Labor Praises Gov. Malloy for Changing Divisive Term for State Workers

The Connecticut AFL-CIO, AFT Connecticut, and AFSCME Local 704 made the following statements in response to the announcement by Gov. Malloy that they will no longer use the terms “essential” and “nonessential” state employees:

Lori J. Pelletier, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:

“On behalf of all workers in both the public and private sectors, we applaud the Governor for updating these antiquated terms to describe the state’s dedicated public service workers.

“Our state employees are anything but “nonessential.” Continuing to use this term to describe our state workers only serves to feed negative stereotypes and demean their important work.

“This may seem inconsequential in light of all the issues facing us today, but it’s important we treat all workers with dignity and respect. This seemingly small change will provide a more accurate representation of state employees and should come at no cost to the state.”

Jan Hochadel, President of AFT Connecticut:

“Our members have long called for an end to divisive rhetoric that all too often distorts the real record of the hard-working women and men in Connecticut state service. At a time when wealthy special interests are busy sowing discord, the governor’s order to drop misguided and outdated terminology is a step in the right direction.

“The fact that this move follows a resolution passed last fall by delegates to our state’s labor federation speaks volumes about our collective commitment to have each other’s backs. Some may dismiss this as mere symbolism; we see it as demonstrating the true strength of the ‘U’ and ‘I’ in ‘union.’”

Taffy Womack, Administrative Assistant in the Secretary of State's office:

“I applaud Governor Malloy for taking action on the Connecticut AFL-CIO resolution. My co-workers and I are anything but non-essential. We are career civil servants who take pride in our work and in our service to the public. We've always felt the term dehumanized us as employees and fed into the often hateful narrative directed against state employees. Getting rid of the “non-essential” label will be a welcome shift in direction. I applaud my sisters and brothers in the labor movement, both private and public sector, who made this happen by endorsing the original resolution at last fall's state AFL-CIO Convention.”

Taffy Womack is also a state AFL-CIO Executive Board member, a 24-year state employee, and President of AFSCME Local 704.

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