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.
Click here to contact your legislators
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.
Call or email your legislators today.
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.
ebenson May 9th, 2018
Posted In: Political Action
As you heard last week, NEASC did not approve the CSCU plan to consolidate the community colleges. While many of you breathed a sigh of relief, others may be more fearful after President Ojakian threatened to close campuses if funding cannot be secured for the system. Regardless of how you felt about Students First, it is clear that the system needs money to continue to operate while determining next steps. As faculty and staff, we certainly hope to influence the next steps. But there is one thing we all need to do right now:
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS and ask both your state representative and state senator to support increased funding for the community colleges. Calling is best, but email is better than nothing.
There is one week left of the legislative session. You can find your legislators here
. You can use this data
to show your legislators how many Community College faculty, staff, and students live in the cities and towns they represent and why their investment is so critical. They cannot allow the BOR to double tuition for our students and state employees have done their part to save the state money by the SEBAC 2017 Agreement. (As you will see below, we also ask that you call legislators about not attaching any bad amendments regarding your collective bargaining rights to legislation).
Please take the time to do this one ask of calling your legislators. The more people they hear from, the more attention it will gain from legislators.
Your Rights Under the Contract
While we cannot predict what the state budget will bring next week, we want to assure you of the job security rights under the 4Cs Contract.
- Job Security: There shall be no loss of employment for permanent employees hired prior to July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.
- Protection from job loss does not apply to:
- Expiration of a temporary or special appointment (in 1st year),
- Nonrenewal of a non-tenured employee for performance-related reasons,
- Termination of grant or other outside funding specified for a particular position; and,
- Less than 20-hour per week part-time employees.
- Employees in the 2nd or subsequent special appointment year on the effective date of this Agreement shall be covered by this provision.
It does not prevent the BOR from restructuring and eliminating positions provided that the affected employees shall be reassigned or transferred to an existing comparable job in the
system for which the employee possesses the requisite qualifications and experience. Salary and tenure status shall be preserved. An employee who refuses an offered position shall not be considered a layoff.
The General Assembly adjourns on Wednesday, May 9, so we will have an answer to whether the state is making this crucial investment in our state’s neediest students. More information to follow next week.
Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing anything about the consolidation. For example, a member heard this week that Goodwin College was buying Tunxis. The BOR cannot sell a campus; it is state-owned, not BOR-owned. The Department of Administrative Services is in charge of all state property. But the 4Cs was able to reach out to the BOR and get written confirmation that this was not true. Again, please feel free to contact the 4Cs office at 860.296.5172 with any questions or concerns during these uncertain times.
ebenson May 4th, 2018
Posted In: Political Action
Please join the 4Cs for our 2018 Membership Conference on Saturday, April 28 at the Mystic Hilton. The agenda and registration can be found here.
Workshops will include preparing for retirement, promotion and tenure, contract questions and answers, labor history, conflict resolution, the politics of public higher education, and more!
Our lunchtime speaker will be Steve Thornton, author of
Wicked Hartford. “One of the oldest cities in America, Hartford holds plenty of sinful stories. Famed inventor and industrialist Samuel Colt sold arms to both the North and South in the buildup to the Civil War. The notorious Seyms Street jail was the subject of national criticism and scandal for its deplorable conditions. Local journalist Daniel Birdsall fought to expose corruption in the powerful insurance industry and local government at the expense of his own printing presses. Tension between unions and “robber barons” such as Jay Gould spilled into the streets during the Gilded Age. In Wicked Hartford, Author Steve Thornton takes readers on an exciting journey through the seedy underbelly of Hartford’s past” (read more here).
Steve Thornton is a retired union organizer (the 4Cs and 1199) and community activist who has led strikes and organizing campaigns in Connecticut for the past 35 years. He has trained hundreds of people in nonviolent direct action and thousands of workers to become rank and file leaders. Steve has worked to build coalitions between various groups working on economic, racial, and environmental justice (http://bportlibrary.org/hc/author/steve-thornton/)
Registration will remain open until Friday, April 20. Please register here!
ebenson April 2nd, 2018
Posted In: Adjuncts, Events, Part-Timers, Unions
The 4Cs Membership Committee invites all members to complete our survey here. The purpose of this survey is to gauge your satisfaction with the representation you are receiving from the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4Cs). It will help guide Union leadership’s roles and goals, establish priorities, and determine overall direction for YOUR UNION.
