AFSCME Members Protest in Albany
March 4, 2011
By Kismet Barksdale
Nearly 2,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from all over New York met in Albany March 1, 2011 to give a face to the public services that they provide and implored legislators to make policies which build a better New York for all.
Governor Cuomo is proposing dramatic cuts to public services which will result in larger class sizes, less access to quality health care, overpopulated prisons, and reductions to other vital services necessary to building a better New York for all. Proposed cuts will hurt New York's most vulnerable – our children, our grandparents, our national heroes veterans and the mentally ill.
"We've seen this before," said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. "Hiding behind the smokescreen of closing budget deficits, elected officials rush to cut vital public services that New Yorkers need now more than ever public health facilities, first responders, child health centers, senior centers, school nurses, drug counselors and crossing guards. At the same time they squander taxpayers dollars on no bid private contracts that open the door to fraud, waste and abuse. It's time to stop the nonsense and build a better New York for all."
"The cuts that the Governor is proposing would devastate our communities and the most vulnerable New Yorkers. The mentally ill, senior citizens and worst of all our children would suffer the most," said Danny Donohue, CSEA President. "Tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers, which would cost the state $4-5 billion in revenue, would result in closures of nursing homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and day care centers. These are bad choices for New York."
"These attacks on essential public services have to stop," said DC 1707 Executive Director Raglan George. "Closing public daycare centers will leave parents without a safe place for their children when they are working."
AFSCME New York represents 420,000 public services workers across the state, made up of members from CSEA Local 1000, DC 37, DC 1707, Council 35, Council 66, and Council 82. Guest speakers included AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous.