Paterson’s Introduction to Labor Discontent

ALBANY—As David Paterson delivers his first State of the State address January 7, he'll witness something new: the first major labor rally against his policies.

The biggest unions in New York–CSEA, PEF, UUP, 1199 and the AFL-CIO–are arranging a march and rally expected to draw around 20,000, according to Stephen Madarasz, a spokesman for CSEA.

"The labor movement recognizes the urgency of the current fiscal crisis," said NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes in a press release, which later says, "Budget cuts are not a cure all."

Madarasz said that union supporters took part in a rally outside the Capitol during the legislature's special session last week, but insisted that this will be a much larger crowd.

"The governor doesn't seem to be hearing us, at this point," Madarasz said in a brief phone interview, "and it seems with each governor we have to do this anew."

Unions last marched during a State of the State address in 2000, when George Pataki was governor.

Paterson asked unionized public employees to forgo a contractually scheduled three percent raise to save money. That proposal got a very cold reception from labor leaders, who also blocked mid-year cuts.

Article continues below
More from Politics
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the New York Building Congress' annual meeting at The Pierre Hotel.
Bill de Blasio Urges Albany to Let NYC Use Its Design-Build Model for Infrastructure