State and Unions May Be Close to Concessions Deal

An interesting Courant article indicates that the state and SEBAC, the state unions bargaining unit are close to a deal in principal for roughly $732.2 million over three years (this year and the two years of the next budget).

The wage concessions would total more than $225 million over two years and would include a “hard freeze” that means no increases or bonuses for the first year. Unionized employees would take one furlough day in the current fiscal year and three days in each of the next two years for overall savings of nearly $70 million, according to the documents.

[The current agreement that expires in 2017] sets the prescription co-pays for generic drugs at $3, but the documents say the co-pays would be increased to $5 for generic, $10 for preferred/formulary brand name and $25 for other brand names. The savings would be $19 million in each of the next two years. In addition, premium cost-sharing concessions would save nearly $43 million over two years.

The [retirement incentive] program would be available to state employees who are at least 55 years old by May 31 and who have at least 10 years of service in the state system. The incentive is that up to three years would be added to their service, thus increasing their pensions. The plan would save more than $200 million, including $11 million in the current fiscal year.
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State troopers and prison guards would not need to be at least 55 before retiring, but would need “a minimum of … 20 years of actual, credited hazardous-duty state service.”

The article cites anonymous sources as saying that the two sides are about a year apart on a no-layoff period, and implies that the period is the last remaining major difference between the sides. Go read the whole article, it’s all interesting, including an introduction (by the authors) of Larry Cafero as not knowing about the inner workings of the negotiations, preceding two paragraphs of his thoughts about the inner workings of the negotiations! Fun!

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22 responses to “State and Unions May Be Close to Concessions Deal

  1. it’s all interesting, including an introduction (by the authors) of Larry Cafero as not knowing about the inner workings of the negotiations, preceding two paragraphs of his thoughts about the inner workings of the negotiations! Fun!

    As if it requires sitting at the negotiating table in person to know that the unions started negotiations from the Calhoun Line (NOT ONE DIME!).

    Hey, if this can only go two ways… negotiate or get layoffs. I remember a day when they preferred to lose membership to layoffs for some to preserve the gold plated benefits package for most under Rowland.

  2. Wow. A Gabe front page piece that bashes Republicans. What a surprise. Tell me again how the Democrats have proposed a “balanced” budget…

  3. Unions are, of course, incredible things.

  4. Wow. A Gabe front page piece that bashes Republicans.

    Far be it for me to question your instructions, but where exactly is there Republican “bashing” in this post?

  5. Why do I get the sense that even if the unions do give up nearly a billion dollars, that you guys will find some excuse to call them greedy and lazy?

  6. Wasn’t just about six months ago that Governor, Genaurio and Democratic leadership were all saying that retirement incentives haven’t really saved money in the past?

  7. find some excuse to call them greedy and lazy?

    Uh……….lemme guess……because they’re greedy & lazy?

  8. Uh……….lemme guess……because they’re greedy & lazy?

    And there’s the problem.

  9. An Early Retirement Program only shifts the costs off the current Budget to the Pension Trust which is so underfunded that it can’t see any daylight from the bottom of the hole it’s in. It doesn’t save any money in the long term and adds to the State’s high level of long term obligations that have materially contributed to the problems today and tees up future budget deficits in the future.
    Given the uncertainties of today’s economy, a No Layoff Agreement would be ill advised without some strong outs in the case things continue to deteriorate and/or deeper concessions to provide a cushion against revenues continuing their southern journey in the future.

  10. And there’s the problem.

    Exactly.

    The built-in job security and fear of reprisal for making one’s co-workers “look bad” simply by actually doing one’s job has combined to create what has become literally a culture.

    Anyone who hasn’t heard it from a state employee, hasn’t bothered to listen.

  11. The built-in job security and fear of reprisal for making one’s co-workers “look bad” simply by actually doing one’s job has combined to create what has become literally a culture.

    Not what I meant.

    The problem here is that you will never believe that the union is bargaining in good faith. Your assumption that they’re nothing but a bunch of lazy slobs is informed by anecdotal evidence and a ton of anti-union rhetoric. There isn’t much I can do to convince you otherwise.

    I was a member of a union for a while, and while it wasn’t the greatest organization ever, it did protect us from people like you in the town government who wanted nothing more than to cut our pay, slash our benefits, make us work in rotten conditions and fire us to save a buck or two. World class education, after all, shouldn’t cost money, and teachers should be willing to work 60-hour weeks for next to nothing. Right?

    I was a town employee in a union. Are you calling me lazy?

    It’s different when you deal with actual people instead of just stupid stereotypes, isn’t it?

    The state employees’ union is doing their best to help out. Give them a damn break already.

  12. “Why do I get the sense that even if the unions do give up nearly a billion dollars, that you guys will find some excuse to call them greedy and lazy?”

    This has nothing at all to do with questioning if our state workers are lazy or greedy. It has everything to do with fairness, honesty, and what is affordable.

    Why is it that I get the sense that no matter how much we try to soak the “rich” in this state will we continue to hear that those who foot nearly all of the bill already “never pay their fair share?” Just how much is a fair share anyway?

    This is no different than that famous line……..”It’s the economy stupid”. Well in this case it’s the unaffordable spending.

