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Ballots Due for State Labor Contract as Possible Layoffs Loom

Monday, September 26, 2011

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he remains hopeful that members of the Public Employees Federation will ratify their contract in order to avoid layoffs.

Ballots for a new five-year contract are due Monday for PEF, which is the state's second largest public union, representing about 54,000 workers.

Cuomo has said that layoffs are necessary if members voted down the contract, but he struck an optimistic tone as he spoke on WOR Radio Monday morning.

“From an operational point of view from the state, I hope they ratify it," he said. "We hope we don't have to lay anybody off. ... We don't want to see any families going through any hardship.”

In July, PEF and the Cuomo administration reached a contract agreement similar to one passed last month by CSEA, the state's largest public union, calling for a three-year wage freeze among other concessions.

Cuomo said it will save the state $400 million over the contract term.

"PEF is a smaller union," Cuomo said. "For us, the numbers were really in the CSEA deal. The PEF contract is going to be voted on, the results are tomorrow, I believe, and I’m hopeful."

PEF President Ken Brynien has said that the deal is the best one that could be negotiated in the current environment, and one that would preserve members' jobs and careers while bringing long term fiscal stability to the state.

The ballots will be counted by the American Arbitration Association on September 27.

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