November 7, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Wayne Spence, president of the New York State Professional Employee Federation has garnered plenty of honors and accolades during his 25 years working in the municipal sector. But the challenges that still lie ahead championing working men and women are what matter most to this married father of three.
Elected to PEF’s top leadership position at a time when the union was in significant turmoil, Spence — the Caribbean emigre who went on to graduate from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science before earning an electrical engineering degree at the similarly esteemed New York Institute of Technology — has managed to right the ship and secure a new labor deal with the state in little more than a year in office.
A staunch trade unionist who holds several high-powered positions within the House of Labor, including ones within the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union, Spence previously fought against requirements forcing pregnant parole officers to execute potentially dangerous felony warrants — a fight he helped to win.
Spence is the first African-American to head PEF’s 54,000 members. He is also a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. The native Jamaican has previously held numerous posts within PEF, including shop steward, Division Health & Safety chair and vice-president.
Spence is already the 2016 recipient of the Cleveland Robinson Labor Award, and now it is LaborPress’ very great privilege to honor him as well.