Cuomo Urges Union to Reconsider Vote

September 28, 2011 Updated Sep 28, 2011 at 7:01 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

September 28, 2011 Updated Sep 28, 2011 at 7:01 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WKBW) - Thousands of layoff notices are looming for state workers after the state's largest union rejected a contract proposal from Governor Andrew Cuomo's Administration. The Public Employees Federation (PEF) rejected a tentative contract yesterday, that would have require them to accept concessions including wage freezes, higher healthcare costs, and furloughs. Union officials say their members believe the contract is too much of a sacrifice.

The PEF President, Ken Brynien, released this statement:

"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."

Cuomo said the the rising state workforce costs are unsustainable in this economy and released this statement:

"The members of the Public Employee Federation (PEF) have made their decision on a contract that would have protected them against the state needing to lay off their workers in order to achieve the required workforce savings passed as part of this year's budget. In this economic reality, rising state workforce costs are unsustainable, as the members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), the state's largest union, recognized when they overwhelmingly passed an identical contract. The Legislature passed a budget that made clear that reducing these costs would be achieved either through the collective bargaining process or through layoffs. I urge them to reconsider."

Cuomo's office said layoff notices would be sent out to those who have the lowest seniority, but no date for those notices has been set.