$86 Million Contract Unaffordable

How would a 6.5% pay raise sound?  Corrections guards are getting one, but the Governor is putting her foot down.

On Thursday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell asked the General Assembly to reject an arbitrator's decision to give pay raises to the state's correction officers and other employees in the state's prison system.

The contract would cost the state more than $86 million over the next three years. 

The decision gave the Corrections bargaining unit represented by Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees a 3 percent general wage increase plus annual increments and lump sum payments which will result in total increases of up to 6.5 percent in the first year. It also awards general wage increases of 2.5 percent plus step increases and lump sum payments in each of the following two years. 

Governor Rell says given Connecticut's $6 billion shortfall, that's just not affordable.  "The decision to ask you to reject the contract was a difficult one for several years," Governor Rell said in a letter to legislative leaders. "Correction officers have among the most difficult, dangerous and essential jobs in all of government. I value their commitment to public service and appreciate the job they do each and every day, around the clock, to keep our communities and facilities safe."

An arbitrated contract can be rejected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.

There is no word on when and if the General Assembly will act on the Governor's request.

The corrections officer union has not yet responded to a call for comment.

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