While the 19 members of the Nassau County Legislature were inside the chambers of 1550 Franklin Ave. Monday morning facing off with a couple hundred protesters over the redistricting process, several hundred more, all members of the CSEA Local 830 union, were out in the rain picketing around the perimeter.
The rally, spearheaded by union President Jerry Laricchiuta, was an attempt to stave off hundreds of layoffs as a result of $181 million in proposed budget cuts from Nassau Executive Ed Mangano.
The cuts stem from the recent takeover of the county’s finances by a state fiscal oversight board who has imposed accounting practices on the county which Mangano has said necessitated the cuts and reductions in staffing which include 213 layoffs, the elimination of 307 already funded positions and a 13 day furlough.
The demonstrations included a pair of giant inflatable cartoon effigies of a rat and a greedy pig, both union protest staples, as well as boxes upon boxes of hand clappers and rally t-shirts that were distributed on the steps of the legislature to union members who could be seen walking over from union headquarters on County Seat Drive and various other Nassau office buildings in the area.
Laricchiuta has called the cuts an attack on the middle class by Nassau County, saying that county was trying to “balance the budget on the back(s)” of union workers who are being “villified” in the eyes of the public.
The CSEA has joined with the Police Benevolent Association and other county unions in a suit against NIFA to stop a freeze on scheduled wage increases and the furlough, but did not offer any update on the details of the case on Monday.