The Yankee Institute requested a list of personal attendants from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Wednesday following a statement from the administration last week saying the names were already available on the group’s website.
In requesting the names, the conservative public policy think tank joins Sen. Joseph Markley, R- Southington, and Rep. Rob Sampson, R- Wolcott, in seeking to reverse two controversial executive orders by Malloy.
The orders provide a pathway to unionization for personal care attendants and daycare workers who receive funding from state programs. The daycare workers voted last month to allow CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 to represent them in negotiations with the state. The union has been awaiting a list of eligible attendants to send information to.
Criticized for planning to release the list, the governor’s office said the names couldn’t be withheld under the state’s freedom of information laws and were already public on the institute’s searchable database of state employees and state vendors.
Nonetheless, Fergus Cullen, the group’s executive director, requested the list saying, “If the list of personal care attendees is public information available to the unions, it should also be available to the Yankee Institute.”
Like Sampson and Markley, Cullen promised to fight what he called “a forced unionization scheme.”
That’s not how the Malloy administration sees it. In an email, Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior communications adviser, said the Yankee Institute is opposed to the idea of the personal care attendants unionizing because they are a right-wing group, funded by special interests and pursuing a conservative agenda.
“That’s who they are. That’s why they portray hard-working people who don’t make much money, and who do jobs none of us have ever done, as not being deserving of having the right to organize and bargain collectively for their wages and benefits,” he said.
Occhiogrosso said all Malloy’s executive order does is give the attendants the right to collectively bargain, if they decide they want that.
Cullen said no one asked for the right to unionize and characterized the orders as scheme to increase membership dues and the money available to push the union’s political agenda.
“No one has been clamoring for a union among personal care attendants. It’s part of a strategy on the left involving unionizing people who heretofore hadn’t even considered it,” he said, likening the process to being drafted into the Army.
Occhiogrosso said the list would be provided to the institute, thought its unclear why they would want information already available on their website.
“…they’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request (for the information they already have), and this administration will of course comply with that request (to give them information they already have),” he said.
Cullen said the information he’s looking for is different in that he wants the exact list of names and all the information that has been compiled for the union by the Department of Social Services and a workforce council Malloy created.