Gov. Cuomo was hanged in effigy Thursday at the Collins Correctional Facility by more than 300 state prison and psychiatric center workers angry about state cutbacks.
The protest and informational picketing came one day after 600 corrections employees across the state were laid off as cost-saving measures to help balance the state budget.
"We're picketing today in protest of the cutbacks, the (pay) lag, (and) the layoffs," said Dan Kuligowski, president of Local 1406 of Council 82, which represents correction officers.
"We're also protesting that the governor and the legislators have been targeting and trying to balance the budget on the backs of state workers. We know this can't be done."
Pat Cornell, a food service worker from Gowanda, was one of 11 civilian workers laid off Wednesday at Lakeview Correctional Facility in Brocton.
"I think it really stinks," she said. "I don't make a lot of money. I make $15,000 a year, which is not a lot of money to take care of my family. I think of all these people sitting up on top making all these big bucks. To let us go like this and take our livelihood away from us and our self-esteem, I think it stinks."
Kuligowski, one of 400 corrections officers at the Collins prison, and other protesters warned that laying them off would be dangerous to the remaining workers inside the prison and to the public.
"They're laying off the teachers, they're laying off the recreation aides, they're laying off officers," he said. "It leaves an idle inmate with less security to guard him, and behind that barbed wire both security and civilian staff are in jeopardy."
James Mann, executive vice president of Council 82, recalled that idle inmates and no programs led to the bloody 1971 riot at Attica Correctional Facility.
"Everything that was written after the '71 riot said the main things that led up to the riot (were) idle inmates (and) no programs," he said. "It's all a matter of money," he added. "They don't care. The top people in Albany do not care about us down here."
Eleven correction officers lost their jobs at Collins Wednesday, while two others were transferred to Sing Sing prison in Ossining, Kuligowski said. He said Collins also lost about 20 civilian employees, including nurses and recreation aides.
Kuligowski said the 26,000 members of Council 82 are not considering a strike.
"We don't break the Taylor Law, unlike the governor and the legislators," he said, referring to the state law that prohibits public employees from striking.
"We're not going to break the Taylor Law. We're going to exhaust every avenue we can, before even discussing a strike."
Joining the Collins correction officers during the hourlong picketing outside the prison were employees from Attica, Lakeview and Mid-Orange correctional facilities; the Gowanda and Buffalo psychiatric centers, and J.N. Adam Developmental Center in Perrysburg.
The Civil Service Employees Association and Public Employees Federation also supported the picketing.