Unions that represent public workers in New York on Wednesday said the state was moving to delay the implementation of contractual raises for 90 days.

It’s not clear how many workers are affected by the delay, or which segments of the workforce.

But statements were issued on Thursday evening by the Civil Service Employees Association, the state’s largest public-sector labor group, and the New York State Corrections Officers Police Benevolent Association — suggesting the delay would have a wide-ranging impact.

The delay comes amid a budget crisis for the state amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tax revenue has largely dried up amid a shutdown of the economy in order to halt the spread of the virus.

CSEA’s contract calls for a 2 percent raise that would take effect in mid-April.

“It’s inexcusable to require our workers to literally face death to ensure the state keeps running and then turn around and deny those very workers their much-deserved raise in this time of crisis,” said CSEA President Mary Sullivan.

“People are failing to recognize the value of our state workers during this crisis and what they are going through to keep providing public services throughout the state. We literally have workers sleeping in their workplaces to make sure essential services are delivered around the clock.” 

Michael Powers, the president of the state’s corrections officers union, called the move a “slap in the face.”

“Our members are working day and night and are subject to some of the most dangerous conditions in the state,” Powers said. “With hundreds of our members testing positive for COVID-19 and hundreds more quarantined, the risks are real.”
State lawmakers last week approved a $177 billion state budget, but that final spending figure is largely a placeholder number.

The state is expected to be relying on short-term borrowing and watching closely for federal relief packages to make up for a projected lost revenue of between $10 billion and $15 billion.