    If the only way we are going to get any real concessions out of the state unions is by agreeing to a no lay off clause………I say let them keep their billion, because in a year that won’t be a drop in the bucket, and once again we will be hearing how the “rich don’t pay their fair share”. This has nothing to do with the workers being greedy or lazy.

  13. The problem here is that you will never believe that the union is bargaining in good faith. Your assumption that they’re nothing but a bunch of lazy slobs is informed by anecdotal evidence and a ton of anti-union rhetoric.

    Uh…where did I say that?

    The fact is, there’s thousands of hard working state employees and their jobs are not made easier by the sizable minority/majority (pick one) that milk the system.

    Gutless union leaders that refuse to stand up for real workers, but rarely fail to defend goldbricks, are more to blame than any other single group.

  14. I was a member of a union for a while, and while it wasn’t the greatest organization ever, it did protect us from people like you in the town government

    Ya know what?

    You don’t have a clue and you owe me an apology to boot.

    I called the union representing some of our town hall employees more than once in an attempt to get our designated ZEO (Zoning Enforcement Officer) re-designated to a higher rank as he was receiving less pay than the loon in the next town that was 14,000 smaller in population AND ours acts more like a town hall expediter than ZEO, performing all sorts of tasks that make doing business in Southington a little easier, a lot friendlier, and so forth.

    A decent fellow, clear, concise and often ready with a quick remedy so homeowners don’t wind up lost in a maze of various regulations and permits. (Putting an above ground pool in the backyard shouldn’t require a law degree or act of congress.)

    Further I was able to get the ZBA to on the record vote to inform both the Town Manager, as well as the Finance Board of both our ZEO’s splendid work, repeatedly above the call of his job description *and* the outrageous discrepancy between his pay and that of the adjacent town’s ZEO (who was crazy as a loon, tried to arrest a pastor (ZEO’s do not have arrest powers, never mind RIULPA)

    The union NEVER returned a single call; and refused to help in any way.

    Oh yeah GC, I just respect the dickens out of unions.
    They’re all about organizing so as to increase the number of dues paying members and do nothing at all for those members.
    Fabulous.

  15. Your assumption that they’re nothing but a bunch of lazy slobs is informed by anecdotal evidence and a ton of anti-union rhetoric.

    Uh…where did I say that?

    Uh……….lemme guess……because they’re greedy & lazy?

  16. You don’t have a clue and you owe me an apology to boot.

    You just said unions are full of lazy people. Apologize to them, and then go find some consistency.

  17. Certainly sounds like a step in the right direction….

    Still, co-pays would be fair under-market.

    Town employees in my town pay $15 for 30 day supply of generic and $28 for ‘brand’… double that for 90 day supply. I believe the state’s co-pays allow for 100 day supply? That’s a big difference.

    And, the promise for no lay-off? How can the Governor or any other manager make that promise in this day and age? Besides the fact that I think we do have too many state employees, what if a program is eliminated? Or, just that the economy tanks even further (hard to believe) and there are no other alternatives?

  18. Town employees in my town pay $15 for 30 day supply of generic and $28 for ‘brand’… double that for 90 day supply. I believe the state’s co-pays allow for 100 day supply? That’s a big difference.

    It’s different from town to town though – in mine it’s $7 and $15 and no third tier (I think, like you indicated above).

  19. It’s different from town to town though – in mine it’s $7 and $15 and no third tier (I think, like you indicated above).

    Of course it is. I understand that.

    My point is local government employees are paying $30 and $56 for what state emplyees are paying $3 and $6. Huge difference.

    Oh, and the town just went to employees — wanting them to pay first $1500 of health care benefits annually.

    The state’s benefits are way, way, way too rich. I think the state residents realize that and the anger will grow if state looks to raise taxes first.

    IMHO

  20. You just said unions are full of lazy people.

    Actually YOU did (#5) – all I did was answer your question retorically and in jest. (#7)

    And you knew it too.

    BTW –
    Our ZEO’s designation has never been changed; where’s AFSCME????

    Also, we have a total of 5 union made cars in the garage & driveway; how many do you have?

  21. I called the union representing some of our town hall employees more than once in an attempt to get our designated ZEO (Zoning Enforcement Officer) re-designated to a higher rank as he was receiving less pay than the loon in the next town that was 14,000 smaller in population AND ours acts more like a town hall expediter than ZEO, performing all sorts of tasks that make doing business in Southington a little easier, a lot friendlier, and so forth.

    ZEO is a department head position in Southington — are your department heads in a union? (In some towns they are, in most they aren’t.)

    I’d be interested to hear what union is representing him — locals that don’t get the job done are easy targets for poaching.

  22. ZEO is a department head position in Southington?

    No. “designated ZEO ” – the Town Planner is the ZEO as well but designates that position.

    I think it’s AFSCME.

    Then again the UAW isn’t interested in their members either; remember when CT began buying non-union, -0- domestic content cars for the state fleet? (A wholly inappropriate use of tax dollars IMO)

    The UAW didn’t even issue a press release, while they should have been in Hartford several 1000 strong.

    Many union members don’t seem too lazy; but union leaders surely are; and some are none too bright.

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