New York Starts Laying Off 3,500 After Union Rejects Concessions

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo started the process of laying off 3,500 workers last night after the state’s second-largest employee union rejected wage and benefit concessions negotiated to balance New York’s budget.

The New York Daily News reports that members of the Public Employees Federation voted 54% to 46% last night to reject the contract, which would have cut raises for three years and required employees to pay more for their health insurance. The PEF represents 56,000 professional scientific and technical workers. 

The deal was virtually the same as the one ratified by New York’s largest union, the Civil Service Employees Association, last month.

Cuomo and state lawmakers urged PEF members to schedule a new vote to reconsider the agreement, which would prevent the largest wave of job cuts in nearly two decades. Pink slips were mailed to 3,500 workers this morning, and the layoffs will take effect in 21 days.

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