Sampson, Markley Ask Malloy for Answers on Controversial Unionization Plan

November 30, 2011

HARTFORD — State Rep. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott) and State Sen. Joe Markley (R-Southington) this week asked Gov. Dannel Malloy for a progress report on his controversial step toward unionizing personal care attendants and some day care workers.

Malloy launched the process in mid-September through two executive orders, bypassing all members of the state legislature along the way. The orders created two panels with the explicit goal of figuring out how to unionize both sets of workers, with members of those working groups to report back to the governor with their findings by Feb 1.

Rep. Sampson and Sen. Markley have questioned the constitutionality of Malloy’s move to push aside lawmakers and in a letter to the governor this week they requested specifics about a process that’s been nothing short of ambiguous so far.

“By going around state representatives and senators to bring back the type of proposal shelved by the legislature last spring, the governor has effectively taken away any opportunity for residents to pay a meaningful role in shaping policies that could have a profound impact on their lives,” Rep. Sampson said. “Now, we must make sure this process is conducted in the sunlight to give people the kind of accountability they deserve.”

Earlier this month Markley and Sampson held an informational forum where disabled residents – who hire personal care attendants, in particular—expressed concern about Malloy’s orders. Folks who depend on personal care assistants worry unionization could strip their ability to work with the person they’re most comfortable with.

“There’s a good chance unionization of these workers could take away a disabled persons very personal decision of choosing someone to help them with tasks many of us take for granted, such as getting dressed in the morning,” Sen. Markley said. “It’s critical that the governor keep disabled people as informed as possible every step of the way. Those in the disabled community are right when they say, ‘nothing about us – without us.”

In their letter, Sampson and Markley posed questions about the panels Malloy created:

  • Has the membership of the working groups been determined?
  • Have the working groups met, or have they scheduled a meeting?
  • Will working group meetings be open to the public?

Markley and Sampson also asked:

  • Have the proposed majority representatives (union organization) for each bargaining group been selected, and what was the process used?
  • How many groups sought to become the majority representative?
  • Have the names of the workers been provided to the majority representatives?
  • Have third party election moderators been determined? If so, who were the selected moderators? When will elections be held?
  • Will those elections be held by traditional means, or through the “card check” process spelled out in your executive orders?