Why They Voted No

Thomas MacMillan File PhotoState labor leaders “did a terrible job” of selling members on a job-saving deal with the governor, in Jacqueline James-Evans’ view. Now her state agency will deal with the fallout—as will her city, whose mayor has directed his staff to plan for up to a $10 million hit.

As both a state worker and city lawmaker, James-Evans (pictured) has a unique perspective on the collapse of a union concession deal that Friday sent government workers and officials scrambling to plan for a projected 7,500 state government layoffs and untold state cutbacks to already budget-strapped cities like New Haven.

James-Evans—who voted yes—and workers who voted no spoke out Friday about the collapse of a deal that seemed to spare cities like New Haven from the state-directed budget pain afflicting cities elsewhere around the country. Reasons ranged from a failure of union leadership to rank-and-file concern over giving up benefits in tough times, even if that means colleagues lose their jobs.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano met with alderman and local union officials, then raced up to Hartford Friday for a preview of the bad news to come in a chat with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. DeStefano instructed his staff to prepare a set of “options” for closing a $10 million sudden budget gap—in case one that big opens up.

The scrambling followed news that state workers failed to ratify a deal their union leaders had struck with Gov. Malloy for an alleged $1.6 billion in union givebacks and savings over two years. Now Malloy is proceeding with “Plan B”: Laying off around 7,500 workers (some 15 percent of the force, to take effect Sept. 1) and making other dramatic cuts to state agencies in order to balance Connecticut’s two-year $40.1 billion budget.

Even pro-union pundits expressed disbelief at the union rejection. (Sample take: “Unions Walk Off A Cliff.”)

Or as a headline put it on the Ct Capitol Report site, referencing New Jersey’s and Connecticut’s governors:

“Christie stuffs unions in New Jersey
Unions stuff Malloy in Connecticut”

The true value of those union “givebacks” may have been overestimated. (They included “savings” from unspecified worker suggestions and dollar estimates on savings from preventive care.) The deal—and the legislative session itself, including a first-in-the-nation paid sick days law—still was seen nationally as one-of-a-kind victory for labor amid a recession that has devastated government budgets and led to widespread calls for layoffs and recession or cancellation of expensive pension and health plans—and even historic reversals of unions’ basic rights to bargain. (Check out Wisconsin and New Jersey.) Malloy was seen as the one governor willing to raise taxes on the wealthy and to avoid bashing unions, making drastic safety-net cuts, or eliminating any jobs in return for modest long-term benefit concessions. And state union leaders tried hard to convince their members to ratify the deal.

The deal would have guaranteed state workers’ jobs for four years; frozen their wages for two years, followed by three annual 3 percent raises; promised no furloughs; shaved cost-of-living increases for pensions and raised the retirement age by two years for those retiring after 2022; eliminated one of two longevity bonuses; and instituted new $35 co-pays for emergency room visits. (One employee used the emergency room 150 times in one year, according to the unions.)

That sounded like the right deal to Alderwoman James-Evans, who works as an investigator with the state Department of Children and Families and has been a member of AFSCME Local 2663 for the past 14 years.

But it sounded like a bad deal to enough of her AFSCME colleagues that that union voted 6,781 to 5,547 to reject it. That was enough of a margin to doom the entire deal; AFSCME is the largest of 15 unions in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which has rules requiring an 80 percent overall vote to OK the package. (Scroll to the bottom of this story for a union-by-union tally.)

One theory given for the defeat: Even though a devastating 15 percent or more of the workforce faces losing jobs, that leaves a majority that won’t lose jobs—and therefore voted to protect their benefits instead of their colleagues’ jobs. In other words, selfishness.

However, while no one knows who’ll get pink slips from the governor in the coming week, James-Evans has 14 years on the job, making her an unlikely target. She said she voted for the deal because it was “fair” and “I don’t want to see people laid off.”

“We’ve done a big hire over the last five years. A lot of my co-workers will be affected,” she said.

Even more, James-Evans expressed concerns about “risking the safety of our children.” DCF has already been under the gun for not following up on cases enough. Now workers’ caseloads will probably grow in the wake of cuts. 

So what happened?

“Just in speaking to different people,” James-Evans said, she found people left with unanswered questions from union brass. “I think the communication wasn’t there. The union did a terrible job communicating with their members. It was a big, big issue. They didn’t make the investment in communicating with folks.”

Indeed, misconceptions about the deal spread like wildfire among the rank and file, with tales of “Obamacare” “nanny state” provisions forcing workers to switch doctors, penalizing them for smoking or being fat, or denying emergency care, for instance. The plan required them to sign a form saying they’d undergo annual physicals (or face new deductible and higher premiums) and twice-annual free dental cleanings. It also required most workers at some point to have colonoscopies or mammograms absent compelling reasons not to, and to visit primary care centers rather than emergency rooms if the option exists.

