HV workers call on lawmakers to save their jobs

Posted: Updated:

State workers from the Hudson Valley are heading to Albany next week to fight for their jobs after Gov. David Paterson ordered 8,900 layoffs across the state.

"We're going to stand firm and challenge the governor," says James Graham, of Rockland Psychiatric Center.

Paterson gave the directive Tuesday in an effort to help close the $16.2 billion budget gap. Many state employees, however, believe the governor should start slashing jobs from the top of the pay scale.

Staffers at Rockland Psychiatric Center, which has between 500 and 600 patients daily, are concerned not only about their jobs, but also about the effect of the layoffs on the quality of care.

"Our motto is hope, respect and recovery, so if you cut the heartbeat, which we are as direct caregivers, then anything without a heartbeat can't live," says Mack Roberts.

Workers are hoping to use their leverage as voters to convince lawmakers in Albany to save their jobs.

"We can hire these people or we can fire them," says Basil Townsend, of the Civil Service Employees Association. "Elections are coming up and we are going to hold the politicians feet to the fire."

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