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GUARDS QUESTION NEW YEAR'S READINESS

The union representing state prison guards, angered by a new sick-leave policy, contended Wednesday that prison administrators have not done enough to cope with a potential New Year's strike by inmates.

The union asked the state Department of Correctional Services to conduct a "general frisk" of every prison in advance of the holiday weekend, which rumors have long identified as the date of a possible inmate strike to protest Pataki administration parole and prison labor policies.

The union said its members were also angered when the prison department notified prison personnel that between today and Jan. 5, all employees who call in sick must get a doctor's note or be considered away without leave.

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