CSEA, PEF 'mourn' layoffs

The cold and wind didn't stop nearly 200 New York state workers from holding a candlelight vigil last Wednesday, Dec. 29, to lament close to 900 people losing their jobs.

As one of the many demonstrations both the Civil Service Employees Association and Public Employees Federation have held, the event at West Capital Park was meant to mourn the loss of the 898 state employees former Gov. David A. Paterson told they would have to return to job hunting two weeks before Christmas in an effort to help the cash-strapped state of New York.

The sad part is that this is sad commentary and this is also the end for those 900 people that are being laid off for nothing more than the governor's viciousness, said CSEA PresidentDanny Donohue. "The only saving grace is he [Paterson] is not going to be here. We hope that the new governor gets the message that public workers are valuable and necessary. And if he wants to come and work with us, we want to work with him."

While Donohue and PEF President Kenneth Brynien expressed a positive outlook on their working relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the newly elected executive has already promised during his inauguration that the layoffs will occur.

Some public employees were not so optimistic, as they said Cuomo would most likely just follow in his father's footsteps.

"I'm not very hopeful at all," Tracy Carnavale, president of local CSEA 660 in Albany Office of General Services said. "I think he's going to be laying-off a lot of people, I think the numbers are going to increase and I think that's what his mission is. I hope I'm wrong on that one."

Brynien disagreed, and said the unions have and will always fight with the current governor but added that the only way negotiations will work is if the other party will listen and consider the unions' options.

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