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Vol. 75/No. 21      May 30, 2011

Union officials in
Connecticut submit to cuts
(front page)
BOSTON—Union officials representing Connecticut state workers agreed to $1.6 billion in concessions, which include a two-year wage freeze and a three-year increase in the retirement age for workers who retire after 2017.

According to the New York Times, the state sought the concessions “to help balance a budget that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says includes pain for everyone: record tax increases, substantial program cuts and worker givebacks in health care, pension benefits and wages.”

The agreement also reportedly includes a provision that no employees will be laid off in the next four years. Malloy, a Democrat, had issued layoff notices for nearly 4,800 of the state’s 45,000 state employees, but rescinded the notices after the deal was announced.

The deal has been submitted to 15 unions and 34 bargaining units. If approved it will go to the state legislature.

“I hate to say if it’s good or bad but we stand behind it and think it’s the right thing to do in these difficult times,” said union spokesman Larry Dorman.

The union leaderships’ strategy of making concessions to avoid legislative restrictions on union rights backfired in Massachusetts. On April 14 municipal unions in Boston agreed to a deal with Mayor Thomas Menino that raised health insurance premiums and co-payments for both care and medicine.

“We really wanted to demonstrate that unions are not the problem, that we can be part of the solution,” Jennifer Springer, lead negotiator for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told the Boston Globe. “I would hope that the folks at the State House will look at this and see that we don’t have to take away collective bargaining.”

The Massachusetts legislators “took a look at it” and passed a bill in the Democratic-led House of Representatives April 26 that would limit collective bargaining and allow municipalities to set health insurance co-payments and deductibles. It must still pass the state senate and be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick to become law.
Related articles:
Picket in Keokuk, Iowa, backs locked-out workers
Chipotle workers fight firings in Washington, D.C.
Pennsylvania: Health workers fight union busting  
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