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New York State Labor Supports Governor Cuomo’s Action To ‘Stave Off’ Layoffs Brought About By The Coronavirus Fiscal Crisis

Published Sunday, December 20, 2020
by The NYS AFL-CIO, The New York Post &
New York State Labor Supports Governor Cuomo’s Action To ‘Stave Off’ Layoffs Brought About By The Coronavirus Fiscal Crisis

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - Governor Andrew Cuomo huddled virtually with New York State Labor Leaders last week to discuss the gravity of New York’s pandemic-fueled fiscal crisis as he and lawmakers struggle to close a massive hole in next year’s budget.

“The governor’s message was, ‘Things are dire. I’m going to need your help,'” a Union source said of Wednesday’s (December 16th) secret chat.

The Labor Insider said the meeting had its tense moments, with Cuomo expressing displeasure over the 2.5 million New York State AFL-CIO putting its muscle behind a letter supporting State Lawmakers holding an emergency end-of-year session to impose $7 billion to $9 billion in tax hikes on the wealthy to deal with the fiscal crisis.

The letter basically sided with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who wants to pass taxes right away, as opposed to Cuomo, who wants to address taxes and spending as part of next year’s budget talks and waiting to see if Congress and President-Elect Joe Biden deliver COVID-19 Relief Aid early next year.

Said to be participants in the conference call were George Gresham, the President of Health Care Workers Union 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Andy Pallotta and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) President Mary Sullivan, who heads the Statewide Union that represents the largest number of State Government Work Workers.

Their Unions were among the 10 who signed on to the AFL-CIO Tax the Wealthy letter.

Led by the New York State AFL-CIO, the Unions issued the following statement:

We applaud the Governor's announcement to advance up to $1.5 billion to preserve vital services threatened by cash flow issues and to prevent additional cuts.

This action will stave off layoffs through the foreseeable future. 

It will also provide New York with a clearer picture of the economic landscape and allow us to have a better idea of Federal funding to state and local governments, led by the efforts of the Biden Administration.

Addressing this crisis during the state budget process, and with a more comprehensive approach that will include tax increases and revenue enhancers, will help to ensure that New York State gets back on solid financial footing, and more importantly, saves the jobs and livelihoods of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

It was signed by NYSUT, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the Communication Workers of America (CWA), CSEA, the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF), the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), 1199 SEIU, 32BJ SEIU, the United Auto Workers Region 9-A (UAW), the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC) and the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council

Both Cuomo and the Union Leaders expressed consternation that Congress will not immediately cough up money to help close the state’s massive budget hole, and worried any aid that may come after President-elect Biden takes office next year will be too late to prevent deep cuts in spending, which raises the specter of layoffs of Government Workers.

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