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State Employees Criticize Paterson Furlough Plan

By Jasmyn Belcher

Oswego, NY – The state's public employees unions are criticizing Governor Paterson's plan to furlough state workers for a day. Meanwhile, members of New York's Public Employees Federation plan to protest Paterson's furlough plan today in Niagara Falls, where the governor and other Democrats are scheduled to attend a reception.

New York's state legislature needs to pass temporary budget extensions to keep government running until there is a state budget. As part of the next extender, Paterson is considering imposing a mandatory one day a week furlough for state workers. He says unions have refused his requests for concessions, including forgoing a four percent pay raise and delaying paychecks by five days.

"He's saying we have to accept what he puts out, and it keeps being something different," said the CSEA's Stephen Madarasz, speaking on the Capitol Pressroom, "but he's really not interested in negotiating with us in a meaningful, give and take way. You know, we put on the table - nearly 18 months ago - a whole variety of ideas for things that could save money and ways that we think the state is wasting money, and they're not interested in addressing any of them. So where's the credibility?"

The Public Employees Federation calls Paterson's proposal illegal, saying it would be breaking the union contract. On the Capitol Pressroom, Paterson said when there is no budget, there is no contract.