SHAD TVI’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.

Your thoughts?

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  1. I voted ‘no’, and I don’t care what people think of me. When I began state service, 99% of the employees were Tier I. I’ve seen wave upon wave of Tier I employees retire, between ages 55 to 60, with enhancements to an already generous retirement program. I do have resentment over the growing gulf between the superior Tier I employees and the inferior Tier II employees. Tier I employees kept on retiring under good terms, while those on the inferior Tier II plan will have to pay the bill. This was the 1st concessions where the old-timers got a poor deal. I’m 60, in a physical job, my body hurts, and I’m expected to do some combination of either delay my retirement, or just leave with less. It’s been said that the state employs 2x the management employees, as compared to the private sector. During the campaign, Malloy had the non-union (management state employees) concerned as he made soundbites of ‘to many layers’ and ‘redundant duties’ pointed towards the managers, as he smoozed with the union officials. It seems that the layoffs will be the union employees, and bypass the managers. The vast majority of six-figure earners are the managers. The managers get more vacation days, can bank up to 120 vacation days, average 4x the longivity money, there are sporadic bonuses, and a higher pension multiplier. The state is top-heavy with management, and the answer to that is to get rid of the $45K union employee.

  2. I understand the impact and fyi I voted yes. My point is that if you count the last agreement this will make it a 2.5% pay increase over 7 years plus the additional 3% for five years. I am for givebacks but this is not a sweetheart deal. The deficit is not the fault of state employees. We just gave back $750M a few years ago and.that agreement isn’t finished….now they want twice as much….what happens in two years if there is a deficit? Are we supposed to give again? Cut spending. If you want to make programmatic changes then apply them to new employees not ones that have worked for twenty years…..propose an agreement that closes this deficit not one that creates a billion dollar surplus to spend more. You get to just pay higher taxes. I get to pay the same as you plus take a minimum 5k salary hit and pay $25k to extend the healthcare deal. Yes this is a sweetheart deal.

  3. From The Shad: The story is accurate. You are unhappy with the givebacks and that’s understandable. But the alternative is thousands of your “brothers” and “sisters” get the boot.

    And God forbid you don’t get that 2.5% raise the private sector hasn’t seen in years. Sorry, but the public and even your own supporters are not with you on this one.

  4. You realize the change in healthcare is 3% of your salary for 10 years. This makes your 9% pay increase over 5 years essentially zero and you fail to mention the 2.5% raise that would be eliminated with this agreement (it was part of the last agreement state workers made that isn’t even finished). So get your sweetheart story rightright.

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