Layoff notices for state workers possible this week

Layoff notices for state workers possible this week


FILE PHOTO: Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivers his budget address to members of the House and Senate inside the Hall of the House at the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office could begin sending out layoff notices to state employees this week as the two sides remain unable to reach an agreement on $700 million in labor savings for next fiscal year.

Malloy told reporters last week that his administration “won’t be asking people to leave” their jobs while negotiations are ongoing, though.

“I hope we’ll get an agreement,” Malloy said. “I’m a little less hopeful than I was last week, but I’m still hopeful that we’ll get an agreement.”

Office of Policy and Management spokesman Chris McClure reiterated the point Monday, saying the notices can be rescinded if OPM and the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition are able to reach an agreement on concessions.

McClure also said OPM has approved agency plans for a combined 1,100 layoffs so far, but those notices won’t all go out at once.

Malloy said last week the process is also complicated by union rules. Some employees have “bumping rights” that allow them to take a job in another agency.

While Malloy continues to express hope that a concessions agreement will be reached, union officials continue to press for revenue increases and other solutions to solve a nearly $5 billion deficit over the next two years.

“Connecticut public workers did not cause this economic crisis, and the deficit cannot be closed on the backs of taxpaying public employees,” AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano said. “We need a fair and equitable solution that includes vehicles for raising revenue, like restoring taxes on the wealthy and closing tax loopholes that benefit corporations and their CEOs.”

American Federation of Teachers President Jan Hochadel and other union officials, meanwhile, sent an alert urging members to contact lawmakers to call for a “fair budget” that’s “not balanced on the backs of working or middle class families.”

“Together, let’s make sure our elected officials understand that workforce layoffs and service cuts threaten public health and safety, our children’s education and Connecticut’s quality of life,” the memo said.

The alert was in response to remarks from Democratic and Republican leaders, who said after a budget meeting last week that they have agreed to accept Malloy’s assumption for $700 million in labor savings next year.

Due to the timing, layoffs will have little to no effect on the projected $388 million for the current fiscal year.

The state only has $244 million in its Rainy Day Fund, so any cuts or cost savings that would help plug that gap must be realized before the fiscal year ends on June 30. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino

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