the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB), members of ALES organized a statewide effort to collect signed petition cards expressing their dissatisfaction with its current union and requesting an election that to install PBA of New York State as the officers’ representatives.

PBA of New York State Postcards

On behalf of the PBA of New York State, CPC designed and distributed a series of postcards in an effort to gain member support.

Corning Place Communications was retained by the PBA to develop, manage and implement a campaign plan, coordinate media relations activities and develop a website and establish a social media voice that articulated the concerns and issues of the PBA as it sought to secure the leadership of the ALES unit from its long-time representative – New York State Law Enforcement Officers Union, Council 82.

The cornerstone of CPC’s approach to the election was to ensure participation from an engaged membership by appealing to their common commitment to one another by declaring independence from those whom they had lost confidence. While the thrust of the campaign was built around the affirmative message that the PBA of New York State was prepared to represent the concerns of its members and their families, significant messaging in the form of direct mail and frequent electronic communications reinforce the notion that Council 82 had failed to meets its fundamental obligations.

As a result of this layered, adaptable and sustained effort, the PBA of New York State was overwhelmingly selected to represent the multi-agency ALES unit. On August 19, 2011, the PERB Board certified the PBA of New York State to represent the women and men of the state park, university, environmental conservation police, and the state’s corps of Forest Rangers.