Connecticut’s second-largest teacher’s union announced Friday that it would be throwing its support behind Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
AFT-CT, which represents teachers, nurses, state employees, higher education faculty and nurses, voted Thursday to support the incumbent who infuriated them back in 2012 when he said “Basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”
“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” Stephen McKeever, AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president said. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”
McKeever was referring to comments made in June 2013 by Republican Tom Foley. Foley told the Courant “I keep talking about ‘when is the Wisconsin moment going to come to Connecticut.” He explained in a radio interview this week that he was referring to the Republican takeover of once-liberal Wisconsin and not about making Connecticut a right-to-work state.
“I think it would be a wrong move for someone to try and change the collective bargaining agreements we have in Connecticut,” Foley said. “I don’t think it would be successful if somebody tried it.”
Sen. John McKinney, who is also vying for the Republican nomination, said he was shocked at the news an executive committee would support Malloy after what he’s done to education.
“This decision was clearly made by a small executive committee of union leaders, not rank and file teachers,” McKinney said. “This endorsement doesn’t take away their civic right to vote the way they want to at the polls.”
Jonathan Pelto, who announced a third-party bid for governor this week, had accelerated the time he had given himself to decide whether he was running in order to try and receive a union endorsement. Pelto, a public schools and pro-union candidate, was upset he didn’t get an opportunity to interview for the AFT-CT endorsement and didn’t want to be left out of the Working Families Party event on June 21.
Much of Pelto’s criticisms of Malloy have focused on the first-term Democrat’s handling of education policy. He said he was disappointed he would not have a chance to have a discussion with the group’s rank-and-file teachers about Malloy’s policies, which he considers to be “anti-teacher.”
Pelto may also be left off the agenda at the AFL-CIO’s 10th biennial statewide convention next week. Foley, state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, who is vying for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, Malloy and Wyman are all on the agenda.
The AFL-CIO’s member unions will gather at the Omni Hotel in New Haven Monday and Tuesday to vote on endorsements for state constitutional offices, state house and state senate seats, and the five U.S. House races.