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Long IslandSuffolk

200 lifeguards picket at Jones Beach over contract

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.

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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