As of tomorrow, New York state government will have roughly 900 fewer workers, but it’s unclear exactly how many, which agencies they are in, and how many people will opt for retirement rather than another position if their jobs have been cut.
Gov. David Paterson’s administration issued 891 notices for reductions, but the number of layoffs will in all likelihood be lower because of retirements, attrition and the ability to fill essential jobs that come up, Paterson budget spokesman Erik Kriss said. Union members have bumping rights based on seniority.
The state Public Employees Federation and Civil Service Employees Association held vigils around the state this week in a last-ditch appeal to stop the layoffs, but they were not successful. Union leaders have accused Paterson of doing the layoffs “out of political spite.” There are 11,500 fewer state employees today than in 2008, and the loss of almost 900 additional employees will take $363 million out of New York’s struggling economy, according to the unions.
The unions made an agreement with Paterson that they would not oppose legislation for a new, less-generous pension tier and he would not lay off any state employees during his tenure. His term ends tonight, and laid-off employees’ last day on the payroll is today. Union leaders said Paterson “is meeting the letter, but not the spirit of the no-layoff agreement.” The new pension tier took effect this year.