Paterson Will Meet With Union Heads

CHESTERTOWN—As he works to shore up his relationship with the state's largest unions, David Paterson will meet with the heads of several key labor organizations before tackling a mid-year budget deficit in September.

"It's not Yalta," said a labor source, but "the conversation from Kingston will continue."

The heads of 32BJ, 1199, RWDSU, the UFT and Building Trades Council met last month with the chairman of several large Democratic county organizations as well as Jay Jacobs, the incoming state party chair. They expressed frustration that some of the issues important to them are not being appropriately prioritized by Democrats, and relayed concerns with low poll numbers among members of the 2010 ticket, including Paterson. The idea that Paterson's standing is sufficiently diminished to hurt Democrats in general is also spreading to some marginal House members.

The union leaders will also discuss Paterson's as-yet-unrevealed plans to bridge a $2.1 billion budget deficit. Paterson will likely propose spending cuts that the unions will not be pleased with.

"Difficult decisions may not always be popular, but the governor will continue to do what he believes is best for the people of New York," Tracy Sefl, Paterson's campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement. "He's always willing to discuss that principle with constituents, including those in labor whose support he has long appreciated."

Paterson Will Meet With Union Heads