"The members of the Public Employee Federation have made their decision on a contract that would have protected them against the state needing to lay off their workers in order to achieve the required workforce savings passed as part of this year's budget.
In this economic reality, rising state workforce costs are unsustainable, as the members of the Civil Service Employees Association, the state's largest union, recognized when they overwhelmingly passed an identical contract. The Legislature passed a budget that made clear that reducing these costs would be achieved either through the collective bargaining process or through layoffs.
"I urge them to reconsider."
And another statement just in from Cuomo's director of operations, Howard Glaser:
"Today's vote represents a failure by PEF's leadership to effectively communicate the benefits of the contract to its members as CSEA's leadership did. Layoffs could still be avoided if PEF clearly articulates to its members the benefits of the contract as well as the consequences of rejection and schedules a revote. We spent months working with PEF's leadership and reached an agreement. We now find out that they do not truly represent their membership.
"Members of the Civil Service Employees Association who agreed to a layoff protection as part of their ratified collective bargaining agreement, will not be subject to the approximately 3,500 layoffs that will begin today."
(An administration official said notices will be going out today, and kick in 21 days afterward.)
And Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver weighs in: "While I am disappointed in the outcome of this vote, it is my hope that the Governor and the leaders of the Public Employees Federation will come to a resolution that will save jobs and preserve the state’s ability to provide vital services to its citizens. These are tough economic times, and I hope that everyone involved can come together to make the shared sacrifices that are necessary to put the state on sound fiscal footing and preserve jobs for hard working men and women."