Public and Non-Profit Employees Fight for a Better New York for All

Mar 01, 2011, 10:34 ET from District Council 37

ALBANY, N.Y., March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released today by District Council 37:

Nearly 2,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from all over New York met in Albany today to give a face to the public services that they provide and implored legislators to make policies which build a better New York for all.

Governor Cuomo is proposing dramatic cuts to public services which will result in larger class sizes, less access to quality health care, overpopulated prisons, and reductions to other vital services  necessary to building a better New York for all. Proposed cuts will hurt New York's most vulnerable - our children, our grandparents, our national heroes - veterans and the mentally ill.  

"Giving the wealthiest New Yorkers a tax break and removing essential public services would have a devastating impact on our communities," said Council 35 President Bill Travis. "We work hard daily to create safe communities for all New Yorkers."

AFSCME workers have made many sacrifices and continue to do more for the communities they serve with fewer resources. AFSCME and its affiliates strongly oppose the attack on jobs in Governor Cuomo's budget.

"We've seen this before," said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. "Hiding behind the smokescreen of closing budget deficits, elected officials rush to cut vital public services that New Yorkers need now more than ever – public health facilities, first responders, child health centers, senior centers, school nurses, drug counselors and crossing guards. At the same time they squander taxpayers' dollars on no-bid private contracts that open the door to fraud, waste and abuse. It's time to stop the nonsense and build a better New York for all."

"The cuts that the Governor is proposing would devastate our communities and the most vulnerable New Yorkers. The mentally ill, senior citizens and worst of all our children would suffer the most," said Danny Donohue, CSEA President. "Tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers, which would cost the state $4-5 billion in revenue, would result in closures of nursing homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and day care centers. These are bad choices for New York."

"These attacks on essential public services have to stop," said DC 1707 Executive Director Raglan George. "Closing public daycare centers will leave parents without a safe place for their children when they are working."

"The governor wants you to see these as mere budget cuts, but  he's actually proposing to make your community less safe," said Council 82 Executive Director Jimmy Lyman. "Reducing New York's already overburdened law enforcement will make our streets less safe and increase crime."

"Without people to plow the snow our communities would come to a total standstill," said Council 66 President Anthony Gingello. "Besides being unsafe, especially for our seniors and children, why would the Governor want people not to go to work and school?"

Governor Cuomo's proposals would hurt New York State, the citizens who live here and the workers who deliver essential public services. AFSCME affirms that public and non-profit employees are not the problem, but a vital participant in the solution to build a better New York for all.

AFSCME New York represents 420,000 public services workers across the state, made up of members from CSEA Local 1000, DC 37, DC 1707, Council 35, Council 66, and Council 82.  Guest speakers included AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous.


Kevin Hanes (412) 330-9930

Danny Friedman (646) 397-9643

Zita Allen (212) 815-1535

SOURCE District Council 37