Leaders of the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) met with representatives from Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Administration today to once again offer assistance with the growing budget deficit. In response, her representatives agreed to continue meeting in order to identify creative programs and policies that could increase government efficiency, save taxpayer dollars, and help rebuild Connecticut’s economy.
“We came in with a lot of ideas today — ideas that could help people across the state find good jobs and keep them. These are solutions that will work in the short term and will help strengthen our economy in the long term,” said Ron McLellan, President of CEUI/SEIU Local 511. “We are very pleased that the Governor has agreed to work with us and will engage public service workers in the process of rebuilding Connecticut.”
In their meeting today, SEBAC leaders shared their “Jobs for All Working Families” plan with representatives of the Administration. Proposals from their 18-point plan include:
- Reinstituting the Innovations Review Panel to engage frontline workers in offering ideas for increased efficiencies and improved services;
- Expanding higher education opportunities to solidify Connecticut’s workforce and attract employers to the state; and
- Utilizing the energy and talents of unemployed workers to rebuild our economy while helping them find new permanent jobs.
Some of these ideas are longer-term solutions that will require action by the General Assembly and either the current governor or a new Administration. But some could be implemented immediately if Governor Rell is open to the ideas from the front-line workers who provide the vital services people need in hard times.
The coalition will also share its proposals with state legislative leaders as well as gubernatorial candidates who seek to replace Governor Rell. SEBAC remains committed to partner with elected officials and candidates in a comprehensive solution that will help put people back to work, which will lead to a stronger, better Connecticut for all of us.
In 2009, members SEBAC’s unions provided nearly a billion dollars in labor cost savings by agreeing to wage freezes, furlough days and other concessions that, to date, have been the most significant contribution of any group toward solving the state’s economic woes.
“Last year we were proud to be part of the solution and help get Connecticut back on the road to recovery,” said Jean Morningstar, president of University Health Professionals, Local 3837 of AFT Connecticut. “However, we were very clear with the Administration that we believed that the deficit would only continue to grow if elected leaders tried to cut their way out of this crisis, instead of focusing on rebuilding the economy and creating jobs.”
As a result of slashing public services over the past year, Connecticut lost another 50,000 private sector jobs, and the budget is once again facing a deep shortfall of approximately $500 million. In a letter to Governor Rell and legislative leaders in February 2009, SEBAC leaders warned:
“The supposedly easier alternative of cutting public services not only abandons Connecticut’s people just when they need services the most – thereby building up more costs that will need to be paid in the future – it makes the economy worse, which will only cause more suffering and future budget crises.”
“Government must be a key part of the solution to the crisis. We need big ideas to help build an economy that provides good, stable, jobs for working families,” said Jack Doyle, president of the Connecticut Association of Prosecutors.
CEUI, AFT Connecticut, and the Association of Prosecutors are three of the thirteen unions in the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which serves to unite approximately 45,000 Connecticut State Employees to address issues of common concern. To learn more about the coalition’s campaign for a fair budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.
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State Workers ‘Jobs for All Working Families’ Proposals (18-Point Plan)