AFSCME spokesman Larry Dorman blamed “outside influences” for spreading misinformation. “There have been hundreds of informational meetings, videos, and question-and-answer sessions” to explain the deal, he said in an interview.

Some DCF colleagues also didn’t want to forgo raises at a time when state taxes are also rising, James-Evans said.

Workers outside New Haven’s downtown state courthouses Friday preferred not to give their names, but were happy to explain why they voted no on the deal.

“I voted no basically because of the medical,” said one, a member of AFSME Local 749. He said he already pays $500 per month for health insurance for his family.  He said he didn’t have enough information about the proposed health care plan to trust that he wouldn’t lose benefits.

He said his union already gave seven furlough days under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell. “We weren’t afraid to give back something” more, he said, but “there was just so much” he was willing to give up.

A state judicial marshal turned in his ballot Thursday as part of the National Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 731, whose votes have not yet been tallied.

“I voted it down,” he said. He said he already gave up a pay raise in concessions under Gov. Rell. A self-described “diehard Democrat,” he supported Malloy in his election for governor. Now he feels the new governor is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the working class, he said.

“They go after the working [class] people,” he said, while judges are allowed to retire with a pension, then return to get $225 per day “to just sit up on the 9th floor and drink coffee.”

Another state judicial marshal also voted “no” on the proposal. She said she didn’t have much information about the labor deal, but “it seemed like the right thing to do.” She said there was a “consensus” among coworkers to vote no.

Workers at the state Department of Social Services (DSS) office in New Haven, who are represented by AFSCME Local 714, were all over the map on the deal.

An older worker predicted that Malloy and union leaders will come back to the negotiating table and work something out. “We helped get him in there. That’s why,” the employee said.

Another worker, who has been with the state for five years, said the biggest split is between senior employees and newer hires like her. The junior workers are more cognizant that times are hard in the private sector, she said, and are more likely to be willing to accept less from the state. Many older employees, by contrast, “they’re in their comfort zone, and change is not a good thing.”

“Let’s just say this: you have performers and non-performers,” she said. “There’s a good chance the performers are going to be let go” because they haven’t been around as long. The more senior workers “don’t think they’ll be touched” by layoffs.

But another relatively junior employee—she’s worked at DSS for four years—said she voted against the deal because it asked for too much. She said she was also bothered by the negotiations, which she said weren’t open enough for the rank-and-file to understand what was happening. She said she believes that the health proposal took too much autonomy away from workers. She said it’s time for the unions to stand up to the state, which always comes asking for concessions because the perception is that workers will say yes to anything.

Still, she acknowledged, “the public is going to be seriously affected, because we’re already short as it is. I don’t know what is going to happen if we lose more staff.”

New Haven Prepares

Christine Stuart PhotoMeanwhile, at New Haven City Hall, disaster planning commenced. The DeStefano administration has already laid off 82 workers this year; it is embroiled in contentious negotiations with municipal unions over proposed health care and pension givebacks.

Mayor DeStefano convened union leaders in his office Thursday afternoon to warn that a big new hole may appear in the budget with the collapse of the state labor deal. He said he has no hard figures yet.

“Right now I’m shadow-boxing,” DeStefano said later.

“The goal [of the meeting] was to bring them up to speed of what I knew. We ought to be talking to each other a lot. They ought to be talking to their members. It’s creating an environment where we are mutually dependent on each other.”

“It’s going to trickle down” from Hartford, AFSCME Local 3144 President Cherlyn Poindexter said. “How can it not affect everybody else?”

The mayor held a similar heads-up meeting with around 10 aldermen Friday morning. While repeating that he has no dollar estimates yet of newly lost revenue, he told them about this request for staff to come up with the $10 million in “options.”

“It’s a little scary,” said East Rock Alderman Matt Smith. “The consequences of slashing municipal aid are concerning. We already have what essentially amounts to an $8 million budget hole from the union concessions that were written as separate line items into the budget. The possibility that we could face as much as another $10 million could have dramatic ramifications in terms of what we can offer in terms of city services to people.”

Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield called city workers “the dominoes in the chain. ... This is the state workers kicking the problem down to the local level.” He said that because the city budget lacks discretionary spending, the only way to cover any new gap will be through the workforce.

After that meeting DeStefano drove to the state Capitol for a powwow with Malloy. He and the mayors of Connecticut’s four other largest cities had requested the meeting to discuss what the torpedoed labor agreement will mean for their budgets.

