Making noise for just cause

The sound of thousands of plastic clappers on the south lawn of the Capitol earlier today was like rainfall. It heralded the coming storm from state workers who are angry at the governor’s threats of another 9,800 layoffs.

The rally was led by Public Employees Federation. PEF president Ken Brynien said 15,000 state jobs have already been eliminated  since 2008.

“I’m angry, yeah,” said state worker David Landau, who works in the soil laboratory for the DOT. “We’re down to 9. We used to have a staff of 23.”

While Huey Lewis and the News blasted “Working for a Living” from a loudspeaker, thousands gathered on the lawn in Albany, while similar rallies were held in 13 other locations across the state.

Brynien said it’s not just about the state’s failure to negotiate; the state’s lack of early retirement incentives; the reduced services to the public as a result of another wave of massive layoffs; or the damage to the economy — it’s an attack on the entire social safety network of New York state. It’s also, Brynien said to raucous cheers, “about a lack of respect.”

“There is one group that does get the governor’s respect,” Brynien said. “We call them millionaires!”

“Today we stand in complete solidarity,” said NYSUT executive vice president Andy Pallotta. “We tell the governor and the legislature: YOU ARE WRONG!”

Pallotta urged state workers to “Call, fax, visit, be relentless!”

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