Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Plan B Lifts Off

Governor Dannel Malloy today announced “After more than two months of talks, I'm afraid that my administration and the state employee unions have not reached agreement. Our talks have been respectful and forthright so far, and I remain willing to continue the discussions if the unions are willing to do so. However, we must all be willing to work toward a settlement that Connecticut taxpayers can afford in the long run.”

Negotiations between the governor’s office and union leaders were not entirely leak proof. There were indications that the talks had been going no where, but no one was willing to speak on the record. The sticking point from the union side was that negotiators were unwilling to succumb to the size of the givebacks, said to be $20,000 per year per state worker.

In the absence of an agreement – really more a capitulation than an agreement – Mr. Malloy announced today that lay off notices would be sent out immediately:

“I have directed OPM to begin issuing layoff notices in an orderly fashion to the first 4,742 state employees. Those layoffs will result in savings of approximately $455 million. I've also directed OPM to begin the process necessary to cut an additional $545 million in spending; those cuts, many of them programmatic, will be spread across state government, and will, in all likelihood, result in additional layoffs.

"I want to be clear that this is not the road I wanted to go down. I didn't want to lay people off, and I didn't want to make additional spending cuts beyond the $780 million in spending we've already cut.

"But I have no choice. I promised the people of Connecticut that I would change the way we do business in Hartford. I promised to deliver a budget that is balanced with no gimmicks, and I will.”
In his press release, Mr. Malloy said that the savings he hoped to realize in his negotiations with union leaders were “predicated on two principles: we need to achieve the short-term savings necessary to balance this budget, and we need long-term, structural savings in order to make state government sustainable. To do so, I am attempting to bring the benefits enjoyed by state employees -- wages, healthcare, and pension benefits -- more in line with those enjoyed by their counterparts in the private sector and in the federal workforce."

The talks likely stalled on benefit package reforms as well.

In response to Mr. Malloy’s most recent announcement, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition this morning posted the following statement on its website:

"The discussions have been extraordinarily complex and demand our continued efforts to find mutual resolution.

"SEBAC is disappointed the administration has decided to begin issuing layoff notices. We have said time and again that laying off workers, whether in the public or private sector, and slashing vital public services will prove disastrous to our shared goal of creating jobs and rebuilding the middle class - especially at a time when our 9.1% unemployment rate is already higher than the national average.”

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The budget increases spending by $900 million. Where did Malloy cut $780 million from the budget?

Anonymous said...

Save it Malloy.

You and your liberal buddies for over 20 years have crucified this state and it businesses and people.

Typical tax and spend liberal demoncrat spending everyones money but yourselfs

dmoelling said...

The template is already in place. Lay off summer workers making $9-11/hr at state parks, close a DMV office while neglecting the bloated state aid to big cities. People will feel small cost inconveniences while Gov Malloy's union buddies feel little pain. (Noting that layoffs mean little or nothing to union leadership so long as contracts are observed).

More importantly the lure of federal dollars for boondoggles like the busway/high speed rail between Hartford/springfield will still capture the Democratic fly.

Don Pesci said...

Negotiations are still under weigh. Malloy just removed the mailed fist from the velvet glove. Donovan, Williams, and the Democratic majority in the General Assembly have not yet opened their beaks. And after Malloy’s shut out of Republicans in the General Assembly, help from that quarter will be sparing and grudging – good for unions on the whole. This is only round 3.

Union leaders probably will be satisfied with give backs that can be taken back in future years. And they really have to go to the rank and file with Malloy’s gun taped to their temples.

Bottom line: permanent tax increases, temporary saving losses. The unions are balking at benefit give backs because those are permanent cuts.

Anonymous said...

Read/heard that biggest part of 4700 lay-offs are closing the tech schools.

Bob said...

Unions eat their young. They preach brotherhood to the younger workers but sell them out to protect benefits and the older workers.

The unions have the big picture view, always the long march for workers rights and benefits. A temporary setback that will be forgotten in the big struggle.

I've seen it over and over again.