Union launches media campaign against state layoffs

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HARTFORD & MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — State employee unions are going on the offense against Governor Malloy and the more than 1,000 state employee layoffs.

One union is filing grievances and and labor complaints and another; the Health Care Workers Union is launching a TV advertising blitz against those layoffs. District 1199 of the Health Care Workers union says this is just the start of a long media campaign aimed at showing the harm the state employee layoffs are causing.

The first ad features 40-year-old Jenny Voronovitch of Meriden who suffers from cerebral palsy. She has never been able to speak and is generally unable to move. The only thing she can do is move her eyes and a speech pathologist named Mallory helped to program what’s called a “Tobbi/Dynavox” computer so she can communicate with an electronic voice with her eye movements.

On the TV commercial the computer generated voice of Jenny can be heard saying, “On May 3rd, Mallory was laid off. Governor, please bring back Mallory and all the laid off state workers, we need them, please Governor.”

You can watch the entire commercial here.

The union says Mallory is the only state employee with the computer skills to help Jenny. Lee Lowrey is a retired state employee who volunteered and is now Jenny’s Probate Court appointed co-guardian. She says Mallory continues to help Jenny while she’s looking for a job.

“She would be devastated if Mallory left her at this point and was truly gone that’s why she continues to volunteer because it may be a job for us when we’re actually working but it’s their lives,” said Lowery.

The Governor says he can’t control exactly which employees lose their jobs because the union’s own rules allow certain bumping rights which can end up with a person receiving a layoff notice being able to push someone else out instead because of seniority and other factors and that even though the unions are pushing for higher taxes, the vast majority of residents don’t want that.

He pledged that Jenny will continue to get state help saying, “We have to provide services to those individuals and we will continue to provide services to individuals, but we have to do it within budgetary constraints.”

A spokesperson for the Health Care Workers union says Jenny’s therapist, Mallory, was not bumped, she received a layoff notice from the Governor’s office.

Today, the union that represents more than 100 laid off Judicial Marshals said those layoffs are jeopardizing safety at the state’s 43 court houses around the state. There have been 300 layoffs in the Judicial branch of government 825 in the Executive Branch which includes the worker than helps Jenny.

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