The first aftershocks of the labor debacle in Hartford may have been felt in New Haven, where City Hall and negotiators for school custodians have stopped fighting and managed to reach a long-elusive contract agreement that includes a Solomonic solution to an outsourcing dispute.

The two sides hope that rank-and-file school maintenance workers vote yes Friday on a proposed agreement to cut the custodial workforce, ease work rules, turn the lowest-paid janitors into non-union labor, and revise previously agreed-upon wages and health and pension benefits.

The agreement essentially splits in half the two sides’ long-running dispute over privatizing custodial work.

It comes just as the contract was headed toward arbitration, when each side faced losing the whole privatization question.

It also comes as state government workers are taking a second vote on a contract renegotiation with the Malloy administration. That deal failed to gain enough votes for approval the first time, leading Malloy to issue 3,000 layoff notices—sending panic through organized labor’s ranks and provoking near-universal public outrage at a time of economic hardship.

AFSCME Council 4 Local 287 President Robert Montuori and city Labor Relations Director Craig Manemeit reached the New Haven custodial agreement. Click here to read the tentative agreement and side agreements, which now go before union members for approval. The custodians have worked without a contract for two years.

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