ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The executive committee of New York's second-largest public workers union on Monday supported a new tentative contract that could avoid 3,500 layoffs.

The Public Employees Federation contract proposal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo will next face its biggest test with a vote by rank-and-file members. Paper ballots were sent to members' homes starting Monday and will be counted Nov. 3.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said Monday that the deal negotiated over the weekend is the 56,000-member PEF's last chance to avoid layoffs that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday.

"Simply put, the fate of the members is in the union's hands," Cuomo said before the committee vote. "It's up to them."

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