HARTFORD, CT — Now that the deal is officially inked, It’s time for the state’s labor unions to sell 34 new contracts to their rank-and-file members.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and union leaders announced Monday that they had signed off on the various wage agreements that vary by bargaining group, and the changes to the health and pension benefits that are negotiated by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.
“From the moment we began our earliest discussions, SEBAC leaders have proven to be willing partners; engaging with their own tangible offers and accepting the fact that the state’s financial reality will affect their members,” Malloy said. “Connecticut’s state budget needs serious people willing to make serious change, and thus far, SEBAC has answered the call.”
The 34 contracts for wages and working conditions are tied to the tentative SEBAC deal, which makes changes to health and pension benefits. Votes on the agreements are expected to occur by mid-July.
According to the union coalition’s bylaws, eight of the 15 SEBAC unions and 50 percent of the voting members will be needed to win ratification before it goes to the legislature for approval.
The deal shields state employees from layoffs through 2021 and extends the health and retirement benefits an additional five years through 2027.
The plan also freezes wages for the next three years, but allows for a 3.5 percent increase in pay in 2020 and 2021. It also requires employees to take three furlough days.
The tentative deal additionally increases pension contributions by workers and creates a hybrid 401k/defined benefit plan for new employees. It also asks active employees to pay more in health insurance premiums and co-pays, and moves retirees, who are unable to vote on the contract, from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage plans.
In press releases on their various websites, the unions said “it is clear that the gains our unions have made in the past are at significant risk. These agreements provide a level of security for members, our families, co-workers and the public we serve in a time of great uncertainty.”
Legislative leaders and the governor have included the concession package in their budget proposals. Legislative leaders have said they would return to the state Capitol to approve the deal following the union vote. If they don’t take any action it will go into effect within 30 days.