Early this morning we became aware that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding any potential budget deal hostage for legislation that would end portions of Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws and weaken others. (Click here to read this morning’s CT Mirror story.) There is a fair deal available that would protect healthcare for seniors, and protect aid to and cities, but Republicans won’t support it unless it take rights away from working families.
Their proposals include a ban on collective bargaining on pensions and health care after 2027, removal of overtime from pension calculations after 2027 (especially bad for those workers doing hazardous duty), no COLA for retirees after 2027, and a new rule for cities and towns establishing an “irrebuttable presumption” that 15% of a municipality’s operating budget “is not available for payment of the cost of any item subject to negotiation or arbitration.” Could your town provide raises or improvements in benefits if their budgets were effectively shrunk by 15%? Could the state implement a similar restriction?
The final hours of the 2018 legislative session are likely to be the most perilous for us. Some members of the General Assembly think the only way to balance our state’s budget is on the backs of public employees. We cannot let them strip away, alter, or diminish our collective bargaining rights, nor the health care benefits and pensions we earned through our years of hard work and service to our state, our cities and our towns.
What’s at stake? Anti-union legislators want to:
- Eliminate matters of retirement, overtime in pension calculations, and health care from collective bargaining;
- Change the benefit formula for state pensioners, including eliminating a COLA until the fund reaches 80% funded and the General Assembly approves a COLA (this would end COLAs for years);
- Eliminate overtime from pension benefit calculations, heavily impacting hazardous duty positions like correction police and health care where overtime is often mandated.
- Make it impossible to provide municipal employees a raise.
If politicians do not hear from you, that means they are only hearing from right-wing extremist groups like the Yankee Institute. And, the folks at the Yankee Institute are telling them that your health care plan is too generous or your pension is unsustainable. Too many politicians will listen to this false propaganda. And if you have already spoken with your legislator this session, contact them again. Believe me, the anti-public employee lobbyists are speaking to your legislator every day.
Clearly, there is a fair agreement to be made that protects the services people need, but corporate conservatives at the legislature won’t vote for any agreement unless it hurts working people. So please pick up your phone or turn on your computer and contact the General Assembly members who are supposed to represent you in the State Capitol.
If you do not know who your state legislators are you can click here to find them. These are the caucus phone numbers:
- Senate Democrats Office: 860.240.8600
- Senate Republicans Office: 860.240.8800
- House Democrats Office: 860.240.8500
- House Republicans Office: 860.240.8700
Tell them to not take away our freedom to unite for a better life, and to improve our communities, through collective bargaining. Community Colleges are also facing MILLIONS in funding losses.
Together we will stop these attacks and protect our rights and freedoms.