Malloy didn’t have any figures to offer. But he did tell the mayors to expect more of the pain to come in the second year of the new budget and a relatively modest cut the first year. DeStefano said the mayors gave Malloy, a former Stamford hizzoner, this message: “You’ve been great on municipal aid and on supporting central cities. This has been helpful to us.”

They also talked about the SEBAC rules that enable a majority of union workers to approve a deal—as they did in this case—only to see it fail because of falling below the 80 percent threshold.

“A minority can determine a direction. It’s kind of a crazy system,” DeStefano said.

He repeated that sentiment at a subsequent press conference alongside Malloy. Click here to read Christine Stuart’s report on that press conference and on Malloy’s next moves with the legislature and the workforce. And click here to read Stuart’s report on labor’s post-mortem.

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posted by: anon on June 24, 2011  4:27pm

““Let’s just say this: you have performers and non-performers,” she said. “There’s a good chance the performers are going to be let go” because they haven’t been around as long. The more senior times “don’t think they’ll be touched” by layoffs.”

Sounds like a 100% cut is needed, not a 15% cut.

The suburban fat-cat unions are now doomed, both at a local and state level. Hopefully Malloy will emerge as a moderate hero to the state, and start searching for private companies willing to operate the services that will be eliminated.

If the unions actually care about working people, they will issue a release calling for even more layoffs of top-heavy state departments in order to preserve municipal aid levels. Cities have nothing to do with this failure.

Unfortunately, the union leadership is rich and lives in gated suburban subdivisions, so will never do something like that.  Unless, perhaps, the big city CT mayors get together and play a little hardball with them.

posted by: Paul on June 24, 2011  5:39pm

It’s really now time to abolish the unions.  This vote exposes them to what they really are, organized extortion clubs who are willing to throw their own younger workers under the bus to save those who offer nothing but years of sitting on their back-sides.  This vote was nothing but a despicable display of raw greed that showed no compassion to either their own members or to the suffering taxpayers that pay their salaries.

posted by: richgetricher on June 24, 2011  6:52pm

I’m a supporter of unions and know that most of the basic rights won for working folk were fought for by unions. However, the state employees need to have their heads examined. Hello. Need a dose of reality or what. Every other governor in the nation is slashing and burning its workers and Malloy sits down, talks in good faith and then cuts a deal so good that he takes tons of political flack for it. It’s a deal so good that any city, state or private sector worker in the nation would jump at a deal like this during the Great Recession. They reject it and say Malloy is to blame!? What BS. Clearly they have no idea what is happening in other states or even what New Haven’s Mayor has been doing to his city’s workers. All public sector workers will be lumped with these clowns. And the Christies, Walkers and DeStefanos who have been bashing pubic unions can say “See I told you they’re selfish, bloated, ne’er do wells. Even when Malloy treated them with respect and cut a fair deal, the unions stuck it to him.” They think Malloy betrayed them. Don’t they get that Foley would’ve just come in and ordered mass layoffs and treated them like dirt from day one. Poor, abused state workers now you will pay bigtime for your colossal stupidity and shortsightedness. As Sen. Donald Williams said “none of your enemies could have hurt you or the labor cause as much as you have hurt yourself.”

posted by: Beentheredonethat on June 24, 2011  7:54pm

Sorry, but back in 95 after former Governor Rowland raised the state employee workweek to 40 hours agencies asked for volunteers to go back to 35 hours which i did.  I have been giving back 260 hours a year for the last 15+ years.  Asking me to have to pay thousands now after 24 years of service just to keep my retirement age is completely unfair.  I voted yes and gave back the furlough days in 09 too.  I would have voted yes again but this time they went too far with messing with my retirement after all these years.  My giving back those 5 hours per week has done nothing to stop the spending or hiring of thousands of new employees.

posted by: Lincoln Robertson on June 24, 2011  8:20pm

I have two comments

Malloy first

If he a true democrat and put more of the burden with the wealthy he would not be in trouble now. He’s just been elected and he’s out of touch already. If state income tax had gone up to 9% for those earning more than $200,000 a year the problem would have been solved real quick and real easy. 9% may sound high but I think state tax in California goes as high as 12%. Will the rich move out. No way. New York is more expensive. Will they vote for Malloy. No, but they never did.

What he tried to do was soak the poor. If your struggling now look at the odds. I can vote for less and hurt my family, or I can take a chance the other guy gets the pink slip. Roll the dice, as the odds are better. We’ve all been to Foxwoods.

