Thousands of Union Members Protest Nassau County Budget Proposal

By Greg Cergol
|  Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 7:59 PM EDT
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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano

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Thousands of sign-waving union members rallied outside the office of Nassau's county executive Monday, calling for the defeat of a proposal to reopen union contracts and force workers to pay more for their health insurance.

"Clueless Ed Mangano," read one sign, referring to the Republican county executive who drew the brunt of criticism.

Mangano has proposed the so-called "Fiscal Crisis Reform Act" as part of his efforts to close Nassau County's more than $300 million budget deficit.

"It's un-American, a violation of the Constitution," said Nassau PBA president James Carver.

"We will remember in November," chanted workers who threatened a work stoppage in the county.

In a statement, Mangano responded, "Jim Carver's PBA fails to recognize that residents do not sympathize with members who earn six-figure salaries, work three days a week, and receive 61 paid days off a year. While we value police officers' bravery and dedication, taxpayers cannot afford a 39 percent property tax hike to provide free health insurance and educational pay when no educational enhancement is required."

He also said, "The fact remains if union bosses fail to negotiate, more of their members will lose their jobs or will be furloughed."

"I don't know what more he wants me to do," said crossing guard Dorothy Rollo, who claims the proposal would take close to $200 from her bi-weekly check of about $750.

Union leaders likened the fight in Nassau to that waged in Wisconsin against a proposal to eliminate the collective bargaining process.

Carver and others vowed to challenge the legislation in court if it is approved. It's unclear when Nassau's legislature will vote on it.

CSEA leader Jerry Laricchiuta pledged to fight back.

"We will draw a line in the sand here," added NYC PBA head Pat Lynch.

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