DCF Program Managers Say 'UNION YES'; Join Council 4 AFSCME

Seeking a stronger voice at work, more than 100 Program Managers for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) voted decisively to unionize and join Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The union representation election took place Aug. 2 under the supervision of the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, which subsequently certified the results. Council 4 represents approximately 35,000 employees in state and local government and the private sector.

“DCF Program Managers are dedicated, hard-working employees who need the proper support and resources to be successful in fulfilling our agency mission and in serving, to the best of our ability, the people of Connecticut. Joining Council 4 will ensure we get that support and those resources,” said Christopher Gardner, a Program Manager in the Willimantic regional service.

DCF Program Managers are the newest members of Council 4 AFSCME

“Program Managers are among those with the longest years of service, both within DCF and across the state. Our work is difficult, challenging, and often second-guessed, yet we lack the fundamental rights and protections critical to public service,” added  Gardner, who has worked for DCF for more than 25 years.

Program Manager Cindy Bowman also emphasized the importance of having a union.

“We recognize state budget pressures,” said Bowman, a 21-year employee in the Manchester regional office. “We want to have a collective voice and input into issues and proposed solutions impacting our work. Unionizing with AFSCME is our path to a more secure and stable future, for ourselves and our clients,”

Council 4’s current membership includes more than 2,000 DCF employees, most of them belonging to Local 2663 of the AFSCME P-2 Human & Social Services Bargaining Unit.

“We understand the challenges facing DCF employees and we are honored to represent Program Managers who play a vital role in protecting children’s welfare,” said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano.

Kevin Murphy, Council 4’s Director of Collective Bargaining and Organizing, said that the Program Managers will meet in September to elect their Executive Board and Negotiating Team members in preparation for negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement.

“We anticipate negotiations to be respectful and to produce a settlement that is fair to everyone involved,” Murphy said.