ALBANY - (AP) - Public employee unions are striking back atNew York Gov. David Paterson as he prepares a plan that could leadto layoffs in coming months.

Paterson told The Associated Press Sunday that a late budget anddeclining revenues from taxes and the federal government is forcingwhat he called a real conversation about laying off some of thestate's more than 200,000 workers.

The Public Employees Federation union accuses Paterson of usingstate workers as a pawn in his political fight with theLegislature.

Paterson said planning is beginning immediately for possiblelayoffs. He says he's unsure when they could start.

The Civil Service Employees Association says Monday thatPaterson is bound by an agreement not to lay off state workersuntil Jan. 1 at the earliest.