| Sorry is this round-up is a little heavy handed against the selfish minority of union members who screwed thugs up for everyone but Malloy's alternative is not good for anyone.
UPDATE: After taking a deep breath and counting to ten, I'll definitely agree with elements of Matt W's comment, particularly where he states that the state's bully in chief bears a great deal of responsibility for the union concession mess...and Jon Pelto has been one on the lone voices pointing out this very factor out for several months. Make sure you read Pelto's union concession timeline a read...in fact, it's required reading.
- Why many of the selfish voted no.
So what happened?
"Just in speaking to different people," James-Evans said, she found people left with unanswered questions from union brass. "I think the communication wasn't there. The union did a terrible job communicating with their members. It was a big, big issue. They didn't make the investment in communicating with folks."
Indeed, misconceptions about the deal spread like wildfire among the rank and file, with tales of "Obamacare" "nanny state" provisions forcing workers to switch doctors, penalizing them for smoking or being fat, or denying emergency care, for instance. The plan required them to sign a form saying they'd undergo annual physicals (or face new deductible and higher premiums) and twice-annual free dental cleanings. It also required most workers at some point to have colonoscopies or mammograms absent compelling reasons not to, and to visit primary care centers rather than emergency rooms if the option exists.
"I voted no basically because of the medical," said one, a member of AFSME Local 749. He said he already pays $500 per month for health insurance for his family. He said he didn't have enough information about the proposed health care plan to trust that he wouldn't lose benefits.
He said his union already gave seven furlough days under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell. "We weren't afraid to give back something" more, he said, but "there was just so much" he was willing to give up.
A state judicial marshal turned in his ballot Thursday as part of the National Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 731, whose votes have not yet been tallied.
"I voted it down," he said. He said he already gave up a pay raise in concessions under Gov. Rell. A self-described "diehard Democrat," he supported Malloy in his election for governor. Now he feels the new governor is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the working class, he said.
"They go after the working [class] people," he said, while judges are allowed to retire with a pension, then return to get $225 per day "to just sit up on the 9th floor and drink coffee."
Another state judicial marshal also voted "no" on the proposal. She said she didn't have much information about the labor deal, but "it seemed like the right thing to do." She said there was a "consensus" among coworkers to vote no.
Another worker, who has been with the state for five years, said the biggest split is between senior employees and newer hires like her. The junior workers are more cognizant that times are hard in the private sector, she said, and are more likely to be willing to accept less from the state. Many older employees, by contrast, "they're in their comfort zone, and change is not a good thing."
"Let's just say this: you have performers and non-performers," she said. "There's a good chance the performers are going to be let go" because they haven't been around as long. The more senior workers "don't think they'll be touched" by layoffs.
- Lockhart thinks the rejection amounts to seniors versus juniors.
Basically, as some folks tell it, senior workers decided their jobs were safe and figured they'd sacrifice the newbies (i.e. "First in, last out...") to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, who has been threatening layoffs if the unions did not ratify the $1.6 billion deal.
And Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, said it is certainly something his bosses will consider when they convene Monday to figure out what the heck happened.
"That's going to be part of the analysis," O'Connor said.
- Feedback on the selfish minority who screwed it for everyone...
Many Connecticut residents on the outside looking in on the state's labor battle say they are stunned by the defeated concessions deal and wholly apathetic to the unions' woes.
"I think it's a shame," said Jeff Parker, of Easton. "Now we're going to have 7,500 people lose their jobs."
Marge Tremel, a Fairfield resident who works at St. Vincent's Medical Center, said union members that voted down the deal have been selfish.
"In these days and ages, everyone needs to give a little," she said. "Some of the unions are a little bit too greedy."
Elizabeth, a Shelton resident who withheld her last name, called the rejection of the contract "short-sighted and selfish."
"Unions were set up years ago to protect employees in a very different work environment," she said. "Today they have so many benefits that the rest of us don't experience and I think they have missed the bigger picture."
- More feedback...
While this newspaper felt Gov. Malloy should have insisted on greater givebacks from labor, it agreed with his overall strategy of achieving savings through negotiated concessions rather than putting more people out of work. Adding thousands to the unemployment roles, crippling their buying power, will only exacerbate Connecticut's economic problems.
But that's the path the state unionized workforce has chosen, or at least a part of it. Through its collective bargaining, the state labor unions purposely made it very difficult to approve concessions. Now many of its members will pay a heavy price. When the unions finish counting, a majority of members will have agreed to the modest concessions, but the arcane weighted formula required to approve a contract adjustment means the lack of support from one large bargaining unit, AFSCME, killed the deal.
With their misguided and selfish votes, some state employees have both assured that many of their fellow workers will be out of jobs and reinforced the stereotype of the privileged government worker unwilling to compromise.
The political consequences are sure to be dire. "No" voters can't possibly believe that the public will support them; rather, their worst prejudices against state employees have been confirmed. This is not Wisconsin. No one is on the unions' side. National labor leaders have been conspicuously silent. Any state employees believing that elected officials are now going to turn around and negotiate a better-for-them deal are clearly not thinking straight; no one in the legislature or the governor's office has any reason to stick their necks out for the unions now.
Sen. Edith Prague, hardly a union-busting lawmaker herself, wondered if some state employees were just out of their minds. The unions "will never get another thing out of me," the quotable Prague remarked in disgust. Nor should they.
Malloy has long threatened a draconian "Plan B" budget that slashes services, lays off thousands, and puts a huge burden on towns and cities. There is no reason not to think that this is exactly what will be put into place. The governor has called a special session for next week, and lawmakers will probably end up approving a budget slightly less destructive than Malloy's original. Whatever the outcome, budget cuts and higher taxes are coming to your town, courtesy of a small minority of state employees.
- Dixon predict's Malloy's Plan B
How about this scenario, which is being contemplated by the Malloy team: Social workers in the DCF rejected the concessions, so how about wholesale shutdowns of the DCF social-worker departments, who would be replaced with private non-profits, saving the state lots of money? Those jobs would be so easy to privatize that the social workers wouldn't know what hit them.
The program of providing teachers in state prisons is another one that could be so easily privatized. It would almost be as if Republican Tom Foley had won the gubernatorial election after all. And the liberal Democratic lawmakers will be sitting up there in the stands with Malloy, giving the state employees the big thumbs down.
- Finally, Daily Kos' DemfromCT landed an interview with Governor Malloy which is a must read!
What's your thoughts on the concession rejection?