200 lifeguards picket at Jones Beach over contract

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Almost 200 state lifeguards from around Long Island picketed Wednesday at Jones Beach over a lack of a contract.

Members of the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps, the Long Island state lifeguard union, spent 90 minutes on the boardwalk, where they were addressed by Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), who is also a lifeguard there. He said he supports their efforts "as trained professionals who protect 250,000 people on a summer weekend."

The Jones Beach corps, part of the New York State Lifeguard Corps - which represents 1,000 lifeguards who protect New York's state beaches and pools - was protesting Gov. David A. Paterson's refusal to approve a new contract with higher wages after a tentative agreement was reached after a year of negotiations. The lifeguard union noted that the state administration approved new contracts this month for other state employees.

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The administration refused to comment.

The lifeguards have been working for eight years without a contract - or a raise - because of problems with their representation by other unions that were not resolved until they affiliated with New York State United Teachers early last year.

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