Phone: 860-951-6614
CSEA SEIU Local 2001
SEBAC News Jul 05, 2022
CSEA Responds to Public Service Crisis
by Drew Stoner
    CSEA members, along with our SEBAC coalition partners, are raising the alarm over chronic understaffing in state agencies. In the wake of the ‘silver tsunami’, the understaffing problem has reached a crisis level and is having devastating impacts on Connecticut residents and businesses.
    In the decade after the Great Recession, the state government cut its employee workforce by more than 20%. This destructive trend has accelerated during the pandemic: according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Connecticut public employees (excluding the education sector) were slashed by 7.6% between July 2019 and July 2021 alone -- one of the largest reductions anywhere in the country. 
    Now, amid the greatest crisis in decades, we have seen over 4,400 retirements since January of this year. The exodus has only exacerbated the destruction of the vital state services that all working people across Connecticut depend on, in particular black and brown, women and immigrant workers. 
    CSEA President, Travis Woodward, joined other SEBAC leaders to respond to comments by Governor Ned Lamont, Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Commissioner Michelle Gilman and other officials on anticipated additional state employee retirements. Their remarks follow intensive union efforts since the start of the pandemic at the worksite, agency and state level to restore eroded services and prevent further loss going forward.
    “We are actively losing out to other states and the private sector when it comes to hiring, particularly with the highly competitive market for civil engineers,” said Woodward, Supervising Engineer with the Department of Transportation, “As federal transportation dollars flow into states, Connecticut will lose out on those dollars because we simply don’t have the engineers to do the work. While we’ve made some progress in collective bargaining we must speed up hiring and address the bottlenecks and antiquated practices that have existed for decades that force us to lose out on the talented staff we desperately need.”

 
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