CT state union workers overwhelmingly approve concessions agreement

CT state union workers overwhelmingly approve concessions agreement”

The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition announced the official voting results on Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposal Tuesday morning at the Connecticut State Employees Association in Hartford. "Now it's time for our legislators to do their part by asking the billionaires and the corporations to do the same", said Darnell Ford, a member of District 1199 of the Health Care Workers Union who works for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

"Once again, the governor has asked us to step up and we came to the call". "We can't be the only part in this process". The deal would also double pension contributions for most workers; create a hybrid pension/defined-contribution plan for future employees; increase health care co-payments and premiums; require active workers to contribute more toward their retirement health care benefit; and reduce health care benefits for existing retirees.

The top lawyer/negotiator for the state labor unions, Attorney Dan Livingston, agrees and says that even if the Republicans were able to get approval of what they want, the unions would have the state in court within a matter of days.

Labor costs were one sticking point in budget talks as lawmakers differ with each other and Malloy over how to close a $5.1 billion shortfall over the next two years.

Republicans say their labor proposal would save $2 billion over two years without any union negotiations, while the SEBAC deal would save $1.5 billion.

With Democrats and Republicans still locked in a stalemate over proposed tax and spending increases, Malloy has been unilaterally running the state's finances by executive order since the new fiscal year started on July 1.

The agreement went to a vote by tens of thousands rank-and-file state employees.

Republicans have said with such a large budget hole, more concessions are needed.

State Democrats commended state workers' for accepting the concessions.

Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), countered, "There could only be about $500 million in savings done statutorily and none of the health agreements or pensions could be touched til 2022".

"State unions held up their end of the bargain - negotiating in good faith, leading their members through some tough changes, and ultimately rallying their members". He said his caucus is pushing ahead with a new two-year budget that will include the $1.5 billion in savings negotiated by Malloy. "Approve that package and pass a budget". The group was protesting cuts to programs serving people with disabilities that are being imposed because the state still does not have a budget in place.

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