Updated at 4:36 p.m. with statement from Cuomo’s spokesman.
Fresh off a definitive rejection of a tentative contract struct with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, the state’s second-largest public employees union says they’re prepared to present “new ideas” that would cut costs but have the support of their members.
The Public Employees Federation rejected a 5-year labor deal earlier this week by a 54-46 margin that would have froze wages for three years and increased health care contributions, but would have protected against layoffs.
Since then, the Cuomo administration has said it plans to send out 3,496 layoff notices to members, with the bulk of notices going out on Tuesday.
PEF President Ken Brynien said the union thinks they have the answer.
“The New York State Public Employees Federation is prepared to present to the state new ideas which we believe will lead to a tentative contract agreement that will meet everyone’s needs and our members will ratify,” Brynien said today in a statement. “Although the governor has said he will not change the state’s proposal we remain hopeful we can reach an agreement. The next few days will be critical as we try to preserve state services while meeting the savings the state requires.”
The Cuomo administration, however, doesn’t appear to be willing to renegotiate.
“PEF has known their options for months,” Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said in an e-mail. “It was and is their choice and we are moving forward.”
Cuomo’s Director of State Operations Howard Glaser earlier this week placed the blame on PEF’s leadership, saying that Brynien and company didn’t do a good enough job explaining the contract or the consequences of rejection to its members.
He called for a re-vote on the tentative deal, while PEF said it wants to go back to the bargaining table.