Supervisors in the Correction Department, one of two bargaining units to reject last summer’s state employee concession package, will be voting next Monday and Tuesday on whether to replace the union that currently represents them.

An estimated 500 captains and lieutenants in the Correction Department are currently represented by CSEA/SEIU Local 2001. But next week they will be voting at correctional institutions across the state on whether to replace CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 with the National Correction Employees Union.

The election comes as a result of a Labor Relations Board decision earlier this month, which found that the petitions submitted by the United Public Service Employees Union on behalf of five bargaining groups was not filed in a timely manner. But the labor board ruled in favor of the NCEU regarding the correctional supervisors because the bargaining unit voted the 2011 concession package down, leaving the captains and lieutenants without a current contract.

The ruling came after months of contentious hearings at the Labor Department’s headquarters in Newington, during which the state and incumbent unions argued that the incoming unions had missed their deadline to hold an election. In the case of the correctional officers bargaining unit, the board found that to be the case.

The supervisors will head to the polls next week to decide whether to replace their leadership with the Massachusetts-based NCEU. Both sides have been reaching out to members of the bargaining unit in advance of the vote.

Christopher Murphy, executive director of NCEU, said representatives of his union have been standing outside each of the state’s correctional facilities since last week engaging prospective members. They’ve also been sending out mailers to their home addresses.

So far, Murphy said they’ve gotten very positive feedback.

“People want change. They’re looking for a union that will provide them with better representation,” he said.

Murphy said the members NCEU have heard from are still upset over the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition deal from last summer. He said he’s expecting a positive outcome in the election despite the efforts of the incumbent union.

“The current union is doing scare tactics, saying they will lose their contracts and benefits. We know it’s not true. Hopefully they don’t fall prey to that,” Murphy said.

Ben Phillips, spokesman for CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, said that was not true. Representatives have been telling members they will lose their contracts if they vote to have no union representation, which is one the options on the ballot, he said.

They’ve also been stressing to members that NCEU has no experience representing Connecticut state employees, Phillips said.

“We don’t really see them as someone who should be representing state workers,” he said. 

Phillips said members have gotten over the anger that surrounded last summer’s contract negotiations. It was during that period that NCEU successfully acquired enough signatures from members to petition the labor board for an election.

“It was a unique moment in time, it happened in the middle of contentious negotiations surrounding the contract. That’s passed. People realize they have strong union backing. We haven’t seen any support for the opposition,” he said.

Phillips said CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 is looking forward to getting back to negotiating a contract for the bargaining unit. The negotiation process was put on hold while members decide who will represent them.

CSEA/SEIU is hoping to use the election to get its members engaged for the upcoming contract negotiations with the state, Phillips said.

VOTING SITES

Monday, July 30

Bridgeport Correctional Center (Bridgeport)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Brooklyn Correctional Lobby (Brooklyn)
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Corrigan Building Lobby (Uncasville)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Garner Correctional Institution (Newtown)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Maloney Center For Training (Cheshire)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, July 31

Central Transportation Unit (Enfield)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Hartford Correctional Center Lobby (Hartford)
7:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

New Haven Correctional Center Lobby (New Haven)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Walker Building Lobby (Suffield)
6:00 am – 9:00 am 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm