New Yorkers deserve better

ALBANY — As many union members are still struggling to deal with the life-threatening impacts of providing essential services during a public health crisis that’s struck New York harder than any other state, our union is already fighting back against the economic crisis coming in its wake.

CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan warned that the economic impact of the pandemic could be far worse than any previous economic downturn.

Sullivan said that Congress’ failure to include unrestricted aid for the state and local governments in the most recent round of federal stimulus funding will amount to an attack on the quality of life for all New Yorkers, with massive cuts to essential public services that CSEA members deliver.

“New Yorkers rely on our state and local governments to provide the services that improve our quality of life, from our roads and our parks, to our emergency services, to making sure we have clean water and healthy restaurants. Our public service workers are the essential workers who have kept our state running and safe during this crisis,” Sullivan said. “Congress’ failure to make up for the losses we’ve suffered as the epicenter of this pandemic means that all these services and more are at risk. New Yorkers deserve better and so do our essential workers.”

Sullivan said that the stimulus money Congress provided for small businesses won’t make enough of an impact if public services and the workers who provide them get cut.

“Supporting our small businesses is important, but there’s no way they can operate effectively without the public services that make New York a great place to work and live. Public workers also live in our communities and spend their money in our small businesses. Without us, our small businesses won’t be able to recover, and neither will our communities. It’s time for all of us to take a stand and demand better from our federal government,” she added.

Next wave of budget cuts coming
As this edition was going to press, the state Division of Budget released a report on the state’s financial status, identifying a potential $13 billion deficit, if no federal relief is delivered. That report also identified the potential to see a 10 percent cut in spending across state agencies, and up to a 20 percent reduction in overall aid to localities.

Funding cuts equal job cuts
Since the pandemic hit, CSEA members have already started experiencing layoffs and furloughs, primarily with private sector employers, but talk of additional job cuts is picking up in municipalities throughout the state.
CSEA says putting people out of work is short-sighted and will hurt any locality’s ability to recover from this crisis.
“Public service workers have been on the front lines fighting to keep our communities together during this crisis. Do we really expect them to get pink slips as a thank you?” asked Sullivan. “As communities try to rebound from this pandemic, people will rely on public services more than ever to get back on track. We can’t afford to put even more public service workers out of work.”

President Sullivan to union members: We need to take a stand
Our union is asking members to contact their federal representatives to demand they deliver the necessary unrestricted aid to preserve all the essential public services we provide and that New Yorkers rely on.
We have established a campaign page at: that allows members to send emails directly to members of congress.

“All CSEA members should take action now before it’s too late,” Sullivan said. “We need to fight for the services we provide that improve the quality of life for people in our communities.”

— Mark M. Kotzin


About Author

Mark Kotzin has been passionately advocating on behalf of workers for more than 30 years, and is proud to serve as CSEA's statewide Director of Communications and Publisher of the CSEA Work Force.

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