CTNewsJunkie file photo
Connecticut Supreme Court (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

Another group of state attorneys has joined a union.

Nearly 200 attorneys who work for the Judicial Branch’s division of Public Defender Services voted to join Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Rank-and-file public defenders voted 100-18 in favor of unionization and the supervisors’ group voted 15-3. The election took place via mail between Oct. 14 and Oct. 28.

“We joined Council 4 to strengthen our voice on the job and to protect the vital services we provide to citizens in need of legal representation,” Assistant Public Defender Jeffrey LaPierre said. “Unionizing is our path to a more secure and stable future, for ourselves and our clients.”

Supervisory Assistant Public Defender Elisa Villa said “all workers deserve basic fairness and respect.”

She said it’s important “to have a say in the decisions that impact our profession and our livelihoods.”

Kevin Murphy, Council 4’s Director of Collective Bargaining and Organizing, said the union plans to begin the process of negotiating first contracts for the two public defender groups.

“We look forward to negotiations with the Judicial Branch. Our goal is always to establish a respectful relationship that will lead to a just and fair agreement,” Murphy said.

This is the second group of attorneys in state government to organize. The first was a group of assistant attorney generals in the Office of Attorney General who voted overwhelmingly in October to form a union with AFT Connecticut.