This survey was last distributed in 2013. It contains many of the same questions, but additional questions have been added.
Your answers will help clarify what you expect from the 4Cs leadership at the Chapter and State levels. It is also designed to help us understand what motivates our members to become involved with Union activities.
Thank you for taking time to respond to this important survey
ebenson March 6th, 2018
Posted In: Home
On Tuesday, January 30, the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly held a forum on the proposed Community College Consolidation, known as “Students First.” The forum can be watched on demand from CT-N here.
CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, was questioned by legislators for nearly two hours about the proposed consolidation. President Ojakian shared the following PowerPoint Presentation with the Committee:
Several faculty and staff from the 4Cs, CSU-AAUP and SUOAF-AFSCME attended to testify against the consolidation, along with students from the community colleges and representatives of the various community college foundations.
While 4Cs President Bryan Bonina was not able to testify in person, he submitted testimony electronically, which can be read here. Other testimony can be viewed here.
Many media outlets covered the forum:
ebenson January 31st, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
On January 20, 2018, on the one-year anniversary of the first Women’s March, people of all backgrounds will come together in Hartford to defend women’s rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, and much more.
So please join us at the State Capitol Building on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 12:30 p.m. as we launch the 2018 Women’s March agenda. This includes an important section on workers’ rights that, in part, reads:
“All women should be paid equitably, with access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, paid family leave, and healthy work environments. All workers – including domestic and farm workers, undocumented and migrant workers – must have the right to organize and fight for a living wage.”
There will be a march at 12:30 p.m. from the north side of the Corning Fountain
to arrive at the Capitol at 1:00 p.m.
Those with limited mobility or those who do not wish to march can just gather at the Capitol.
Women’s March in Hartford
Connecticut State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford
Saturday, January 20
12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier
- U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty
- State Senator Beth Bye
- Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez
- CWEALF Executive Director Kate Farrar
- Make the Road CT Organizer Barbara Lopez
- & many more!
For more information about parking, public transportation, food, and more, please visit:
ebenson January 19th, 2018
Posted In: Events
The budget passed by the House and Senate over the weekend hurts our students and our colleges. In President Ojakian’s words, “Early Saturday morning the Connecticut General Assembly passed a budget that intends to cut approximately $93M from the CSCU system over the next two years. Funding for developmental education is completely eliminated, while the Roberta Willis scholarship fund is phased out…This amounts to an unprecedented denial of access and support to public higher education students in Connecticut.” Read the full statement here
The budget would also dismantle our fundamental collective bargaining rights by:
- Removing funding for cost-of-living increases for retired state employees;
- Unilaterally changing how pensions are calculated– even for years already worked, and for all years through 2027;
- And increasing pension contributions for ALL state employees to 7%.
If this budget were passed into law, SEBAC would be forced to litigate and defend our contractual and contract rights.
The Governor has pledged to veto the budget, but the Yankee Institute is encouraging people to contact the Governor and ask him to sign the budget.
We are asking you to do two things:
- Please contact your legislators to demand restoration of funding to the Community Colleges and the Willis Scholarship. You can locate your legislators and view our template email by visiting this link.
- Please email Governor Malloy to ask him to stand by his pledge to veto this budget and to restore funding for CSCU and the Willis Scholarship in the budget compromise. You can email him here.
ebenson September 20th, 2017
Posted In: Political Action, Unions
On July 31, the Connecticut Senate passed the SEBAC Tentative Agreement by a vote of 19-18, thanks to the tie breaking vote of Lt. Gov. Wyman. Last week, the Agreements were approved by the House by a margin of 78-72.
The SEBAC Tentative Agreement can be viewed here
. The 4Cs Tentative Agreement can be viewed here
(note: there are multiple agreements).
