Leadership and members of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) called recent comments by Tom Foley, the Republican candidate for governor, a demonstration of his ignorance of Connecticut state law and his callous disregard for the middle class who are struggling with job loss, a lack of vital public services and an economic recession.
In an interview with the New Haven Register, Mr. Foley was quoted as saying he believed the state was in a “fiscal emergency” and as such the governor had the authority to not honor contracts with state employee unions. The very question of a fiscal emergency and collective bargaining, however, was previously addressed by the Attorney General who, in a formal opinion issued in May of 1989, rejected that argument.
“Tom Foley clearly has no sense of how government works,” said Carmen Boudier, President of New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199/SEIU. “His statements reflect campaign rhetoric and don’t provide realistic solutions for meeting the public service needs of Connecticut. The idea that any governor could ignore public employee contracts is ludicrous. Foley demonstrates time and again that he’d prefer running the state the way he ran his bankrupt company in Georgia.”
“We have said for more than a decade that Connecticut needs a governor who knows how to work with working families instead of against them, who is committed to an economy that provides good jobs with decent benefits for everyone,” Ms. Boudier said. “Every day Tom Foley makes more clear that he sees middle class families as expendable. That’s just not what Connecticut needs in a leader.”
While Mr. Foley’s comments show his inexperience with government function and law, he went on to say that as governor he would go to court to enforce his proposed cuts. The candidate boasted that he had been to court before, perhaps referring to his court challenges over the state’s Citizen’s Election Fund. Tom Foley’s approach to the state’s fiscal crisis — slashing vital public services at the expense of the middle class and promising no tax increases at the benefit of the wealthy — is simply unrealistic and a recipe for disaster.
“There will always be a fortunate few in our state like Tom Foley who are very rich,” said Sharon Palmer, President of AFT Connecticut. “If the Tom Foley’s have their way, there will be a few more super rich people, lots more people who are poor and out of work, and far fewer people in the middle, people with decent jobs and decent benefits and a safe community for their children and grandchildren.”
District 1199 and AFT are two 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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