In what will be viewed as a controversial move, not all the rank-and-file members of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition will get a chance to vote on the new clarified concession deal, a statement posted on the union’s website says.
A SEBAC spokesman said most of the 15 member unions in the coalition will get a chance to cast their vote again over the next three weeks, but an unknown number of unions will not.
“Most leaders plan to present the TA to their full membership for a ratification vote,” spokesman Matt O’Connor wrote in a web posting. “Some are planning to have elected leadership cast their union’s vote because there are no negative changes in the revised TA (tentative agreement) as compared to the previous agreement.”
The decision is sure to ruffle the feathers of some rank-and-file members, especially those thinking about changing their votes.
On July 20, Ken Best, vice president for communications of the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association, said “The way we like to do business is we want our members voices heard.”
“If anything is changed substantially it will go to the members,” Best has said.
It’s unclear how many unions may allow their elected leaders cast a vote over the next three weeks. The length of the voting period could also jeopardize a vote in favor of the clarified package.
The first voting period lasted two weeks, which some critics said was too long because news of how the bargaining units voted began to get leaked to the media. The news of how specific bargaining groups voted could have influenced the votes of other bargaining units. A few bargaining units even pondered whether they should vote at all when it was almost certain the first package would be defeated.
The new tentative agreement makes 11 changes to the first agreement which four of the 15 unions voted against in June helping to defeat the agreement. SEBAC has since changed its bylaws allowing 8 of the 15 unions and 50 percent of the voting members to ratify an agreement.
Without an agreement in place Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sought to close the $1.6 billion gap over the next two years with deep budget cuts and the elimination of 6,500 jobs.
The legislature will hold hearings on Malloy’s budget cuts sometime before Aug. 15, but are hoping none of those layoffs or spending reductions have to be instituted.
The unions spent most of the day Monday trying to get answers about how exactly the layoffs will work and who could still be laid off due to the consolidations, even if most of the layoff notices Malloy ordered are rescinded.