DeStefano second

“A minority can determine direction. Its kind of a crazy system” he says. In New Haven I reckon there must be 60,000 or 70,000 qualified to vote, even more. DeStefano got 8,000 votes last election and usually gets 12,000. What a surprise. New Haven has a crazy system that always lets the minority have power. I’m surprised at DeStefano’s arrogant at pointing this out to us. He must think we are really stupid

posted by: Noteworthy on June 24, 2011  8:52pm

DeStefano is always shadow boxing against an illusive target - himself. Facing a current year multi-million dollars budget deficit, DeStefano kept right on hiring and spending like normal all the way through last month and probably this week.

This city budget has been on life support for years crushed by a tide of rising debt, funky deals and capturing next years revenue for this year’s expenses. He has made us a dependent, a ward of the state. He wants to continue that reckless policy with our future even as his is sunsetting. The very idea of DeStefano running around having meetings and building drama for his leadership style of financial mayhem would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. Maybe its time to dust off the old speech about a shinging city on a hill from several years ago.

posted by: Charlie O'Keefe on June 24, 2011  9:19pm

Thank you, Alderman Smith, for telling the truth at last. The BOA voted through a budget that was underfunded by $8 million. Was this legal, and are all 30 of you legally responsible for the consequences?

Now the mayor, whatever his name is, tells us there’s another $10 million hole. What’s the old saying, don’t count your chickens before their hatched. It could be much more, and he’s just polishing yet another turd till the election is over.

Looks like the poor, long suffering tax payers are already $18 million in the hole before the 2011-12 fiscal year even starts. Can anyone tell me how much our taxes will go up after November? At a guess it would take 180 to 200 layoffs to eliminate this deficit, and our mayor, whatever his name is, will certainly not do it before the election. I mean, even Malloy was smart enough to say all the right things before he was elected.

With all the previous auditor reports saying the city spends too much on education, cops and firefighters, we know where the cuts should be. All too politically sensitive. It will be the taxpayers who pick up the tab.

posted by: RMC on June 24, 2011  9:20pm

I am amazed that everyone wonders why the union members voted down this socialist nightmare that the governor tried handing us. Why? Because first and foremost all the deals were made behind closed doors, with union members (meaning the people, NOT the union leaders) not being informed or even asked what what we’d be willing to do. We were TOLD in no uncertain terms that the UNION decided what was best for us. Excuse me????????? At meetings the leaders were threatening and condescending. They said vote for this or God bless you, the layoffs start July 1st. Oh the gentlman who kept threatening us is a retired state worker. He was asked if he gets raises and he said of course. He gets 3% every year. EVERY YEAR. We have to give up ours. I don’t even mind doing that. I don’t mind furlopugh days if it helps. Did you know all the furlough days we gave the state, didn’t save any money? Bull! I could go on and on but I won’t. If you don’t work for the state, you are not entitled to an opinion. A majority of the people who voted yes were petrified. They voted yes because they were afraid of the consequences if they didn’t. They caved to the threats. I’m proud that I voted no and I’m even prouder of all the people who also voted no.

posted by: Helen on June 24, 2011  9:44pm

I read a lot of these posts and have to bow my head in sadness. It seems many people here don’t work for the State. Otherwise they would understand that State workers have it absolutely made in every way, shape and form.

All I have is a high-school diploma and I make $33 dollars an hour. My contemporaries in the private sector that do the exact same job as I do make $15 dollars an hour.

I have fantastic health care insurance. The private sector guy doesn’t.

I have a fantastic pension plan. The private sector guy doesn’t have any pension plan. He’s on his own.

I get paid sick leave. The private sector guy doesn’t.

I get paid vacation time (lots of it). The private sector guy gets a week off in the summer.

I get “personal leave days”. That means if I don’t feel like coming to work I don’t have to….yet I get paid that day. The guy in the private sector doesn’t get that.

I get numerous holidays every year which I can take whenever I want. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I get to exercise during work (with pay). The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I can work all the overtime I want. I get time and a half for that. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

In the event (and it happens often) that I get “mandated” to work….I get double time pay. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I can save my sick time and at the end of my career I get paid a large sum of money in a payout when I retire. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I can save my vacation time and at the end of my career I get paid a large sum of money in a payout when I retire (or I can have it applied to my retirement pay). The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I can spike my income for 3 years and then have my retirement income based on that “enhanced” salary. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I get 2 “longevity” payments every year….just because I didn’t die or quit. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I have a prescription plan where I pay a tiny co-pay for any medications I may need if I get sick. The private sector guy doesn’t get that.

I am just scratching the surface of the generous benefits I get as a State worker.

And people in these forums complain they have to give back?

They come off as entitled, spoiled, and selfish.

They say I got mine and I don’t care if you lose yours.

Where is the compassion people? Where is the love thy neighbor attitude?

7500 of our brethren are about to get laid off and you complain about giving up practically nothing?

