Peel back the drama, pink slips and rhetoric of the past weeks—especially last week—and we are left with one simple fact: State employee unions will vote on another concessions deal and many of the draconian layoffs detailed last week will be averted, The Hanging Shad has learned from multiple sources (see video below and hear The Shad on WTIC-AM NewsTalk 1080 radio)
Leaders of the state employee labor unions will meet Monday with the goal of changing their bylaws so that a “clarified” give-back deal with the Malloy administration can be ratified and the services-devastating layoffs of state workers can be averted. Nothing short of changing the unions’ bylaws to ensure passage of the deal will be acceptable to the Malloy administration, The Hanging Shad has learned. That could be tricky. Two-thirds of the union leadership must approve changing the bylaws but it’s unclear whether the votes have to be “weighted” to reflect the amount of rank and file each leader represents.
The Shad has previously reported that there is in fact, “a way out” of this jam in which the two sides find themselves. And now that Malloy and the judicial branch have detailed just how devastating the layoffs would be, the public is starting to realize it is caught in the middle.
Last week, both labor and Malloy hinted that there will be another concessions vote—and this time it will be ratified. Malloy appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” financial show and called the defeat of the concessions vote, “round one.” Labor spokesman Matt O’Connor said, “We are committed and confident we’re going to be able to avoid these layoffs.” These two statements took on even more importance when Malloy and the judicial branch detailed their cuts.
It will be not sufficient to the administration, The Shad has learned, for labor to simply revote on the defeated deal. The Malloy administration won’t take the chance of having the deal be defeated again. Malloy wants the bylaws changed. Currently, 14 of the 15 bargaining units have to approve a concessions deal and 80 percent of the rank and file—a near-impossibly high threshold (57 percent and 11 of the units for in favor—not particularly close).
Malloy has also said he would not renegotiate the defeated deal but is willing to “clarify” it. The rank and file has been saying on websites and in the media that they feared the proposed changes in its health care and that its members would be rolled into the SustiNet plan (which doesn’t exist). Malloy could simply clarify the deal to say state workers, through the course of their contracts, would not be rolled into the nonexistent plan. That, then, means there is a “new” plan for labor to vote on and with the changed bylaws, it would be approved.
Time is not a friend to the process. The longer there is no concessions deal, the harder it is to make up the savings. And then there is the pay raises unions members got July 1st—the two sides have to deal with that.
Meanwhile, to complicate things, national labor leaders are said to be pressuring Connecticut state employee labor union leaders to get a deal done. In a national atmosphere where public employee union members are seeing their jobs slashed and even their right to collective bargaining threatened, national labor leaders see Connecticut as a chance to show how it can be done cooperatively.