Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t explicitly rule out pushing back a looming layoff deadline for Public Employees Federation workers slated to lose their job, but said the union’s leadership and executive board must take action first.
Speaking to reporters today following a meeting of his cabinet, Cuomo said he’s focused on reaching a tentative deal with PEF leaders and having the union’s executive board send a contract out for a vote of all PEF members.
With a portion of 3,500 layoffs set to take effect on Oct. 19, Cuomo didn’t rule out pushing that deadline back if a tentative deal is put to a vote of PEF members. But he didn’t say that would absolutely be the case.
“They have to meet next Monday. They then have to take a vote among the 170 or so executive committee that they want to have a re-vote, and then go to the membership,” Cuomo said when pressed on the deadline. “Let’s take one step at a time here. That’s the first hurdle: will the 170-member executive committee vote for a re-vote.”
PEF, with 56,000 members, is the state’s second-largest public employees union.
Cuomo’s office had signaled earlier this week that a full vote of PEF’s membership would need to be complete before layoff notices take effect for those notices to be rescinded.
Repeating a common refrain, Cuomo said the decision of whether or not the layoffs will ultimately be enforced is up to the union.
“We’re doing everything we can do and it’s up to PEF’s leadership and the PEF membership,” Cuomo said.
PEF members voted to reject a contract with the state — which was approved by the state’s largest public workers union, CSEA — that would have frozen pay for three years, increased health insurance premiums and required nine furlough days. Since then, Cuomo’s office and PEF have been in negotiations, but haven’t been able to come up with a new agreement.
The governor spoke after members of his cabinet detailed efficiency measures they said would save the state $600 million over five years, including reforms of the state’s procurement, real estate and technology operations.