Wage freeze, furlough days in potential labor deal


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A possible breakthrough in talks between the Malloy Administration and the state labor unions aimed at saving hundreds of millions in the budget crisis.

It would include another wage freeze, furlough days, and higher insurance premiums and pension contributions.  The deal would rescind layoff notices and would include a no layoff promise for at least four years. It would move all current retirees over age 65 to a Medicare Advantage Plan for tremendous savings. Related Content: Malloy says local union rejection vote jeopardizes Hartford bailout

Sources tell News 8 that the Malloy Administration is nearing a concession and cost saving deal with representatives of the 15 state labor unions that represent about 40,000 state employees. It would have potential savings of $712 million next year, and close to $850 million the second year.

State legislative leaders have called for even more savings from labor union concessions but the Governor has said that is not in the cards.

I’m hopeful we can hit my target; but the targets that they’ve included in their budgets I doubt we could reach.”

Related Content: Republicans disagree with optimistic Speaker on budget battle progress

Reports indicate the potential deal would increase medical and pension contributions from employees, include another wage freeze and furlough days, and that union leaders will vote on whether or not to submit the deal to the rank-and-file as early as Tuesday.

“To open up legal discussions, you would need eighty percent of that, and then it would go to the union members to ratify,” said AFSCME Local 749 President Chuck Della Rocco.  In other words, union leaders representing bargaining units that comprise 80 percent of that workforce must say okay, or there is no tentative agreement.Related Content: Malloy: State employee layoffs have begun

One of the unions, the Health Care Workers is using school kids in a video ad to make points against agreeing to any concession deal.  In the campaign, kids look into the camera and say, “When I grow up I want to balance the budget by laying off middle class workers,” and “I want to be in the pocket of the business lobby.”

Still another is criticizing the Malloy administration for appointing 13 new Superior Court judges in the middle of an economic crisis.  Della Rocco, who’se local represents judicial workers saying,  “We’re running with less, we would hope that they would run with less.”Related Content: Layoff notices looming with no concession deal

Some of these individual unions are still pushing for tax hikes on the wealthy and businesses as the solution to the budget crisis.  But the one thing the Governor, the Democrats and the Republicans seem to agree on at this point is; that is not going to work.Reporter’s note;  the health care worker’s union says their TV ad is not advocating against a concession deal but is to point out what they believe are “misplaced priorities” by legislators in the budget process.  A health care worker’s union spokesperson noting that the union is participating in the concession/cost saving discussions with the Malloy Administration.

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