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Malloy Asks Labor Not To Question His Commitment

by Christine Stuart | Sep 15, 2011 12:27pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Labor, State Budget

Christine Stuart photo

John Harrity of the Machinists Union gives Gov. Dannel Malloy a proposal

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy acknowledged there were “sharp elbows” thrown over the past eight months between state employee unions and his administration, but said Thursday morning “please don’t question my commitment to labor.“

Addressing the AFL-CIO annual convention at Foxwoods Casino, Malloy said he is committed to helping grow the labor movement and wants to make it easier for employees to organize.

The message was appreciated by the hundreds of union members in attendance.

“It’s the first time in a long time we’ve had a governor that hasn’t actively declared war on the labor movement,” Larry Dorman, spokesman for the AFSCME Council 4, said.

Like Malloy, Dorman acknowledged there were still wounds and raw feelings over the $1.6 billion State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement, but both sides recognize “we need to work together to get the economy moving with great jobs.”

Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4, praised the governor for being one of the few that decided to raise taxes this year to balance the budget.

He also acknowledged Malloy hasn’t openly attacked labor, but he thinks Malloy needs to be a better communicator. He said a lot of the anger over the concession agreement was because of the lack of communication and the process.

Godfrey Ferguson, a child support services employee with AFSCME Local 2663, said he thinks the governor was attempting to “mend fences,” with his speech. He said there were some hard feelings over some of his negotiation strategies and many members were “very unhappy with him.”

“The ball was in his court to move forward and I believe that’s what he did today,” Ferguson said.

But Malloy made no apologies for deciding to go down that path and asking the unions to sacrifice.

“We sat down with labor leaders, we had 50 days or so of discussions and we reached an agreement. And I understand took a long time to get it passed, but that was a lynchpin to making sure we didn’t have to cut 18 percent of our budget,“ Malloy said as he reflected on the agreement. “That was a lynchpin to making sure we did not have to take apart our higher educational system. That was a lynchpin to making sure we didn’t have to cut aid to every municipality in the state.”

“We never made it personal,” Malloy said. “You never heard me attack labor and I won’t.”

The room gave him a warm round of applause.

It would have been safer not to show up at an event like this Malloy said. But he said he won’t do that and he knows labor won’t do that either.

He acknowledged that there are governor’s and legislatures across the country making it more difficult to organize.

“It’s a political calculation, if you come off as against labor it’s going to help you,” Malloy said. “And that might be a short term agreement on a short term basis to personal popularity but what would it do for any of us.”

In an approximately 16-minute speech Malloy also asked labor not to question his commitment to replace Connecticut’s failing infrastructure.

“We need to get construction trades back to work,” Malloy said. “We are committed to building that infrastructure.”

Ed Reilly, head of the Ironworkers Union and Hartford Building Trades, a private-sector union, said he liked what the governor had to say.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in him,” Reilly said. “I think he’s heading in the right direction.”

The construction trades have been hit over recent years with upwards of 20 percent unemployment in some instances. Reilly believes Malloy’s investments in infrastructure will help his union get back to work.

“I can’t ignore the fact we are in the fourth year of a very slow economy and that has caused us all to rethink some of our approaches,” Malloy said.

He said that’s why he’s called the legislature back into a special session next month and labor will be invited to the table to be part of the conversations leading up to the special session.

“By the way if we don’t create jobs you can’t organize,” Malloy concluded. “I’m proud to have been invited. I’m proud to have accepted your invitation.”

In an interview after his speech Malloy said his appearance was not about “bridges,” this was about “respect.”

“We talk. We don’t always necessarily agree, but we’re having conversations,” Malloy said.

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(8) Comments

posted by: Upset.Citizen | September 15, 2011  1:31pm

Upset.Citizen

Dictator Dan flies in the face of what this country was founded on!

I will question you comrade! The more you tell me not to the more I’m sure you have something to hide!

Commitment.. What exactly are you committed too? Tax and spend for sure… Taking from hard working people to give to everyone else, especially the rich, oh yeah…

2014… Not that far away!

posted by: unionleo | September 15, 2011  1:34pm

It was an interesting speech - brough back memories of the stump speeches on the campaign trail.  While I probably side with the majority in the Q poll performance ratings I do have to admit he’s definitely, positively a tad better than Rowland, Rell, Walker, Christi etc… Now there’s something to be thankful for….

posted by: soldoutbytheunion | September 15, 2011  5:48pm

Is Dan-L serious? Did he say that with a straight face or with just his usual “uh-ah-ah-ah-um-er-aah,ah..um’s?” He engages in a major union busting campaign (much of it illegal) and then tries to whisper softly in our ears?  He forced the unions to bargain a concession package that the unions and he had no authority to bargain…the unions for their part walked blindly to his tune and committed malfeasance by circumventing by-laws that worked fine for 15 years.  The threats, coersion and misinformation aimed at the rank and file came from both sides and now he is Mr. labor friendly.  I’ve posted this link before but please watch it again and then compare it to his recent actions reagrding the state labor unions…..  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7qrjhwczUg

posted by: Junkette | September 15, 2011  10:00pm

Dictator Dan? Union busting? Wait, what?
I watched that clip.  Sounds to me like they did exactly what they said.  Did that union even support him in the primary?  Sounds like there are some selfish little people who don’t really care about anybody but themselves.

posted by: Unbelievable | September 15, 2011  10:38pm

This man is unbelievable. He just attacked my pension and my healthcare and he claims he’s pro union. He’s a lying fool. And to think I voted for him. He makes me ill.

posted by: Specter | September 17, 2011  8:31am

Dan Malliar…gotta make nice with the unions so that he can continue to benefit from their coffers…

posted by: sickofit | September 18, 2011  1:35pm

Yeah, he’s a helluva speaker. As a State Worker I shook his hand and congratulated him on his terrific speech at our Union convention. Too bad he’s a backstabbing liar, you can’t trust a word he says. But he speaks well…

posted by: Victoria1555 | September 19, 2011  11:58am

CT is in trouble because of no compromise so many of us are moving - taxes were already toooo high! Poor CT residents! You should have negotiated (: