A coalition of state employee labor unions announced Tuesday it had reached a tentative agreement through negotiations with Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration on new contracts for around 43,000 Connecticut workers.
Labor leaders announced the agreement in a post to the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition website, which offered few details on the new contracts aside from a voluntary prescription program that may save some members “hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.”
Drew Stoner, a spokesperson for SEBAC, said the unions would not provide more details until leaders had the opportunity to discuss the agreement with their members, who will soon vote on whether to ratify the terms. She said the coalition expected those votes would occur in the next four weeks.
“We’re very proud of negotiation teams having achieved fair and honorable contracts at each of the local tables,” Stoner said. “We do look forward to the role those contracts will play in protecting the critical public services upon which Connecticut communities rely on.”
The agreement comes at a critical time for both the state’s public sector workforce, in the midst of a surge in retirements driven by previously negotiated terms, and Lamont, a Democrat seeking re-election in November.
In a statement, Max Reiss, the governor’s chief spokesman, said the agreement honored the administration’s fiscal priorities.
“The process for ratification by SEBAC will now begin, and it is a process we will respect,” Reiss said. “Governor Lamont is grateful for the work and commitment of our state employees, and further details on the agreement will be provided upon ratification and submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly for final approval.”
Lamont and the state’s public sector unions have quarreled at times during his first term, particularly over how to address the growing number of retirements. The unions have repeatedly called on the administration to fill vacancies in the workforce while the governor has explored opportunities to consolidate state government.
The tentative agreement announced Tuesday applies to all 35 state employee bargaining units included in SEBAC, including judicial and higher education employees.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute, called on the governor to release the negotiated contracts so the public could review them.
“Fundamental fairness requires that taxpayers have the chance to see what promises their elected officials have made behind closed doors before they’re asked to pick up the tab for them,” she said.