The Public Employees Federation, one of the state’s largest public sector unions, voted against a tentative agreement its leaders made with Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.
The rejection of the contract serves as a stunning setback for Gov. Cuomo, and could herald widespread layoffs of state workers.
“PEF’s ratification process is very democratic,” said PEF President Ken Brynien.”The decision to reject the tentative agreement was made by our rank-and-file members who clearly feel they are being asked to sacrifice more than others, particularly in light of the pending expiration of the state’s millionaire’s tax.”
The agreement was voted down by a measure of 19,629 to 16,906. It marked the first time in the PEF’s 34 year history that an agreement reached by the union with the state was voted down.
On Monday Cuomo officials said that the union risked seeing 3,500 of its employees lose their jobs if the deal was rejected.
The agreement called for a three-year wage freeze and an increase in health-insurance premiums.
“We will ask the governor to direct his negotiators to immediately return to the bargaining table to work out an agreement which our members will ratify. We are calling on the governor to resist laying off thousands of our members as he has threatened and, instead, work with us to identify savings that would preserve the state’s depleted workforce and services, especially during this economic downturn and in light of the recent flooding,” said Brynien.