HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s do-or-die for the state employee labor unions this week, as the pressure mounts for hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions.
Eight weeks from today is July 1st, the start of the new budget year; and some state employees must get at least eight weeks notice if they are going to lose their job. The concessions have become even more crucial in light of the new red ink numbers amounting to about $5 billion over the next two years.
Governor Malloy is planning to unveil a new budget plan by the end of the week. In the absence of a concession agreement from the labor unions, the first of what may be thousands of layoff notices are also expected.
Legislative leaders from both political parties agree with the Governor that a concession deal for $700 million in give backs next year and $800 million the year after must be achieved.
In fairness to the people of Connecticut and in fairness to the workforce, we need to understand where we are.”
When the Governor proposed his original budget back in February, it included a plan for 4,200 state employee layoffs if a concession deal is not reached. Under that plan the agency that would take the biggest hit is the Department of Correction. That’s likely because there are fewer inmates in prison now than at any time in the past two decades.
The Governor’s original layoff plan calls for 567 layoffs at D-O-C, 430 in the State College and University System, 403 in the Judicial Department, and 300 in the Department of Children and Families. The Department of Transportation would also see a big hit if there is no concession deal.
Under the original Malloy layoff plan; 319 would get pink slips at D.O.T., 319 at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, 197 at the University of Connecticut, and 158 at the U-Conn Health Center. Even the agency that includes the State Police would not be exempt with 161 layoffs slated there.
“It’s our, our hope but our anticipation that the $700 million in concessions will be achieved,” said the Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin). The House Minority Leader, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) adding, “I would hope, not only we get the $700 million of concessions, we probably need more at this point, but at the very least we need that because nobody wants anybody to lose their job.”
And Minority Leader Klarides adds; the state employee union contracts are not sustainable anymore. Not because they’re doing anything wrong she calls it an old set up that just doesn’t work anymore.