Photo courtesy: change.org
By Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany
A petition drive has been started to fight 42 layoffs planned at the state Canal Authority, with a Photoshopped governor in a state boat wearing his lumberjack shirt.
The Thruway Authority announced last month that it planned to lay off 234 people, including the 42 at the canal system, as it pares back costs to avoid a 45 percent toll increase on truck traffic that was proposed last year.
CSEA is fighting the job cuts, and the petition drive is underway. Eighty-five people have signed the petition as of today.
"This is just a bad idea - the canals are an invaluable resource for New York State in so many ways," said CSEA President Danny Donohue in a statement Friday. "It is very important that we let the public know how this ill conceived plan will hurt people, businesses and communities."
CSEA said the canal system is a historic part of the state and still used for economic development and tourism. The union charged that the layoffs "are political retaliation because ongoing labor negotiations have not concluded. The fact that management employees and political appointees have been spared from layoffs is further evidence that unionized workers are being targeted in a vindictive action that makes no economic or operational sense."
The Thruway said the layoffs are necessary to avoid further toll increases or service cuts. The layoffs are set to take effect April 3.
Cuomo showed up his lumberjack shirt during a visit to the Adirondacks last December and an unexpected stop to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
He joked about the shirt during his State of the State address, calling it his "Brawny paper towel man shirt."