Category Archives: Labor

Connecticut’s Anti-Union Activists Gleeful Over Court Ruling

by Categorized: Labor Tagged: , , Date:

A group of conservative lawmakers and anti-union types staged a victory celebration of sorts Tuesday over this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that home health care workers don’t have to pay collective bargaining fees.

They hailed the ruling for ending what they termed “forced unionization” of home care workers.

Their only problem was that the high court decision didn’t overturn any state laws like Connecticut’s that allows those home health employees to have a union and to collectively bargain for better pay and benefits.

“I consider this to be a monumental and historic victory for the rights of individuals,” intoned Rep. Rob Sampson, a conservative Wolcott Republican. Sen. Joe Markley, another GOP conservative from Southington, said he doesn’t believe home health care workers are “appropriate subjects” to be part of any state employee union system.

Pro-union home health care workers weren’t invited to Tuesday’s news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. But Terrell Williams, a home health worker who belongs to SEIU 1199, said he sees “being  part of a union as a privilege.”

“Home care workers put a lot of work in to form this union so we can have a voice on the issues that are important to us,” Williams said in an email.

State and union officials said they still aren’t sure exactly how the Supreme Court ruling will impact Connecticut’s law. But Markley said it’s clear home health care workers who don’t want to pay any fees to cover union collective bargaining expenses won’t have to.

 

 

 

 

 

Malloy Unhappy With Supreme Court Ruling on Home Health Care Workers

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Labor Date:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday concerning collective bargaining rights for home health care workers is not making Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy very happy.

“Today’s ruling takes the rights of American workers backwards,” Malloy said in a quick press release following the decision.

Gov. Dannel Malloy

Gov. Dannel Malloy

The Supremes issued a tight 5-4 ruling that adds up as bad news for public employee union. The conservative majority on the high court found in an Illinois case that home health care workers aren’t in the class of state workers who can be required to cpntribute to the cost of union collective bargaining representation.

Malloy, a Democrat who is in a very tough campaign for reelection to a second term, is in dire need of all the union support he can get in this election. Of course, that fact wasn’t mentioned in his news release criticizing the court decision.

Here are the rest of Malloy’s comments:

“A stable, qualified home care workforce makes life-changing improvements in the lives of seniors and people with disabilities, who want nothing more than to live independently at home.  While we review today’s ruling to determine exactly how it will impact workers in Connecticut, I can guarantee that we will continue to stand with them and keep improving the jobs and fair wages that they have worked for. ”

As Expected, Labor Group Backs Malloy

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto, Labor, Tom Foley Date:

BY MATTHEW Q. CLARIDA

As expected, the Connecticut branch of the AFL-CIO endorsed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, at the federation’s political convention in New Haven Tuesday morning.

“We’re proud to stand with candidates that stand with working people,” Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the labor group, said in a statement. “From minimum wage to paid sick days to strengthening collective bargaining, Gov. Malloy has supported workers and middle class jobs in our state. The labor movement is happy to stand with him today.”

While the Malloy/Wyman ticket was considered a near shoe-in for the endorsement, the
federation also invited Republican Tom Foley, who won the GOP endorsement at a party convention last month, though he faces a primary on Aug. 12 against two other Republican candidates, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Sen. John McKinney.

But unlike Malloy, who spent much of his address basking in standing ovations and loud cheers, Foley entered to no applause and spent much of his 15-minute speech trying to convince the union delegates in attendance that he would not introduce Scott Walker-inspired collective bargaining restrictions if elected. At one point, as Foley tried to clarify comments about a “Wisconsin moment” in Connecticut, much of the crowd started laughing, appearing to catch the Greenwich businessman off guard.

Foley is used to competing without the official support of the state’s labor unions.
In 2010, he received a tepid reception at the federation’s convention but went on to mount a major challenge to Malloy, losing by fewer than 7,000 votes.

The Connecticut AFL-CIO is the state’s largest labor organization. Also on the program Monday was State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, a Republican candidate for Lieutenant
Governor. Left off was the liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto, who has said he will run in November’s race with affiliation to the Education Democracy Party, which he recently created. Pelto has complained about not being invited to speak on Monday and said that he would have used the address to point out weaknesses in Malloy’s union record.

Malloy Delivers a Rousing Speech to Union Activists

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Labor Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used his slot at Monday’s meeting of the Connecticut AFL-CIO in New Haven to deliver a rousing address full of praise for organized labor and exhortations of support for his reelection bid.

