At the same time public employees are risking their lives to protect the public from coronavirus, our anti-worker ‘friends’ have decided to take this opportunity to attack our pay and benefits. Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano ‘thanked’ frontline union workers who are putting their lives, and their families lives at risk by asking them to give up previously negotiated raises. SEBAC fashioned a response, which is posted below.
Dear Senator Fasano:
We are in receipt of your letter to the Coalition purporting to be seeking help for “non- profits and the social safety net during the coronavirus pandemic.” We are disappointed to see that even in the midst of a historic national crisis instead of coming together in support of all working families – and especially the frontline workers public and private, profit and non-profit who are keeping us all safe — your caucus resorts to the cynical, manipulative and divisive behavior for which it has become famous. Unlike the tiny comfortable minority of millionaires and billionaires your caucus truly represents, state workers together with the non-profits actually help provide the critical safety net upon which the most vulnerable in our state depend. Among our members are doctors, nurses, and nurse’s aides on the front lines, corrections officer in virus infested prisons, social workers protecting seniors and children and many others struggling to provide services even in the midst of escalating public risks. And our members have given back again and again and again to protect public services no matter who provides them. Our most recent agreement — which every member of your caucus voted against claiming the savings “weren’t real” — was independently estimated to save the State over $1.6 billion in its first biennium alone, and over $24 billion over 20 years. After two years, the Comptroller examined the savings and found that we saved even more than estimated. It is that agreement, which began with 3 years of
hard zeros and included premium share and retirement contribution increases and many other hard sacrifices, that finally included the wage increase in its last two years you now want to delay.
As for the millionaires and billionaires you really represent, primarily as a result of the unending efforts of your caucus, they continue to pay less in state and local taxes as a share of their income than the working poor and middle classes. And the Walmarts of the world who you also defend from even the most modest efforts to protect workers, pay even less.
We recognize that your letter is merely a cynical effort to get a headline – a fact proven by the fact that you released it to the news media at almost precisely the time you sent it, far before union leaders would even have a chance to read it. Perhaps it is driven by your rumored run for governor, and if so, is a sad but not unexpected start. But if you want to make real news, and make a real difference for non-profit workers, for the people they, and state workers serve and for all working families in our state, try retracting your letter. Instead, try thanking all the front-line workers, state and private who are risking their lives for all of us, and asking your millionaire and billionaire friends to pay their fair share of taxes. “State Senator Len Fasano Asks Billionaires To Pay Their Fair Share To Help Struggling Non-Profits And All Of Connecticut’s Working Families.” Now there’s a headline worth reading.
Very Truly Yours,
Daniel E Livingston Chief Negotiator for SEBAC
The problem of anti-worker sentiment extends all the way to Washington DC. On April 22, while talking to right-wing talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route, It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”
Triggering states to declare bankruptcy rather than giving additional federal funds would theoretically force states to abandon their pension obligations to public servants, something CSEA strongly rejects. CSEA will continue to fight against all bad proposals that hurt our members.