Holding the State Accountable Over Unilateral and Unfair Retirement Offers

by Matt O'Connor on October 17th

Leaders of the unions in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) on Friday filed a State Prohibitive Practice (SPP) charge with the Connecticut Board of Labor Relations. At issue is the State’s offer to certain employees the ability to retire with 25 years of service regardless of age. The State made that offer without notice to or bargaining with SEBAC — and without making it available to the vast majority of the state’s workforce.

Employees taking the offer accepted a substantial reduction in their pensions in return for leaving state service below the age of 55. They were also required to sign agreements making their retirement irrevocable and waiving any rights to reemployment. Additionally, they had to make the decision with less than a week’s — sometimes less than a day’s — notice. These conditions were unilaterally set by management.

The offer was first made on or around August 15, just three days before the members of the unions in the coalition ratified the SEBAC 2011 agreement.

While objecting to these offers — and their conditions being unilaterally set by management — Union leaders specifically challenged them as:

  • (1) Unfair to employees who learned about them, because it forced those employees to make a critical life-changing decision without full information or the opportunity to change their minds; and
  • (2) Unfair to the vast majority of employees, who management never informed about the offer at all and thus were never given any opportunity to decide.

Union leaders expressed willingness at the time to allow the process to proceed unchallenged on the condition that any such offer be made available to all eligible state employees. They also insisted that employees be given adequate time to consider the offer or be afforded the opportunity to rescind their retirements within 30 days. The Malloy Administration refused to modify any terms of their unilateral offer.

Union leaders had no choice but to file the SPP and demand an immediate stop to the administration’s violation of its obligation to bargain, and the unfair treatment of employees. We are confident that the State will be compelled to begin discussions over the matter and hope to reach agreement on a resolution that is acceptable to the members of our unions.

Click here to access the State Prohibitive Practice (SPP).

Click here to read the SEBAC 2011 agreement and learn more about union members’ efforts to take charge of their future for themselves and the public they serve.

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