Michael Volforte has served as the director of the New York State Office of Employee Relations since 2013 and has worked in the public sector labor field for over 25 years in a variety of roles for the office. As director, Mr. Volforte oversees collective bargaining on behalf of the State, as employer, with the 10 unions that represent approximately 160,000 Executive Branch employees and implements negotiated compensation and other benefits provided through the various negotiated labor-management committees. As counsel to the Office, he also oversees the legal department, which represents state agencies in contract grievance and administrative matters before PERB.
What are the benefits that unions (your particular union, if applicable) offer their members?
Our office, in partnership with the many unions that represent State employees, offer a variety of negotiated benefits to employees including health benefits, attendance and leave benefits, education and training programs, tuition reimbursement, pre-tax benefits like transportation, health care and dependent care, and other benefits to aid the workforce like employee assistance programs, retirement seminars, and wellness programs.
What brought you to organizing and/or the issue of worker advocacy?
I was lucky enough to be hired as a law clerk during law school by the Civil Service Employees Association and fell in love with labor law, and then was fortunate to be hired by the State. While I represent the employer, the unions and my office have a longstanding positive relationship and commitment to working together to provide a rewarding career for the State workforce and deliver critical services for New Yorkers.