In a dramatic turnaround, the head of the state Canal Corporation, now says Governor Andrew Cuomo's layoffs there will indeed mean a drastic reduction in operations along the canal system along with a corresponding drop in morale. In an email sent to employees Thursday, Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton said Cuomo's layoffs would force the corporation to resort to a reduced operating schedule last employed in 1991. The director noted that "resources will be strained, and ... people challenged, like never before..."
Just over a month ago, Stratton said the layoffs would not affect operations or pose a threat to safety. CSEA, the union representing the canal workers, immediately rejected Stratton's claim because many of the cuts involved Canal Lock Operators, who perform the vital function of controlling dam movement and regulating water levels. CSEA has learned that due to the governor's cuts the Oswego Canal now has no lock operators.
The union predicts remaining workers may wind up having to rove between locks to provide coverage, racking up large amounts of overtime, offsetting anticipated cost savings.