Unions Hope to Reopen Talks With Malloy

Unions could change bylaws that prevented deal from passing.


Leaders from the state employee unions want to reopen discussions in an effort  to avoid thousands of layoffs after rejecting a deal they negotiated with Gov. Dannel Malloy

Malloy said he would eliminate 7,675 state positions after unions rejected the deal to cut $1.6 billion in spending over two years.

The majority of union members voted for the concessions package, but union rules require that 80 percent approve it and the number fell short of the threshold.

Union spokesmen say their chief negotiator sent a letter to Gov. Malloy Tuesday. They say they know they have til September to avert layoffs.

"We understand that layoff notices are being prepared and issued to state workers right now," said Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for SEBAC, the coalition that negotiated the failed deal. "The governor has said 6,000 plus layoffs. We need to reach an agreement. We believe we can do that working with the administration. We need to do it quickly."

Last week, the unions said members won’t take a revote or do anything that would affect votes cast on the concessions that failed, but they will consider changing their bylaws for a future contract concessions package.

The state Legislature granted the governor the power to make changes to balance the state budget and the unions have a deadline of Aug. 31 to provide a plan to cut spending.

“We’ve got to get long-term sustainability in our relationship with our employees. That's what I’m focused on and that's what I'll bring about,” Malloy said.

In the meantime, layoff notices began going out last week. Many workers hope their position will be spared and are angry with the governor.

“You really have to see the ramifications about what you’re doing before you just do it. It shouldn't be a kneejerk reaction. … (The governor) has to think this through. What is going to happen with the state?” Heidi Boetttger, a court clerk, said.

In the meantime, Malloy is giving state commissioners until Friday to hand over plans of how they are going to come up with savings in their individual departments.


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