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

posted by: Johnny on June 24, 2011  10:15pm

Unions are about brothers and sisters protecting each other. AFSCME let there brothers and sisters down by putting their self interests first.  They said “I’ll keep my job, get my raises, keep my benefits.  I don’t care if you get laid off.”  As public unions are under attack, this is a particularly bad to send.

posted by: Denny Wally on June 25, 2011  2:05am

Let the layoffs begin! The union workers live in a fairy tale land.

posted by: Darnell on June 25, 2011  2:15am

A Challenge to @ Charlie O’Keefe and all of the other complainers on this website:

We don’t agree much, but with your last post we do. I said it last year when we passed a budget with $10 million more in spending, $7 million of it not even funded. Of course I fought it with 5 or 6 other aldermen, to no avail. This year we sell a parking lot at flea market prices, raid our rainy day fund, and still can’t cover the hole.

I also predicted that the city administration and the BOA will rush to dust off some of the stale policy proposals we just defeated; stormwater authority and monetization, just wait and see, of course, it will all happen after the election in November, until then we will just ignore the deficits.

Now, there are many of us on the Board who are willing to stand up and vote no to thee bloated budgets.

Because of that, I send out a challenge to all of you posters and complainers on this website. Instead of complaining, why don’t YOU stand up and run for office.

This year we passed a budget with another $8 million in unfunded spending, including building a school in WEST HAVEN, and only 2 of my fellow aldermen joined me in voting against it. Each time, I presented budget amendments that would cut up to $10 million.

We all knew that the state funding was a crap-shoot, but I’m sure the majority of Board members figured they could just blame Hartford when the sh** hit the fan, which it is about to do.

posted by: Aaron on June 25, 2011  10:31am

The Hartford photo is not of a mayors meeting. Its a photo of a Freemason convention. Too many Freemason been running Connecticut for too long. Thats the real problem, not the unions.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 25, 2011  12:01pm

posted by: Paul on June 24, 2011 5:39pm
It’s really now time to abolish the unions.  This vote exposes them to what they really are, organized extortion clubs who are willing to throw their own younger workers under the bus to save those who offer nothing but years of sitting on their back-sides.  This vote was nothing but a despicable display of raw greed that showed no compassion to either their own members or to the suffering taxpayers that pay their salaries.

We need to abolish Wallstreet and the crooked bankers who put us in this mess.There are the real organized extortion clubs.

Sen Bernie Sanders Amazing Speech DEC 02 2010 .flv


No unions: Government by the rich, for the rich By Ken Bernstein,


Pyramid of Profiteers


“Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions.  One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”  Molly Ivins

posted by: richgetricher on June 25, 2011  12:33pm

To the state workers who inexplicably voted No, this is a famous quote that comes to mind: 

“In Germany, first they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me—and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.”

Rev. Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), German Lutheran pastor and opponent of Nazism

posted by: Charlie O'Keefe on June 25, 2011  1:14pm


I am retired, over 70, and living on a fixed and diminishing income. I have always worked to support my family, and all my kids went to good colleges.

I may be a John Doe but I look to our so called leaders to do just that. You are an elected representative of the people, and here you are saying if you don’t like it stand for office yourself. You are completely shirking your duty as an alderman, and I would expect more from you.

If people are complaining they should be listened to. That’s what democracy is all about, except New Haven. Sure, if there are tough times ahead I’ll do my bit if everyone else does theres. I’m not going to do a thing as long as the ultra wealthy don’t pay there fair share.

posted by: Ner on June 25, 2011  6:45pm

I voted yes in favor of the agreement.  Sorry to see this did not pass, and I understand that people who are angry would like to see more than 7,500 laid off.  I would agree with them as long as I am not one of those people laid off (I’ve only been a state worker for only 10 months after 20 years in the private sector).  I’ve been laid off in the private sector in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010 - thought when I was hired by the State of CT in 2010 I would avoid another layoff for a while. I guess I will have to get used to it - unlike my father who worked for IBM for over 30 years before he retired.  Back then IBM was famous for a full employment practice (no-layoff was not actually an official policy)  Those days where you can stay with one employer for your entire career are gone forever.

posted by: Eileen on June 25, 2011  7:39pm

Come now, Darnell, the city is only building 3 new schools this year. That’s real belt tightening. $180 to $200 million Obama is giving Johnny. That’s really good. So property tax has gone up. Its no big deal. Federal tax will go up next. Its no big deal. As long as someone else picks up the tab. Can’t beat New Haven’s Tammany Hall style of government. Everybody wins. For now….....

posted by: Not "rich" but... on June 25, 2011  8:56pm

@ L. Robertson “If state income tax had gone up to 9% for those earning more than $200,000 a year the problem would have been solved real quick and real easy.”——my question to you is: What do the “rich” get in exchange for kicking in more taxes than the “middle class”? Do they get extra state services, some other benefit that I’m not aware of?

