Malloy Says 7,500 Layoffs are Imminent

The state employee unions have voted down the labor savings and concessions deal and Gov. Dannel Malloy said there could be more than 7,500 layoffs.

They will begin immediately and will not happen in waves, Malloy said on Friday just after the announcement.

If two of the 15 unions voted no, that would kill the measure and that's what happened. A union representing service and maintenance workers and AFSCME, Council 4, rejected the deal.

The AFSCME local, which represents prison workers, rejected the SEBAC agreement by a vote of 955 to 527, union officials said. Members also rejected their unit agreement 791 to 609.

So far, 11 of the 15 SEBAC unions have approved the agreements, two have voted against and some units are still voting.

“So although there are still votes to be cast today, and approximately 60 percent of those state employees who voted, have voted yes for the SEBAC agreements, it will not be ratified under the coalition’s strict rules.” O’Connor said.  “Bottom line: SEBAC’s threshold has not been met.”

Union rules state that no more than one union in the coalition can reject an agreement involving health care and retirement security, O'Connor said, and 80 percent of the union membership must approve it.

The union will be meeting on Monday and there are a lot of decisions to make, O’Connor said, including casting a final vote.

“Until that time, there are no decisions to be announced, he said.  Union leaders also said no one should be laid off.

On Thursday, Gov. Malloy called on lawmakers for a special session on June 30 to deal with the budget. He called for the session in advance of the vote because it looked like it would not pass.

The news broke as Malloy was meeting with mayors of some of the state' largest cities.

"Every day we wait to cut jobs, the more jobs will have to be cut," Malloy said. "Layoffs are bad for the economy and bad for public policy." 

“We’ve said we do not want to see mass layoffs and economic dislocation, and certainly that’s an important part of the equation, but we also do have to respect the democratic will of our members, in accordance with the SEBAC rules. That is trade union policy and we have to respect it,” Larry Dorman, public affairs director Council 4 AFSCME, said.

In the first year, Malloy will do "everything in my power to avoid damaging cuts in aid to municipal government," he said on Friday.  "The biggest change is likely to be in state employees, as opposed to other employees."

While he warned of the layoffs, he said hasn't finalized his new budget. However, unions have not said whether a revote is possible. 

Friday was the final day of voting and a news conference is planned for noon to discuss the votes.

“It was always my hope that the SEBAC Agreement would be ratified and we could move forward with the process of getting our state’s fiscal house in order and creating new jobs,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “Calling both chambers into session next week is necessary to close the budget deficit that we will be facing."

"Working with the legislature, we will have a balanced budget and one that, while making painful cuts and difficult decisions, will be balanced honestly without tricks or gimmicks,” Malloy said on Thursday.

The two-year, $40.1 billion budget raises taxes by $1.4 billion in the first year and $1.2 billion in the second. A Quinnipiac University Poll released last week shows that 38 percent of voters said they approve of the job Malloy is doing as governor while 44 percent disapprove.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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