ALBANY – More than 200 state Thruway workers lost their jobs today after agency and union officials were unable to agree on money-saving concessions.
“Negotiations continued through the day and we have been negotiating in good faith,” said Thruway Authority spokesman Dan Weiller.
But Civil Service Employees Association President Danny Donohue said state officials refused to budge in negotiations and called it “a sad commentary that Gov. Cuomo cares more about making a political point than he does about the well-being of these workers and their families, even at the expense of Thruway and canal operations.”
Thruway officials could not provide a geographic or job title breakdown of the layoffs, which were first threatened in January, a month after the agency backed down in its plan for a $90 million toll hike on trucks.
Teamsters Local 72, based in Manhattan, represents the largest number of people losing their jobs, including maintenance workers and toll collectors. Officials with the union, which last month filed an improper-practice charge over the layoffs, did not return calls for comment. The Public Employees Federation also represents a small number of those losing their jobs.
In all, after all the seniority and bumping process that occurs with layoffs in a civil service system, 210 people worked their last day at the agency today. The agency has a total workforce of 3,000 employees, 92 percent of whom are union members.
The layoffs affect jobs at the agency that runs the mainline highway system through upstate, as well as the state’s canal system, which the Thruway Authority operates and funds. All of the people who lost their jobs were union members.
Officials say the layoffs will save $20 million in annual payroll costs. In January, officials said 60 different job titles would be affected. The original plan called for 234 layoffs; that number was reduced slightly, in large part by targeted workers taking retirement.
CSEA officials have blasted the layoffs because they have come at a time when the union and the authority have been unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.