Even as an upper middle class person - I tire of those who don’t work as hard as I do or those who don’t work all expecting me to support them.

posted by: Sweatpotatoe on June 25, 2011  9:59pm

Can’t wait to see the agenda with all these yale union members running for alderman. 

Expensive healthcare plans will get more expensive. $80,000 a year pensions for employees retiring at age 50 will be the norm not the exception. Community benefit agreements that drive business out of new haven and line the pockets of union presidents with dues monies will be the hallmark. Immigration reform will fall to the wayside under the unions all black candidates who are opposed to immigration reform.  And don’t forget all the new taxes to pay for it.

Get wise people. It’s a game.


posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 26, 2011  12:00am

posted by: Helen on June 24, 2011 9:44pm

I have a fantastic pension plan. The private sector guy doesn’t have any pension plan. He’s on his own.

I get paid sick leave. The private sector guy doesn’t.

The private sector worker can get the same thing if the form a union.Also who told you to work for the private sector.You could have take the test to work for the public sector. And buy the way we can thank you people who work in the private sector for put the middle class and working poor in the mess.There are oganizations in the Private Sector the uses Govenment to deregulate or make laws that caused the meltdown and they got a bail out.And by the way you talk about I have a fantastic pension plan. The private sector guy doesn’t have any pension plan. He’s on his own,But the taxpayers Benfit from public pensions due to the fact that Pensions are a form of deferred compensation. Part of the money invested comes from the taxpayers, and part from the employees. And it is true that the investment returns all accrue to the pensioners. But, through investment returns the taxpayer is able to offer a dollar of deferred compensation for a small fraction of what it costs him or her for direct compensation. Bottom line The wealthy interests in this country have managed to destroy retirement security for the average private-sector working man and woman in this country. Now they are trying to finish the job by destroying retirement security for public-sector employees.We are devolving quickly into an oligarchy where a few percent of the population controls the majority of the wealth in this country.So stop puting the blame on union workers and starting Blaming the Private Sector.

posted by: cedarhillresident on June 26, 2011  1:09pm

Darnell well said.
I have fought the budget bullS**t for years. I have watched out of town union reps say just raise taxes. I have watched people get hired in hiring freeze. I have watched the blue collar jobs that provide services get cut over the years while the paper pusher jobs get saved. This year I have watched students stand up to fight because the BOE says reform but their idea of reform is to protect high paid positions so that when they get demoted to teachers they will still be garnetted their 130,000 pay checks while REAL teachers make teacher pay.
I have watched our most qualified officers work 9-5 shifts instead of high crime shifts and if they do get called in to that high crime shift they get OT. Then they go home to the suburbs and thank god they do not have to live here. 
I have talked to MANY dept heads and workers ALL saying that slackers fill ALL dept. and get to keep there jobs because of union contracts. soo the out come of that is a worker with an assistant, that has an assistant to an assistant to the actual person that does the work, and that person that does the work is the one that get laid off in this city. THat is messed up! (whos friends and family members are they protecting?)

Unions want more…well tell your leaders to represent the WORKERS stop protecting the slackers! We can save a ton of money if there is a performance clause in ALL contracts! We can save money if we get rid of all the paper pushers and lazy ... that do NOTHING.
This city and state need major dept over haul. I truely think that 7500 jobs should be cut. BUT the sad reality is many of those may be the people that work for there pay checks and we will still be left with a slacker work force.
I was raised that be glad you have a job. Be a team player. Just because it is not part of your job…if it needs to be done and you have the time DO IT…When times are good expect more when times are bad share the pain.
These old fashion ideas are disappearing.
What else is an old fashion idea gone to the wayside???? Unions!! Once upon a time unions where there to protect the workers and their JOBS. to negotiate during good times and bad. Now Unions are a multi million dollar business and the only jobs they protect are theirs.

I believe with this vote workers did unite to protect each other and bravo to all of you! But union leaders made it so they controlled the out come no matter what the majority voted.  Privatizing may end up being the state and citys only way out of all of this. I am sure that this was not what workers want. It is not what anyone wants. But if the government jobs can not give concessions that most every other work force has already made years ago we are all screwed. Not just the workers, all of us!

