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r-FURLOUGHS-NEW-YORK-huge

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s Legislature has approved unprecedented furloughs for state workers to contend with the state’s fiscal crisis.

Democratic Gov. David Paterson forced the vote on an emergency spending bill that includes the one-day-a-week furloughs for about 100,000 state workers, meant to save $30 million a week.

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The Senate and Assembly majorities oppose furloughs and called the action illegal, but they had to vote for them because the furloughs couldn’t be separated from the spending bill. Rejecting the measure would have shut down state government.

The workers’ unions have refused requests by the Paterson administration for lag pay and for suspending their raises for a year to – as Paterson puts it – share in the sacrifice of all New Yorkers in the recession. Two unions say they’re seeking restraining orders.

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