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State employees need their jobs

I am a member and shop steward in Division 267 of the Public Employees Federation. I wish to clear up several misconceptions voiced in a letter to your paper by Frederick R. Bedell Jr. (“Unions must make concessions,” April 23).

All state employees currently have a three−week lag payroll in effect from previous givebacks. The employees do not see that money until either they retire or leave their jobs.

State employees take exception to the fact that Gov. David Patterson has either appointed people to jobs at a high salary or given large raises to his executive staff. Just two weeks ago, he filled a vacant job in his cabinet at a salary of $175,000 per year. Patterson has announced he will not lay off anyone in his executive staff.

The unions have asked the governor to cut back on the use of consultants who work for big monies. Those same jobs could be done by state workers at their current salaries.

The cost−of−living continues to go up; our salaries barely keep up with the cost of living.

The state workforce has also made concessions in the health care package to help defray costs and many of us are doing more than one job at a time as the number of workers has diminished.

The wages we receive as state workers have been negotiated in an honest and open manner as part of the collective bargaining process. The average increase that state workers have received over the past number of years has not exceeded 3 percent.

If Bedell researched his facts, he would also have learned that despite any potential givebacks by state workers, the governor has said he will still be laying off state workers. It is clear the givebacks are one−sided: workers give back everything, consultants nothing and the executive staff stays the same with large raises. Where is the fairness in all this?

Michael Solarchik


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