NY weighs 22,000 municipal layoffs in wake of coronavirus pandemic

Northeast

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — A perfect storm of coronavirus-related issues could be headed for the New York City area.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is weighing scaling-back service by up to 40% to balance its budget, reducing service for millions of commuters.

At the same time, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is holding out hope for a $12 billion federal bailout, saying that’s all that stands in the way of massive municipal layoffs that could begin early next week.

New York has been weighing 22,000 municipal layoffs — about 6.5% of its workforce — which it says would save a $1 billion. 

Then there are back-to-school plans in the Tri-State area.

New York City plans to return students to classrooms on Sept. 10th. Students will have two teachers, one each for in-person and remote learning.

But that has raised the ire of the union representing school administrators, which calls the idea  “indefensible.”

“Regrettably, the DOE has now created a potential staffing crisis with just two weeks to go before the first day of school,” the Council of Schools Supervisors and Administrators said in an open letter.

On Friday, the city said it had a plan to find thousands of teachers to ease staffing concerns.

Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, officials are finalizing their own back-to-school plans, while updating the Garden State’s unemployment numbers — which Governor Phil Murphy called “jaw-dropping.” More than 1.5 million state workers filed unemployment claims over the past five months.

On Friday, Murphy announced a relief package to help daycares and working parents, saying the state has been working to identify areas facing the greatest need.

“And the two big ones,” he said, “Our child-care providers need assistance. And the second, our families need resources to afford new and increasing expenses.”

Some analysts say even as the curve is flattening in the nation’s most populous region, the full weight of the economic damage is just beginning to be seen.

New York’s democratic governor left little doubt this week where he places the blame. 

“The COVID problem in New York was a direct result of the negligence of the federal government,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

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