In New York, State Worker Layoffs to Begin July 15

On the same day that he announced a proposal to cut retirement benefits for all new state workers , New York Governor Andrew Cuomo moved ahead on plans to lay off as many as 9,800 current employees to help the short-term finances of the state.

The Times-Union of Albany obtained a memo indicating that layoffs are scheduled to begin July 15, unless Cuomo and the state's major public worker unions agree on new contracts before then. The governor has been demanding $450 million in concessions from the unions since their contracts expired April 1, though negotiations remain stalled.

The memo, obtained Wednesday (June 8), states that specific jobs slated for elimination must be forwarded from state agencies to the state budget division no later than Monday (June 13). More senior employees applying to transfer to other, more secure positions will be notified of their eligibility starting next week, and pink slips for those being laid off will begin to be sent out next month.

"Layoffs will take place in waves so that government service isn't thrown off dramatically," The Times-Union reports. "Public safety agencies would see the smallest number of reductions, if any."

The memo raises the stakes in the already tense negotiations between the Democratic governor and New York's state worker unions, which are typically friendly with Democrats but have been wary of Cuomo's tough position on spending since he took office in January. On Wednesday, after details of the governor's pension proposal were announced - including a provision raising the retirement age from 62 to 65 for new state workers - unions made their distaste plain.

"Congratulations to Governor Cuomo," the president of the Civil Service Employees Association said, "for another grandstand play for the attention of his millionaire friends at the expense of the real working people of New York."

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