On the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, UUP President Phil Smith and a host of Brooklyn's elected, community and faith-based leaders speak out against job cuts at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The leaders presented UUP's petition signed by 10,000 Brooklyn residents that urges the governor to stop further job cuts and keep Downstate operating as a full-service hospital.
"We have 10,000 people who agree that closing Downstate is not the way to go," Smith said. "Downstate keeps Brooklyn and New York healthy. We need to keep Downstate healthy."
Diana Mason (pictured at mic), one of the 400 UUP members at Downstate who received a nonrenewal notice, delivered an emotional plea to stop any job cuts.
"I appeal to the governor to intervene and rescind my layoff notice, because the service we provide is very important," she said. Mason also said she is the mother of three children who need her financial support.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, on behalf of state and local legislators representing Brooklyn, underscored his support for Downstate and its workers and services, saying that every Brooklynite deserves the best health care society can provide.
"For the sake of Brooklyn's patient and economic health, let's send a message loud and clear: no more layoffs and no more disruptions to medical care," Markowitz said.
Other union leaders voiced their support, including state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, who said families who rely on Downstate's services would suffer.
"We have to do more for those who have the least, but we're going in the opposite direction," he said.
UUP Downstate Chapter President Rowena Blackman-Stroud thanked everyone for their support, saying "We won't stop until we win this battle."