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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Hot labor issues move to state's front burner

Then-New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo speaks at

Then-New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference in Saratoga Springs. (Oct. 30, 2010) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Hot labor issues suffuse the cold air as the state's election victors prepare to take power after New Year's.

On one front, a bit of trade-union support could offer Democratic Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo a political wedge as he seeks to slash public workforce costs. A Cuomo-philic "Committee to Save New York" has cropped up with public-employee sacrifices on its agenda. One member, Gary LaBarbera, a longtime Long Island Teamsters leader, now heads the Building and Construction Trades Council and serves on Cuomo's transition team.

"Nobody wants to get into a fight," said committee coordinator William T. Cunningham, "but the committee does want to educate the public as to why it's necessary to correct problems in the state budget."

While this public-relations effort builds, District Council 37, the city's largest municipal labor organization, rallied Friday at the Rockville Centre office of Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos over jobs lost in city Off-Track Betting closures.

Most Republicans voted to reject a city OTB bailout for lack of "parity" with the OTBs on Long Island and upstate.


BLOC PARTY: With Jack Martins the certified winner in the 7th Senate Distict, incumbent Craig Johnson presses a legal appeal aimed at setting precedent in the new voting system. Meanwhile, Martins' bloc of 1,800 votes on the Independence line proved crucial. Nassau Independence chairman Bobby Kumar said: "I think Jack Martins will do a wonderful job. The people have the chance for a new man to do the right thing by Long Island and New York. I'm glad I was able to help."

Republican Martins also got more than 4,300 Conservative votes; Johnson drew no cross-endorsements, having shunned the Working Families line.


RESTLESS FAREWELL: Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) leaves office Dec. 31 after 28 years. He became best known as chief legislative agitator against abuses in and of public authorities. Last year the wide-ranging Public Authorities Reform Act pushed by Brodsky became law.

He says: "The single thing we can do now is make sure no one interferes with the enforcement strategies put into the bill. There are a lot of people who want to see this fail."

A question for returning lawmakers: Can and will the state keep raiding authorities' revenues to balance budgets?


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