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CSEA, PEF 'mourn' layoffs

"He [Cuomo] says he wants to reduce waste and he says he wants to partner with the stakeholders to get that done," he said. "Well, we're some of those stakeholders, we've been here and we see the waste in our offices every day. So if you just ask us, we'll share that knowledge with him so he can make an informed decision."

Carnavale, a Colonie resident, said there were several options sent to Paterson as cost cutting measures, such as getting rid of outside consultants, but said that the governor was not willing to negotiate.

"He's just in for union-busting," he said. "It's not a cost thing with him."

The former governor, however, did offer other options besides the layoffs, such as a lag in pay, where workers would still receive the money when they left, and a delay in bonuses. Serious opposition came when Paterson suggested a one-day- a-week furlough in April, but CSEA and PEF were able to block the act in federal court.

Marty Lahait, Vice president of local Albany CSEA 660 OGS, said the average state worker only makes around $40,000 a year with a $20,000 pension, nothing like the six figures earned by some of those who work in the governor's office.

"The people he [Paterson] shouldn't get rid of are the state employees, he should be getting rid of the political appointees," he said. "We are the workforce, we run the state of New York and we're the ones being targeted by the politicians."

Now with negotiations for renewing contracts with union members approaching, Donohue said that people would have to face reality, adding that unions have been able to find alternatives to layoffs over the years.

"We've always been able to find another way because we can negotiate with them [past governors], this governor [Paterson] never gave us that chance," he said. "We hope that when Andrew [Cuomo] gets inaugurated and becomes the governor that he realizes he's the governor and that he not only has to work with the legislature but that he also has to work with us.""

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