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200 lifeguards picket for contract at Jones Beach

Cary Epstein (center, with bullhorn) and the Jones

Cary Epstein (center, with bullhorn) and the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps rallies approximately 200 lifeguards, family members and supporters as they march to the Jones Beach Mall from Field #6 Tuesday, July 21, 2010. Photo Credit: Photo by KEVIN P. COUGHLIN

Almost 200 state lifeguards from around Long Island picketed Wednesday morning at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh over a lack of a contract.

Wearing T-shirts reading "Lifeguard Contract Now," the lifeguards spent 90 minutes on the boardwalk, where they were addressed by Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), a lifeguard who supports the contract bid.

The lifeguards were 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 lifeguards say they have been working eight years without a contract.

The lifeguard union, which represents 1,000 lifeguards who protect New York's state beaches, said the state administration has approved new contracts this month for other state employees.

The administration will not comment during negotiations because that would be considered negotiating in the media, said Michelle McDonald, spokeswoman for the governor's Office of Employee Relations.

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