Unions approve raises, lawmakers prepare to sign

Screenshot of the front page of the SEBAC agreement announced today by the Lamont administration. Credit: Screenshot

Thirty-five union bargaining units have ratified an agreement with Governor Ned Lamont for the next three years that includes general wage increases of 2.5% and a lump sum payment of $3,500 for each member, according to the governor’s office.

“The parties entered these discussions knowing what was at stake,” Lamont said in a press release. “The state must live within its means, as must the families and businesses we serve and represent, but this is also a unique situation where state employees have done an extraordinary job during a pandemic that has changed the paradigm, inflation has simultaneously increased and the state workforce could undergo significant changes due to retirements and uncompetitive wages.

The Coalition of Government Employees Bargaining Agents agreement, which has just been made public, will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.

Cost estimates for the new salary contracts are still being developed as eligibility determinations are being finalized for all affected funds. These estimates will be reviewed by the Office of Budget Analysis when the final package is submitted to the legislature.

In addition, the issue of risk or pandemic pay was not part of these negotiations and will be resolved in another agreement.

Republican lawmakers are poised to oppose it.

“We have seen rich employment programs in the past. It is unprecedented to give our workers $3,500 bonuses,” said House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora.

The deal comes at a pivotal time for Lamont, a Democrat seeking re-election in November, and for the state government, where worker numbers have plunged this year as many eligible employees opt to retire instead. than to accept the lower cost of living. adjustment conditions that will apply to any government employee retiring after July 1.

According to the state comptroller’s office, 952 state employees have already retired this year as of early this week and another 2,307 have filed documents indicating their intention to retire soon.

In a press release, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition touted the tentative agreement as a fair deal to recruit and retain skilled state workers in the face of a “pension tsunami.” Unionized state workers have had their wages frozen for six of the past 12 years and the state has demanded concessions on benefits, with previous negotiations taking place amid state budget shortfalls. This year, the State enjoys a surplus.

“Every day, hundreds of thousands of vehicles travel over Connecticut’s more than 4,000 bridges that the state inspects for safety,” said DOT 3 Transportation Engineer Ned Statchen. and professionals retaining and recruiting talented and dedicated personnel to perform these inspections so as not to endanger Connecticut drivers. We need to fund our future to ensure that our critical infrastructure is safe and secure.

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