SHAD TV: I’ll be appearing on NBC-Connecticut with Brad Drazen and on the FOX-Connecticut Morning News with Logan Byrnes tomorrow (Thursday morning) to break down the latest in the labor-Malloy-layoff mess…uh…situation. NBC-Connecticut (Channel 30) @ 5:45 and 6:45 am and then just after 7 am on FOX-Connecticut (Channel 61). Tune in if you can!
Say this for the leaders of the Connecticut state employee unions—they have brass ones. After officially rejecting the concessions deal agreed to between labor negotiators and the Malloy administration, union leaders are now asking the governor to reopen talks. They’ve got to be kidding.
There are basically two issues at work here—the boldness of the unions and the credibility of the governor. The former is on display yet again and the latter is at stake. The unions are not going to get a better deal. Or if they do, Malloy loses all credibility in dealing with labor.
It’s been written and said all along—labor in the state got a sweet “concessions” deal from Malloy. The agreement ensured no layoffs, no furlough days, wage increases of nine percent over five years and changes in health care and pensions. Compare that with other states and any reasonable person would take the deal. Here in Connecticut, they rejected it. And now they want to restart the talks? That’s nothing short of an insult to every taxpayer in the state and shouldn’t even be considered.
The unions have done something no other entity has been able to do—put Democrats like state Sen. Edith Prague, state Sen. President Don Williams, Majority Leader Marty Looney, every Republican in the state, felonious former governor-turned-talk-show-host John Rowland, the editorial boards of not-exactly-conservative Hartford Courant (and every other newspaper in the state) and Boston Globe, liberal WNPR radio talk show host Colin McEnroe and your faithful Shad, all on the same side recognizing the immense arrogance and selfishness of the unions’ rank and file. Those that “got theirs” threw their “brothers” and “sisters” overboard. They should now live with it.
Malloy has consistently said he would not reopen negotiations but is willing to “clarify” aspects of the existing, now rejected, deal. After the recently concluded session of the General Assembly, Malloy is already in danger of being “the governor who cried ‘layoffs!’”—several times pushing off the deadline for issuing layoff notices as talks with labor dragged on. Everyone knows it was labor and voters in the state’s biggest cities that gave Malloy the razor-thin margin of victory in the election in the first place. Capitulating to labor now would cost Malloy dearly in the court of public opinion.
The worst thing Malloy can do is to reopen negotiations and call it “clarification,” the term he used in keeping the door open a bit. Labor didn’t use the word “renegotiation” either but rather wants “to restart talks.” Are we headed for a political word game? Does it depend on “what the meaning of ‘is’ is?” We’re not stupid. And yes, people are on vacation and not really paying attention. But eventually such a move will cost the governor dearly. Yes, it’s noble to try to save the nearly 7,000 jobs on the line here. No one wants to inflict such pain (well, almost no one—there are some conservatives that just want to whack these families for ideology’s sake). But it was labor’s choice and governor drew a line in the cement. To grab some leveling cement now would spell trouble.