No Joke: New York's union payroll jumped $400 million on April 1
Submitted by Howard Owens on April 5, 2010 - 8:34am
At a time when New York is struggling to close a $9.2 billion budget deficit, the state's workers represented by labor unions received a 4-percent pay increase April 1.
The wage hike will saddle taxpayers with another $400 million in annual expenses to cover.
The contracts with the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation were negotiated by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007.
Gov. David Paterson thinks the unions should turn down the raises, according to Business First.
"All public employees are a critical part of our state government. They deliver essential public services and, for that, they deserve our respect," he said Thursday. "But New York remains mired in a fiscal crisis of nearly unprecedented magnitude that will require real sacrifices. In agreeing to forego these scheduled 4-percent salary increases, the leaders of New York’s public employee unions have a real and concrete opportunity to demonstrate they understand the dire nature of this fiscal and economic crisis, and that they are willing to become a serious partner in addressing it.”
Unions flatly stated they will not budge. They say their contracts were fairly negotiated and must be honored.
“PEF will not reopen its contract with the state of New York,” said Kenneth Brynien, president of the Latham-based union that represents 58,000 white-collar state workers.
“What people don’t seem to grasp is, if you break a contract, you’re setting a terrible precedent. It ignores that you have legally binding documents,” said Stephen Madarasz, spokesman for CSEA.
There are 196,375 workers on the state payroll, and 94 percent of them are represented by a union.