Tina James had a good paying job in the private sector for 15 years. She had seniority as a healthcare worker, she was good at her job and she liked it. But she had a difficult decision to make. Her husband was self-employed and she had two children, one a disabled child. If her husband got sick, her healthcare benefits would not cover her family. So she made a really difficult choice. She left her job for a position with the State of Connecticut as a custodian at UConn Storrs. She took a pay cut to ensure that her family had the coverage it needed. Does she regret that decision?
“Not for one second,” said Tina. “I love my job. I take care of 5 floors including 3 living floors, lounges, kitchens, laundry rooms and 10 bathrooms. But more than that, I take care of the students. When the parents drop them off, they know they are leaving their kids in a clean and healthy environment and that makes me proud.”
Asked if Tina is frustrated by the overblown media reports about state employee wages and benefits, she said “I certainly am not in this for the money. I work 37.5 hours of physical work a week for $17.16 an hour before the costs for benefits are taken out. I’m definitely not making $65,000 a year like the papers said. State employees are just trying to provide for our families like everyone else. And we pay for our benefits too. I pay $70 every two weeks for medical coverage and 3% of my pay goes toward my retirement. I’m tired of the false blame being placed on public service workers.”