Union leaders ask Malloy to reopen concessions talks
Published 5:21 pm, Tuesday, July 5, 2011
HARTFORD -- The leaders of the state's 45,000 unionized public employees on Tuesday asked Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to reopen concessions talks in an effort to avert the planned layoffs of more than 6,500 state workers.
Their request comes more than a week after the rank-and-file membership failed to approve the governor's $1.6 billion concessions package.
Malloy previously has declined to reopen negotiations, but there appears to be some wiggle room over the possible "clarification" of the deal, which included a two-year wage freeze followed by three years of 3 percent raises, along with higher insurance co-payments and reduced pension contributions from the state.
"The governor has said all along he's happy to clarify the language of the agreement if that will allow it to be ratified," said Colleen Flanagan, Malloy's communication's director.
Last week, leaders of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, representing about 45,000 full-time employees, rejected a motion to change the coalition's bylaws that would affect the recent vote of 15 bargaining units. However, they did approve a proposal to consider changes governing future agreements with the state.
Eleven unions representing 57 percent of unionized workers voted to ratify Malloy's proposal, but 14 were needed to pass the deal.
Malloy on Friday morning signed legislation approved earlier in the day by the General Assembly, accepting enhanced power over the next three months to cut budgets. The bill also gives SEBAC until the end of August to agree to a deal on concessions that could head off the layoffs.