Paterson Orders Layoffs
March 24th, 2009

Gov. David Paterson has ordered 8,900 state workers be laid off after unions rejected concessions the Gov. asked for in his budget proposal. The news of layoffs followed the announcement that the state’s budget deficit is $2.2 billion bigger than previously reported.

“We’ve been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but if Gov. Paterson really believes putting nearly 9,000 New Yorkers out of work is a good idea, he really is out of touch with life on Main Street,” said CSEA president Danny Donahue.

“Public employees are among the most vital contributors to our workforce,” said Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith in a statement. “But at the same time, they must also be our partners as we strive to change the structure of the state’s budget and get New York’s economy back on track.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, released a brief statement saying, “This is an unfortunate turn of events. I would hope that the Governor and the public employee unions can come together and avoid this painful step. ”

Assemblyman Peter Rivera sent a letter to Civil Service Commissioner Nancy Groenwegen, asking what she is doing to ensure that minorities don’t absorb the brunt of the layoffs.

The letter reads:

Dear Commissioner Groenwegen:

In the light of the latest news that the Governor is planning to cut the state workforce by 8,900 workers, I would like to inquire what set of actions your department is taking to ensure the protection of the protected classes that are already underrepresented.

The current lack of minorities at all levels of the civil service system and previous history of minority workers being disproportionably affected by the layoffs in the 1990s demands a plan that will assure the protection of them in the current stage of announced layoffs.

I would like your response to this inquiry as soon as possible, as I am sharing this communications with all of my colleagues in the New York State Caucus of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislators and the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.

In all reality, I can no longer stand by and watch as both Executive Order 6, Chapter 705 of the Laws of 2006 and equal employment opportunity laws are disregarded when it comes to employment of African-American, Hispanics and other minorities in our state. The economic cost to minority communities due to discriminatory practices by state agencies has been documented to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year, not to mention the emotional toll of facing bias in the workplace with no recourse.

Sincerely,

Peter M. Rivera

By on March 24, 2009, 8:02 pm
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