The real fix is in DC and Hartford. Making Healthcare more affordable. this simple factor is what is killing us. The money used to pay for health care has more than tripled. And so has the insurance company’s profits.
And pensions. Ex a relative worked in the states prison system and retired. He told me the money he put into his pension over the years was used up within the first year of retirement….the rest of his life is on the tax payers!
And as darnell said…want to complain then do something! Well..year after year we all tried to tell people to do something. Alot of this could of be stopped…it may not have been totally but it may have not have been as bad…at least for us New Haveners. But we think the other guy will fight it I don’t need to. WELL YOU NEED TO! The more eyes watching the less they can do!
But several unfortunate factors in this processes is union contracts, state laws and charter rules, which all effect the ability for our leaders to make what seems to be common sense choices..but because of these three things they are hitting brick walls in every direction.

And Sweatpotatoe you know it my spud friend! bankruptcy will be days away and all city contracts will be null and void!

posted by: THE TRUTH on June 26, 2011  1:42pm

That State and New Haven has no money but yet still building schools that are being destroyed on the inside year after year! The city is paying a company to manage the maintenance and custodial dept 1.5 million that keeps spending and throwing money away on bad ideas that they claim is saving money like the way the they messed up the chillers at hillhouse they had to replace and then blames that last company and construction! Sorry but that school was done with renovation far to many years now to place blame else where! Why keep building if there is no money and the school are being destroyed on the inside!!! Holes in walls, towel and toilet paper dispensers ripped off walls only to be replace and ripped off again!! They waisted billions of money to rebuild the school if this is what’s going to be happening in the schools!!! Bottom line is the state and city needs to stop throwing money into things when people are going to be put out of work!!!

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 26, 2011  7:59pm

The true reality is that ANY public sector bureaucracy can lose 20% of its bloated girth and still be responsive.  However, the layoffs need to start at the top.

posted by: Bean Counter on June 26, 2011  9:12pm

DeStefano makes $130,000, and has had the job for 18 years. Assuming his deductions are about 32%, and assuming that his pay has kept up with inflation, he’s had total after deductions pay of $1,591,200 since he became mayor in 1994. The two assumptions I’ve just made are fairly accurate…. So if our mayor put his money into shares and bonds and other financial investments his $1,591,200 would now be worth at least twice that, or around $3 million. That’s a worst case assessment, and its more likely he has already made $4 million.

If he retired today he would get a 70% pension, that is 0.7 x $130,000 = $91,000 a year. He is 55, and it’s fair to assume he will live till he’s 80, so that’s 25 years of pension totalling $2,275,000.


Lets also assume they have paid off their mortgage, a reasonable assumption for a couple in their mid-fifties. So they must have about $500,000 equity in their home.

So the DeStefano’s have a proforma net worth of $4 million + $2.275 million +
$1.575 million + $0.5 million = $8.35 million.

They could be worth much more already if they’ve invested wisely, and they could both make a lot more money if they worked for another 10 years till they are 65 or 66.


So is it right that a man can govern one of the country’s poorest citys when he is so rich and has no conception of what life is like for someone subsisting on $30,000 or $40,000 a year. Just think too, he’s a democrat, and supposed to be looking after the working man and woman.

I am no supporter of the unions, but who can blame them for fighting. DeStefano is a multi-millionaire who just likes playing politics. He doesn’t need to work, so I guess he likes playing chess, where the pawns are other peoples lives. As Malloy has been mayor in Stamford for years, and is also an attorney and far better educated than DeStefano, I would expect him to be even richer.

The middle class in Connecticut is not just an endangered species. It is already doomed. It will be outlived by the tiger, which is expected to become extinct in five years.

posted by: NewHavenerToo on June 26, 2011  9:46pm

Oh well….nothing new in this report.  Just wait for the next hit.  New Haven Housing Authority…or should I say “Elm City Communities”....

posted by: Bill on June 27, 2011  8:15am

Malloy INCREASED spending in many areas while desiring draconian cuts to state workers. People are not stupid,...

posted by: STATE WORKER22 on June 27, 2011  8:40am

I just read this article and i am one of those who voted no. We have given u raise and furlough days under gov. Rowland,and Rell. we agreed to hose concessions to save out co-workers jobs. Now in the final year of that contract when we are suppose to get something the wanna hit us again. If i had agreed to this deal then that would have been 4 yrs with no cost of living increase. How do you expect people to survive when everything else is going up. What is not being reported is the fact that the state has not properly handled the pension fund. so now they wanna clean their mistakes at our expense. Not this time. i feel sorry for those who may be laid off,but its time to send the state a message that you cant keep disrespecting us. Who is gonna guarantee that in 3 yrs when its time to get the 3 percent this isn’t gonna happen again.

