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Labor Applauds Malloy’s Agenda

by Hugh McQuaid | Feb 7, 2014 5:30am
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Labor, State Budget

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Lori Pelletier, head of Connecticut AFL-CIO, and Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4

Ahead of the final State of the State address of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first term, Connecticut labor unions drew distinctions Thursday between Malloy’s policies and efforts in other states to restrict collective bargaining rights.

“In recent weeks we’ve heard candidates talk about Connecticut having a ‘Wisconsin moment.’ Well let me say unequivocally — we are not Wisconsin. We are proud that this legislature and Gov. Malloy respect the collective bargaining process,” Lori Pelletier, head of Connecticut AFL-CIO, said.

Pelletier and other labor leaders outlined their 2014 agenda in the Legislative Office Building Thursday morning. This year they are seeking to expand collective bargaining rights to new groups of workers and require greater oversight of nonprofit hospitals converting to for-profit models. The unions are also supporting a Malloy proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017.

But Pelletier spent some time touting some of the policies already in place in Connecticut. Like the state’s first-in-the-nation law requiring some employers to provide paid sick leave to workers.

“We work hard everyday to make sure we keep Connecticut as a premier example that you can be pro-worker and pro-business. By having the best working conditions we believe will bring the best businesses to our state,” she said.

Malloy echoed the idea a few hours later as he addressed the state’s lawmakers in the Hall of the House of Representatives.

“There are those who claim that any action taken in support of employees is, by definition, harmful to our economy. I fundamentally disagree. A balanced approach that supports both workers and their employers is not only possible, it’s the only responsible path,” he said.

In a statement, Pelletier called Malloy’s remarks “a beacon of hope that next year’s address will show the many rewards all of us will reap if we can just work together for progress.”

But Malloy’s first term was not without its labor conflicts. During his first State of the State speech in 2011, Malloy pressed state employee unions to come up with $2 billion in savings and concessions to help close a more than $3 billion budget hole. That request came just months after labor helped Malloy win the gubernatorial election by one of the smallest margins in recent history.

The administration and union negotiators eventually arrived at an agreement estimated at the time at $1.6 billion in concessions and included a two-year wage freeze for state workers. It took two votes to get state workers to ratify the deal. By the time it was inked state employee union leaders were describing their relationship with the Malloy administration as rocky.

Three years later, Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4, said time has healed some of those wounds. He said most of his members now recognize the severity of the budget situation Malloy was in.

“There was a giant hole within the deficit. I think as time has gone on they’ve understood the reasons why they had to take the zeros, that the [State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition] deal was ultimately not a horrible one for them,” he said.

Malloy has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election. But if he does, Luciano said most union members would support him because, as Pelletier put it, Connecticut is not Wisconsin.

“Those that have the wider view, that understand what’s going on — in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Rhode Island, in New York — they actually realize that this governor has not reacted like [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich or [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker . . . or even [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo for that matter,” Luciano said.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Chien DeBerger | February 7, 2014  8:21am

“Labor Applauds Malloy’s Agenda”- That should be a red flag for all of us. Especially when Wisconsin had a REAL surplus of 900+ million in which Governor Walker is giving back to the people who own it, the taxpayers.

posted by: dano860 | February 7, 2014  8:24am

...and we expected them to say what?
They are leeches, the more blood (money) there is to suck, the fatter they get!

posted by: mmal231294 | February 7, 2014  9:56am

LOLOLOL. Two words come to mind,1)DUH and 2)Gross.

posted by: oliviahuxtable | February 7, 2014  10:40am

I do not trust him after the crooked SEBAC deal. I will take my chances with a Republican Governor being held in check by a Democrat House and Senate. Dannel says one thing in an election year but something very different after the election. State workers: remember that it was the Democrats who, in 2011, threatened an end to collective bargaining if they did not get that unctuous deal approved. Do not trust them! Everyone knows of the huge deficits brewing in the out years after the election…. You think Dannel and his minions will not cone after state workers again to fund his liberal agenda? Of course he will. Beware. He might be our Kasich, our Walker.

posted by: justsayin | February 7, 2014  10:50am

This can not be good for the rest of us.

posted by: SocialButterfly | February 7, 2014  11:47am

Malloy’s “political reelection ploy” will need much more than the union vote he is “kissing union members” to achieve. Give us a break. Start governing and quit campaigning Dan.

posted by: SocialButterfly | February 7, 2014  1:46pm

Gov. Malloy should heed the fact that union lawyers’s hope to bleed us dry by filing groundless law suits against the Right to Work Laws.
Both Obama and Malloy stay in power by failing to provide jobs—and instead, created Democratic Welfare prosperity—which wins the
Democratic candidate elections through the taxpayer-paid Social Benefits vote.  Through this
created-non-working majority of “Voters who vote for a Living”—Gov. Malloy is a difficult person to oust from the Governor’s chair—as the Republican
governor candidates depend on people who work for a living—which is now a minority—while Malloy continues with a false projection of Democratic prosperity.

posted by: Lawrence | February 7, 2014  7:01pm

Nice job representing the 1%, ‘wingers. Don’t forget to send the rest of us a postcard from the GOP political history museum after the November election.

posted by: NP3stateworker | February 10, 2014  8:03pm

Sal Luciano is dreaming if he thinks we have forgotten the union’s betrayal of us in 2011, or the way the union told us “It’s Malloy’s fault.” No, Sal, most of us do NOT understand the budget problem the Governor was in, we do NOT forgive the way you and the Governor rammed home a concession deal that most state employees didn’t want, and we will NOT vote for Malloy again.