SEBAC Statement on Passage
“We commend the State Senators who voted yes and Lieutenant Governor Wyman for doing the right thing on behalf of Connecticut and its working and middle-class families.
The passage of the SEBAC Agreement and its companion 34 bargaining unit agreements secures $1.5 billion in savings in the biennium and $24 billion over the next two decades while protecting vital public services, which all Connecticut residents depend on. We urge the Senate to use the momentum of this positive result to move on to a budget that serves the interest of all of Connecticut’s 3.5 million ordinary residents, rather than consolidating the power and privilege of the wealthiest few and the largest corporations.
In Connecticut, the very wealthy pay a lower percentage of their income in state and local taxes than working and middle-class families do. This is a level of unfairness that our state just can’t afford and we hope the General Assembly passes a fair and moral budget for all Connecticut residents.”
ebenson August 1st, 2017
Posted In: Contract Negotiations, SEBAC
Thank you to everyone who participated in the vote on the 4Cs and SEBAC Tentative Agreements.
All three tentative agreements – SEBAC, 4Cs full-time CBA, and 4Cs part-time CBA – were overwhelmingly approved by you. Please see the attached
for our CBA results.
In addition, all Connecticut SEBAC voting unit members unanimously approved the SEBAC tentative agreement. Please see the SEBAC press release here
The support of these agreements by our members sends an important message to every Connecticut citizen. Together, we have stated loud and clear that we are willing to do our part to assure Connecticut Community Colleges continue to deliver affordable, high quality education and excellent services into the future. This is what we do, and we do it extremely well!
Your support for these agreements is a reflection of how much 4Cs members care about protecting Connecticut Community Colleges, our students, and our communities.
Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice.
Bryan R. Bonina, President
Congress of CT Community Colleges
ebenson July 18th, 2017
Posted In: 4Cs President, SEBAC, Unions
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As you know, the 4Cs and SEBAC have reached Tentative Agreements on wages, benefits, and working conditions. This email is to inform you that voting on these agreements will take place from July 1 through July 14. All 4Cs members will have a vote on two issues:
- 4Cs Contract Vote for issues such as wages and working conditions and language changes
- SEBAC Vote for retirement and healthcare
Detailed information on both agreements is available on the 4Cs website. Look under “Issues” for either the SEBAC 2017 or 4Cs Contract Negotiations.
SEBAC leaders are recommending a YES vote on both the SEBAC and individual bargaining unit Tentative Agreements. Further, the 4Cs Delegate Assembly has recommended approval of the 4Cs Tentative Agreement. It is clear that the gains all unions have made in the past are at significant risk. Voting yes on these agreements provide a level of security for members, our families, co-workers and those we serve in a time of great uncertainty.
What do ‘No’ votes mean? If you vote no on the 4Cs Contract, we will likely have to go to arbitration for wages and other economic issues and NO job security. It is likely that the General Assembly would vote down any contract or arbitrated award that includes raises. If you vote no on the SEBAC Agreement, there is a real possibility of losing collective bargaining after the current SEBAC Agreement expires in 2022 and no individual contracts.
We urge all of our members to vote on this important issue. A letter is being mailed to all members with your voting credentials, but you don’t have to wait to vote. To vote now:
- Please visit https://eballot4.votenet.com/seiu1973/.
- Enter your Last Name
- Enter your State Employee ID number (a six digit number found on your pay stub) as your password
- Mark your ballot
- Confirm your selections and click “submit.”
The vote will be open through July 14. Please remember that only dues-paying members are allowed to vote (which requires that you have signed a membership form). If you are unsure of your status, please contact the 4Cs office at 860.296.5172. If you wish to change your membership status, you can fill out a membership form online here.
Once the membership voting process has completed on July 14, and if all agreements are approved, the SEBAC agreement and all the contracts for the individual bargaining units would be presented to the General Assembly as a single item for approval. The General Assembly can either vote yes on all the agreements or no on all the agreements.
If you have any questions or any problems logging in to vote, please call the office at 860.296.5172.
ebenson July 13th, 2017
Posted In: SEBAC
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