Statement on GOP Budget Scheme & Adjournment of Legislative Session

The Connecticut AFL-CIO, AFT Connecticut, and AFSCME Council 4 made the following statements in response to the GOP’s budget scheme and the adjournment of the 2017 legislative session:

Lori Pelletier, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:

“The legislature closed out the end of the 2017 legislative session without acting on bills that could have supported working families struggling to make ends meet.

“The General Assembly failed to pass an increase in the minimum wage, failed to establish a paid family leave program that’s supported by 77% of small businesses, failed to create a program to cover PTSD for our first responders, and weakened health care coverage for MMA fighters. Further, they failed to create a funding mechanism to provide cancer coverage for fire fighters who get sick and failed to provide institutional aid for Connecticut’s DREAMers.

“Because of these failures, it’s more important than ever that the legislature craft a budget during the special session that supports working families. Our state employees have stepped up and established a framework to save the state billions of dollars. Legislators need to ensure there is shared sacrifice that doesn’t continue to disproportionately hurt workers and the state’s most vulnerable.

“We need legislators to find the courage to push for a fee on low-wage employers that abuse our social safety net and essentially steal from taxpayers, and to reduce costly outsourcing schemes like the botched 3M job at the DMV that cost the state millions more than it should have. And we need them to find the courage to review and repeal tax expenditures that no longer make sense and cost the state over $7 billion.”

Jan Hochadel, President of AFT Connecticut:

“Legislative Republicans today tried to shamelessly exploit the process to revive bills that died earlier in the session taking aim at teachers, paraeducators, professors, probation officers, safety inspectors and nurses. But this wasn't just about public employees and their families; when the voice of any single group of workers is silenced, the middle class shrinks and corporate interests consolidate power.

“That's why our members have for the past six months joined the state's labor movement in defending collective bargaining and the gains made for working families over decades. Working together, we stopped this latest PR stunt by politicians bent on following the Koch Brothers' playbook and avoiding their responsibility to protect Connecticut's citizens and our quality of life.”

Sal Luciano, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 4:

“Throughout the legislative session, House and Senate Republicans continued their efforts to disrespect and diminish middle class public workers who make our communities better every day. These cynical political attacks took direct aim on the livelihoods of everyone from correctional officers and para-educators to child abuse investigators and plow drivers. Through public hearings, emails and phone calls, and grass roots lobbying, our members pushed back to stop these assaults. I could not be prouder of their efforts.

“Attacking the rights and the economic security of those who work for the public good may please the corporate and wealthy special interests and their legislative apologists, but it's poor public policy. When you undermine public workers, entire communities suffer. Our union members deserve better than this pettiness and scorn. We will continue to fight back as we always do.”

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