The amount of longevity bonuses given to state employees today was less than it was in April when payments over $20.25 million were given to 32,239 union and non-union employees. This month $10.26 million was given to 8,337 state employees.
The drop in longevity payments was due to most union members forfeiting their October payment. The number is expected to rise again unless lawmakers eliminate the payments permanently.
About 5,250 of the employees to receive an October payment were union employees in the higher education and judicial branch system and 3.087 were non-union employees across state government.
The controversial payments given on the 10th anniversary of state service grabbed headlines recently when lawmakers and union officials were surprised to learn the legislature failed to eliminate them when it passed language June 30 to codify the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement.
Most union members, aside from the 5,250 who received the payments this month, forfeited theirs as part of the SEBAC agreement. Last week union officials filed a grievance against the state for failing to do the same when it adopted this legislation.
There had been language to make the payments comparable to what was in the SEBAC agreement—which would have essentially eliminated them—but that language mysteriously disappeared in Section 11(c) of the final draft of the bill passed by the General Assembly in special session June 30. There was language in the May budget bill to eliminate these bonuses, which is why so many lawmakers were surprised to learned they will still be given out in mid-October.
Union officials say the decision to hand out the biannual longevity payments creates an inequity and is not consistent with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s message of shared sacrifice or with language in the SEBAC agreement. Republican Senators contend Malloy has the power to lower and limit the payments without legislative approval.
Malloy has said he wants to get rid of them too, but needs it to come about legislatively.