Connecticut AFL-CIO Disappointed in Governor's Call for Labor Concessions in Budget

Following the Connecticut's State of the State this week, which called for labor concessions to balance the budget, Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier said the governor's proposals are disappointing. Here are some excerpts from coverage of the response:

Pelletier: No Appetite for Labor Concessions: "The leader of Connecticut's largest labor organization says she's disappointed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is already talking about state employee labor concessions as a way to balance the state budget. Lori Pelletier says, 'There is not an appetite' among state workers for additional givebacks. They last agreed to a concession package in 2011, which included changes to health and retirement benefits."

Malloy Asks Labor to Continue to Help Solve Budget Deficit: "Last month Gov. Malloy was able to reach an agreement with the state employee unions to make changes to the pension fund without changing the benefits state employees receive....Lori Pelletier said Malloy talked about having workers give back and taxpayers giving back, but she said he never spoke about tax fairness. 'How can we continue as a state to have this incredible wealth 30 miles down the road from Bridgeport or from what you see in Hartford?' Pelletier said."

Malloy Warns of Need for Concessions, Smaller Government, New Aid Formulas: "Gov. Malloy set the stage in his 2017 State of the State address Wednesday for a protracted and difficult debate on how to further shrink state government, extract more concessions from unions on pension and health benefits, and better focus a smaller pool of state aid for education on the systems most in need....[Director of the Working Families Party Lindsay] Farrell and Lori Pelletier suggested that Democrats' losses in November were caused by labor's coolness to them in 2016, not the broader electorate's anger over the economy. 'We saw the Democrats in the legislature not stand up to Gov. Malloy last year, and there were a lot of electoral consequences,' Farrell said. 'I think that every legislator in this building was watching those election results very closely,' said Pelletier, who called the governor's address 'disappointing.' 'There should have been another part to his speech,' she added, 'tax fairness.'"

City and Union Leaders React to State of State: "Gov. Malloy's State of the State address on Wednesday placed a large focus on Connecticut's looming $1.5 billion budget deficit....Lori Pelletier says, 'There is not an appetite' among state workers for additional givebacks. They last agreed to a concession package in 2011, which included changes to health and retirement benefits."

Facing Big Deficit, Malloy Calls for Cuts, Concessions, Pension Reform and New Formula for Funding Public Schools: "With the most closely divided legislature in more than 50 years, Gov. Malloy issued a plea for bipartisanship during the opening day of the legislative session Wednesday as the state faces potentially painful budget cuts and the promise of a new formula to fund public schools....Pelletier said the unions already voted for concessions in 2011, and some of their ideas were never enacted. 'Why do you immediately go to concessions?' Pelletier asked."

The Latest: Union Says $15 Wage Can Help Fix State Deficit: "One state employee union is urging Connecticut lawmakers and Gov. Malloy to increase the minimum wage to $15, arguing it will help bridge the state's budget deficit. Jen Schneider, spokeswoman for SEIU 1199, noted on Wednesday how one-third of the state's deficit, estimated at approximately $1.3 billion, stems from spending on low-wage workers accessing public assistance. In his address to lawmakers on the opening day of the session, Malloy said state employee labor concessions are needed to cover the deficit and his administration has been in discussions with union leaders. Pelletier, who is not a part of the talks, says she's only aware of conversations about restructuring pension payments. Pelletier is dismayed Malloy is already proposing givebacks without discussing 'what else is out there.'"

Conn. Governor Malloy Calls for Leaner Government, School Funding Changes: "Gov. Malloy on Wednesday called for a new way to calculate state education aid to cities and towns while also warning lawmakers they're not finished making difficult budget-cutting decisions given Connecticut's continued spate of projected budget deficits….'I think that the governor jumped to the head of the line, went after the big ticket items. But we really need a conversation about what else is out there,' Lori Pelletier said, adding how workers have no appetite for more givebacks because they're frustrated the administration hasn't followed through with some of their budget-cutting ideas."