Fasano & Witkos Statement on Unions Refusal to Come to Negotiation Table with Governor

March 21, 2016

Hartford – Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) released the following statement regarding the state unions’ refusal to accept the governor’s invitation to reopen pension and health benefits to help mitigate significant future deficits and avoid future layoffs.

“Republicans are supportive of the governor calling the unions to the table. We wish it happened sooner, but we applaud the effort now. If union leaders truly represent the best interests of their workers, then they should be running to the table to have a serious discussion with the governor before he’s forced to lay off thousands.

“The unions know they have full protection from Democrat leaders and therefore are untouchable. But that is unrealistic when we’re facing billion dollar deficits in future years. If union leaders don’t come to the table now, they and the Democrats who supported keeping them out of the negotiation room are responsible for layoffs that come their way. If Democrats feel differently, I hope that they will call on the unions to come to the table now.

“To all rank and file workers, Republicans proposed a two-step plan that eliminates the need for layoffs, but it can’t happen unless your union leaders come to the table. By implementing two furlough days we can save your jobs this year. Second, our plan includes long-term savings beginning next year with modest pension and healthcare benefit changes. It’s impossible for these long-term changes to make an impact on this year, which is why furloughs are needed. But layoffs should only be used as a last resort. Unfortunately, if your unions don’t come to the table now, layoffs will be inevitable. If you support the Republican alternative to layoffs, contact your union stewards and demand to be heard in a vote.”