Proposed Canal Corporation layoffs get pushback from union and advocates

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February 20, 2013

A state union and advocates of New York's Erie Canal system are pushing back against proposed job cuts for canal workers.

The Thruway Authority's plan to eliminate 234 employees in order to save money includes 42 Canal Corporation employees.

The layoffs come as an alternative to proposed toll hikes on the Thruway last year.

The Civil Service Employees Union says the cuts to canal staff will hurt efficiency and the ability to maintain the state's waterways.The CSEA has started an online petition and canvassed a boat show in Syracuse over the weekend.

The 524 mile canal connecting the Hudson River to Lake Erie was once a major economic corridor through upstate New York, but is now used mostly for recreation and tourism.

Advocates say the canal is still an "economic lifeline" for the communities along it.

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