Malloy took the stage just a few hours after Greenwich businessman Tom Foley—who polls suggest is the frontrunner for Republican gubernatorial nomination. The Democratic incumbent focused on what he said was a record of support for union causes as well as the importance of the middle class.

“There’s a problem in America and you can read about it, you can understand it, if you take the time to read or listen,” Malloy said, focusing in particular on the plight of the middle class. “The union movement, which in so many ways is responsible for the growth of the middle class in America, seems to have a target on its back in state after state after state.”

Malloy alluded to past struggles he has had with the unions, including the 2011 battle with state employees over a concession package designed to save the state money.

I’ve made mistakes and probably everybody else in this room has probably made mistakes once or twice in their lives,” he said, declining to provide specifics.

Malloy, who received two rounds of applause as he entered the ballroom, kept the energy level high as he spoke. His energetic style contrasted sharply with Foley’s more sedate delivery.

During his remarks, the governor sought to highlight union-friendly policies, including state-funded construction projects that, he says, will employ scores of union workers in the coming months and other initiatives such as paid sick days.

“Let’s be very clear,” he said. “I stand with labor. I always have. I always will. It goes back to who I am and what I am.”

 

 

Foley Seeks to Clarify His “Wisconsin Moment” Remark

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Labor, Tom Foley Date:

Speaking before a skeptical audience of union delegates in New Haven Monday morning, Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley sought to clarify his controversial comments that Connecticut was due for a “Wisconsin moment.”

“Looking for a Wisconsin moment in Connecticut…means I’m hoping we go from one-party rule to more balanced government, as Wisconsin did in 2010,” Foley said. “It does not mean I will change the way collective bargaining works in our state.”

Foley’s words prompted a wave of laughter from the partisan audience at the AFL-CIO political convention. “Did I say something funny?” he asked. He was met with a murmur of “yeahs” from the crowd.

In an interview with the Courant last summer, Foley said the following:

“I keep talking about ‘when is the Wisconsin moment going to come to Connecticut,’ ” he said, referencing the Republican takeover in once-liberal Wisconsin in 2010. “These things happen almost when you least expect it.”

Foley tried to establish some common ground between his platform and the aims of the state’s unions. He portrayed himself as a a good listener and a straight talker who isn’t out to demonize state workers or slash government jobs. He pledged to abide by the 2011 agreement with state employee unions that prohibits layoffs through June 30, 2015. “A deal is a deal,” Foley said.

He criticized Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education policy, including his earlier support of the Common Core standards.

Foley also blasted the governor’s economic policies, which have funneled tax breaks and other monetary incentives to large companies as a reward for retaining or creating jobs in the state, a strategy he dubbed “corporate welfare.”

Lori J. Pelletier, executive secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, told reporters that she remains skeptical about Foley’s candidacy.

“I thought it was crafted for this audience,” she said. When asked if she believed Foley’s claims on collective bargaining and union relations, Pelletier came down even firmer.

“No, I don’t. Because when he said he wanted a Wisconsin moment, it was not about the makeup of the general assembly versus the different branches of government. That was not what he was talking about,” she said. “It was in a series of questions around collective bargaining and state employees.”

The CT AFL-CIO will vote to endorse a gubernatorial candidate on Tuesday; the union is widely expected to throw its support behind Malloy.

Malloy scheduled to address the convention on Monday afternoon.

–Courant Staff Writer Matthew Q. Clarida

 

AFT Endorses Malloy/Wyman

by Categorized: Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto, Labor, Uncategorized Date:

While some Connecticut educators have expressed sharp criticism of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a union representing tens of thousands of public school teachers has endorsed the incumbent for a second term.

The AFT-Connecticut, a union representing about 29,000 teachers, nurses and support employees, announced its endorsement Friday afternoon. The union is also backing the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation and its constitutional officers, who are also all Democrats.

“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” said Stephen McKeever, a former Middletown High School science teacher who is AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”

Malloy’s vigorous advocacy for reforming the teacher tenure system shortly after taking office, along with his education commissioner’s embrace of charter schools, has drawn the wrath of some educators.

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Immigrant Worker Protections Focus of Senate Debate

by Categorized: Labor Date:

Connecticut employers who try to intimidate immigrant workers by threatening to call federal authorities about their citizenship status could face stiff state fines and other penalties under a bill approved in the Senate Thursday.

Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield, a New Haven Democrat who is one of the sponsors of the bill, said the legislation is intended to apply only to employers who “threaten to call immigration if [an employee] exercises his or her rights as a worker.”

The measure won unanimous Senate approval and now goes to the House for action.

State labor officials say they’ve encountered several cases of employers who try to use intimidation to keep immigrants – both legal and undocumented – from complaining to authorities about violations of their rights as workers.

“Many of these people are afraid to speak up,” Holder-Winfield told the Senate.

“Everyone has the right to speak up when conditions are wrong or when laws are broken,” said the Senate’s top Democratic leader, Donald Williams Jr. of Brooklyn.

“Far too often, when folks come to this country… they are at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of them,” Williams said.

The bill would authorize state labor officials to hit employers who use such intimidation tactics on immigrant workers with a $100 fine for a first offense, up to $500 penalties for repeated violations. The state could also close a business for between 30 and 60 days for threatening to call federal immigration authorities over a worker’s status.

Republican lawmakers, even though they ended up voting for the bill, said they were worried those potential penalties were far too harsh. Continue reading

State\’s \”Family-Friendly\” Policies a Model for the Nation

by Categorized: Labor, Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro Date:

Connecticut played a pioneering role in advancing several key pieces of legislation related to families, including family and medical leave and paid sick time.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and other officials will gather in Hamden to highlight what they say is Connecticut\’s role as a model for the nation.

\”Connecticut has always been a leader on family-friendly workplace policies, from the passage of a state Family and Medical Leave Act, which led to a federal FMLA policy, to the first state paid sick days legislation in 2011, and now the creation of a legislative taskforce to study family medical leave insurance during the 2013 legislative session,\’\’ the Working Families party said in a press release announcing Tuesday\’s press conference. The event is also being sponsored by the Connecticut Association for Human Services.

In addition to DeLauro, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and Connecticut AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Lori Pelletier are expected to attend.

 

Union Activists Protest Wisconsin Gov. Walker\’s Connecticut Appearance

by Categorized: Labor Date:

\"unionChanting \’\’hey hey, hey ho, Gov. Walker\’s got to go,\’\’ more than 100 union activists gathered in a pocket park across from the Stamford Hilton hotel Monday afternoon to protest a visit by Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

\"union\”We think he wasn\’t fair and we don\’t want to hear what he has to say,\’\’ said Vanetta Lloyd of New Haven, the  president of child care workers union. \”We don\’t want him here in Connecticut.\”

Walker, who gained a national reputation for his efforts to quash public employee unions in Wisconsin, was the featured speaker at the Connecticut Republican party\’s annual fundraising dinner. His appearance drew a busload of protesters from New Haven and other parts of the state; many wore purple Service Employees International Union or red American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union t-shirts.

\"scott\”Connecticut is not a state that welcomes attacks on workers rights and attacks on the middle class,\’\’ said Larry Dorman, a longtime union official who helped organize the protest. \”What happened in Wisconsin was horrible for Wisconsin and it would be horrible for any other state including ours.\’\’

The protesters waved signs and shouted slogans such as \”Scotty Walker, what a joke, he\’s in love with the Brothers Koch.\” Several oversized inflatables, including a giant rat and a fat cat, hovered nearby. Continue reading

Union Activists Plan to Protest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker\’s Speech

by Categorized: Labor, Republicans, Uncategorized Date:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be in Connecticut Monday to headline the state Republican party\’s annual Prescott Bush awards dinner and union activists will be on hand to greet him.

\"scott\”With considerable help from super-wealthy right-wingers like the Koch Brothers, Walker in 2011 rammed through legislation the stripped Wisconsin public service workers of their collective bargaining rights, sending his state on a downward spiral,\” states a press release announcing the protest issued by longtime  union activist Larry Dorman.

The protesters plan to meet at the Stamford train station at 5:15, then march over to the Stamford Hilton Hotel, where Walker will speak.

The state GOP was anticipating the protests. \”It\’s not surprising that the public unions and special interests are up in arms — anytime someone attempts to reign in out-of-control government spending, they\’re quick to paint them as the enemy of education and the working class in hopes of concealing their agenda of demanding lavish benefits and automatic 6 percent pay raises every year,\” the Connecticut Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. wrote on the party\’s website.