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Union members rally to support Ogdensburg workers who face job cuts

Updated: May. 7, 2020 at 7:34 AM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - While dozens were online protesting cuts to Ogdensburg’s workforce, others were rallying outside city hall to support city workers.

“I think at this time during a pandemic that harsh choices shouldn't be made,” protestor Tamara Graveline said. Graveline represents the New York State Nurses Association.

She and her fellow union members lined Ford Street in front of Ogdensburg’s city hall Wednesday to rally against the city’s plan to make cuts to the police and fire departments.

"The firefighters are our first responders, EMS, they help them,” Graveline said. “The EMS brings us our patients. When we are in the ER and we need help we call the police department and they are there in seconds.

Many people -- mostly union members -- rallied outside Ogdensburg city hall Wednesday to...
Many people -- mostly union members -- rallied outside Ogdensburg city hall Wednesday to protest proposed cuts to the city workforce(WWNY)

Graveline says with fewer boots on the ground, there could be more of a response time, putting patients in danger.

“Time matters – patients’ lives matter,” she said.

The group was not just made up of nurses, police officers, and firefighters. Many other unions came out to show their support.

“We’re out here supporting them because this is probably not going to be the first time local communities are going to see public service cuts,” John Collins said, “so we’ve got to come out for them now because it may be us next.”

Collins works for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. He leads a union of teaching assistants. He says an injury to one union is an injury to all.

“Today is the fire and police departments,” he said. “Next week it might be the teachers, and after that the nurses.”

So Collins says, “Remember to support teachers and public servants, because they’re going to be there for us when we need them.”

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