In a sometimes contentious but brutally honest meeting with state labor unions last week, Gov. Dannel Malloy, in his effort to get big concessions from labor to balance the state budget, finally referenced the original source of the problem. It was then-Gov. John Rowland who gave away the store with a 20-year contract with the unions. Rowland made the deal in order to get an early retirement program at the time to save the state money immediately.
Malloy is looking for $2 billion over two years in concessions from the unions. He walked straight into the belly of the beast in a stand-room only meeting with labor Friday. “I didn’t drive Connecticut into the ditch. You didn’t drive Connecticut into the ditch,” he told the crowd. He then asked them whether they listen to “those crazies” on afternoon radio.
Rowland and his sidekick pastor do in fact talk incessantly about right wing positions on their WTIC-AM radio afternoon talk show. Of course, their positions are so predictable they are one topic away from turning their show into “Delicious Dish.”
For the last four months or so, Rowland has been hammering the state employee unions’ benefit plan that, admittedly, consists of generous benefits. What he doesn’t tell you is that it was his administration that negotiated the deal with state workers. Talk about hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, at the same gathering Friday, AFL-CIO president John Olsen said Rowland was “the jerk” who “spews venom” every day on the radio. While one wouldn’t expect Olsen to love Rowland, his criticism is a bit ironic since it was the former governor who gave Olsen’s peeps the sweet deal.
Olsen also had no love for Malloy’s intention to seek the concessions from labor. A flyer was handed out at the event saying the very wealthy in the state were not paying their fair share under Malloy’s budget plan.