posted by: Tiredofthisselfishness on June 27, 2011  9:19am

Time to say “bye-bye” to the Union members that voted against this sweetheart deal!  What the heck were they waiting for - an INCREASE in pay???  They have job security for four years, they have a SLIGHT increase in their health insurance co-pay and now have to take care of themselves with preventative medicine.  So what is the big deal with yearly physicals.  Could it be this “fat cats” are too obese and don’t want to give up the good life??  Our insurance rates have gone up considerably, and we can do not have a choice.  These Union people deserve to be laid off. Let’s put the blame where it belongs - not on the Governor who treated them fairly, but on their GREEDY members.  Start the lay offs with the locals that voted against the deal.  Let them see the consequences of their actions. They think they are indispensable, think again.  Fire the greedy and selfish union members!!  They are no loss for our State - good riddance to them! I know people who would be happy just to have a job!

posted by: Makes me sick on June 27, 2011  2:30pm

Two words: Yankee. Institute.

posted by: V. O'R on June 27, 2011  7:15pm

The problem with the backroom deal was that the majority of the prescription drug business to an out of state company, Ca, taking business from small pharmacies in CT. The “race to the bottom” has to stop somewhere. Why don’t you hear about the private sector rising up against their declining benefits courtesy of the corporate elites? Clearly, it’s due to lack of union representation and the skewing of the political spectrum to the extreme right. Union members are used to fighting for what they have, and that is why they are the last ones standing. Stand with the unions rather than bickering about what other people have or we will all be fighting for the crumbs of feudalism. Read your history. Walter Karp’s The Politics of War mirrors what is going on today from the propaganda to the lack of bank regulation, to the industrial cartels. The right wing has lobbied tooth and nail non-stop to take YOUR money, yet you complain about people having a pension after 30 years. Join in the fight and demand more, not less! Most of the people who were laid off will be back. They front line work force is very lean, contrary to media propaganda. Time to fight back America! Join the progressive movement now!

posted by: Delisse Locher on June 27, 2011  9:22pm

Who in Union leadership is asking members voting NO why they voted no?  That is, with an unbiased and comprehensive questionaire.

It appears to many long-term employees as if SEBAC & AFSCME have neglected interests of workers who’ve paid dues and given decades of State service, for the prospect of keeping more employee dues coming into Union coffers. 

The MP2 bargaining unit that regected this “deal”  even before Corrections did has seen so much waste-for years- by mismanagement of bosses that they are fed up with having to pay-again-for it with concessions that don’t end.  All the while the source of the mismanagement is not addressed and Union leaders do nothing to publicly refute the myth that the workers are the problem.  Wake up SEBAC, or you might find YOURSELVEs voted out of representation for several bargaining units.

Why don’t you stop planning (scheming?) how to circumvent workers voices with a ‘tweak’ here and there, stop spinning the no vote to blame those disenchanted with a deal you thought was great, and plan to incorporate the interests of disaffected workers who pay your salaries to represent them with the sweat of their brows?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 27, 2011  9:37pm

posted by: V. O’R on June 27, 2011 7:15pm
The problem with the backroom deal was that the majority of the prescription drug business to an out of state company, Ca, taking business from small pharmacies in CT. The “race to the bottom” has to stop somewhere. Why don’t you hear about the private sector rising up against their declining benefits courtesy of the corporate elites? Clearly, it’s due to lack of union representation and the skewing of the political spectrum to the extreme right. Union members are used to fighting for what they have, and that is why they are the last ones standing. Stand with the unions rather than bickering about what other people have or we will all be fighting for the crumbs of feudalism

You are On Point!!!!

The Haymarket Massacre, 1886

“The day will come when our silence
will be more powerful than the voices
you are throttling today.”

                  — August Spies

posted by: RMC on June 28, 2011  3:20pm

Dear Helen

YOU may get all that. I don’t. I also only have a high school diploma and have worked for the state for the past 11 years.

I don’t make anywhere near $33 an hour. I do not get to exercise during work, well I could but it would be during lunch, which is my time, not state time.

I am hoping your entire message is sarcasm because but this is not the time for sarcasm. T

I DO work for the state and even if I had all that you say you have, I would still be against socialism and the governor’s threats. I do not like being threatened.

Oh how about taking away longevity from us? That is something we do not earn and we do not need and shouldn’t even be budgeted into our lives. Yes, I only get $75.00 twice a year but even that would be something multipied by how many people that just passed the 10 year mark. AND how about all those people who get $10,000.00 or more twice a year for longevity? Should they? Absolutely not.

Maybe your post isn’t sarcasm and you do get all that. If so, congratulations, I think. Before I started with the state I made $7/hour and had no paid holidays or vacation days and I lived with it. So giving up a few things—furlough days, even a vacation day or a sick day, is nothing for me. But being threatened is. And watching them threaten and frighten people is so totally what the unions USED to be against and now are part of. How sad is that? I am so sick over this.