Cuomo doesn’t rule out pushing back PEF layoff deadline


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a full vote of PEF’s membership would need to be complete before layoff notices take effect for those notices to be rescinded.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.


About Author

1 Comment

  1. New York state is not an employee-owned company. State employees don’t have any authority to hire, fire or lay off other state employees. The only way state employees fund themselves and their coworkers is as taxpayers. They have no control over the revenue decisions made by the governor and the Legislature.
    The press, some editorials and some letters to the editor are doing PEF members who voted against the tentative contract a great injustice by implying that if there are layoffs, they are at fault. The implication puts the blame for layoffs on the wrong party.
    It is clear from the “management rights” clause of every union contract that it is the governor who, limited only by the Civil Service Law and other laws, has the authority over the workforce listed in that clause.
    Similarly, any state employee whom the governor lays off is mistaken to direct his or her frustration, disappointment and anger at fellow PEF members who voted against the tentative agreement in the belief that whatever layoff decisions the governor makes at any time should not be blamed on anyone but the governor and the Legislature’s budgetary decisions.
    From the list of agencies targeted for layoffs, one might question whether the governor has been in office long enough to appreciate the mission, purposes, objectives and policies of his responsibilities as governor or the talented civil servants who implement them even when the political process becomes dysfunctional.
    Charles Klaer