Connecticut AFL-CIO 2021 Legislative Agenda

INVESTING IN A WORKERS' RECOVERY


A STATE BUDGET THAT INVESTS IN CONNECTICUT'S RECOVERY

Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers have lost their jobs and are struggling while billionaires have profited from the COVID-19 pandemic. Generating an economic recovery that rewards work, not wealth, requires Connecticut's budget to fund vital public services, close opportunity gaps that perpetuate systemic racism, create good jobs by investing in infrastructure, erase inequities in public education, fund public higher education and workforce development and expand access to affordable healthcare. Connecticut can no longer afford austerity measures that prolong recovery and exacerbate disparities. Robust investment in Connecticut's economic recovery includes:

  • Raising personal income tax rates on the highest earners, increasing rates on capital gains and investment income, reducing reliance on regressive property taxes and other measures to restore fairness to the tax code while generating revenue to fund public services and close budget inequities;
  • Maximizing the use of bonding to fund overdue infrastructure investments while creating good paying jobs; and
  • Establishing a public option to allow the State of Connecticut to leverage its market power to offer small businesses, non-profits and Taft-Hartley plans the opportunity to purchase high quality, affordable healthcare.

RESPECT FRONTLINE WORKERS

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut's public health and safety has depended heavily on frontline workers, who have performed their jobs in difficult and dangerous circumstances. They are overwhelmingly women, Black and Latino, and low-wage workers.  In order to protect their health and livelihoods, Connecticut must:

  • Establish a meaningful COVID-19 workers' compensation presumption to allow workers who contract the virus on the job to receive earned healthcare, wage replacement and other benefits more quickly; and
  • Provide hazard pay and protect recall rights to reward them for the risks they have taken to protect our safety and keep the economy running.

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The Connecticut AFL-CIO will also collaborate with affiliates and allies to:

  • Block attempts to undermine collective bargaining rights and weaken binding arbitration.
  • Support efforts to expand collective bargaining rights and end workplace discrimination. 
  • Reject proposals that reduce earned unemployment benefits.
  • Enact measures to protect public employees' right to join and remain members of a union in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus V. AFSCME decision.
  • Prohibit worker misclassification efforts that enable wage theft, designate employees as independent contractors or prohibit workers from forming a union.
  • Enact recommendations of the Task Force on Debarment and Limitations on the Awarding of State Contracts.
  • Maintain prevailing wage rates for construction workers and codify collective bargaining agreement rates in statute.
  • Fund high quality apprenticeship programs, including teacher apprenticeship programs within the Connecticut Technical Educational and Career System.
  • Require the use of Project Labor Agreements on state-funded projects in excess of $10 million.
  • Defeat privatization of public services, including outsourcing to non-profits and expanding the use of public-private partnerships.
  • Ensure efforts to legalize recreational marijuana include labor peace agreements.
  • Save local good paying jobs by eliminating tax breaks for corporations that send call center jobs overseas.
  • Expand PTSI workers' compensation coverage to dispatchers, corrections personnel, EMS staff and other frontline workers. 
  • Support efforts to enact early voting and no-excuse absentee ballot voting.

Click here for a 1-page printable version of the Connecticut AFL-CIO 2021 Legislative Agenda.