Fifteen State Unions Will Vote, But One Has The Numbers
By Jeff Cohen
June 20, 2011
The state’s employee unions should complete their voting this week on a two-year labor savings and concessions agreement with Governor Dannel Malloy. But as WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, one of those unions could make or break the deal.
Malloy and state union negotiators agreed to $1.6 billion in savings over two years earlier this Spring. But that deal now has to get approved by the state’s 43,000 union members.
Of those, roughly 37 percent belong to just one union – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – or AFSCME. And according to Mark Pazniokas, a reporter who covers the state for the Connecticut Mirror, AFSCME is big enough kill the agreement.
“They in effect have a veto. If AFSMCE votes no, the union leaders can run the table with the rest of the unions, but it still loses.”
Two things have to happen for the deal to pass. First, 14 of the state’s 15 unions have to approve it. Second, those 14 unions have to represent 80 percent of all state employees.
Should it fail, Pazniokas says the governor will likely begin layoffs. He has already threatened job losses for thousands of workers.
“Then the question is, how dramatically will he cut? He has said he’s going to blow up complete agencies so he can get around seniority. He does not want to see just the younger and newer workers go out the door. Whether he can accomplish that – I don’t know.”
Pazniokas says the unions should complete their voting by the end of this week.