“Unsustainable” – have you seen this editorial?

July 6, 2017

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‘Concessions’: Block the deal

(Waterbury Republican-American Editorial)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “concessions” deal with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) stands to give the state away to Big Public Labor.

“Connecticut residents and business people deserve to know where their legislators stand on this train wreck in the making,” we asserted in a June 18 editorial.

Lawmakers probably will vote on the deal.

Better yet, it may not receive approval if they do.

June 26, Gov. Malloy announced all individual unions will send the deal to their members for approval.

“Eight of the 15 unions and 50 percent of the voting members must ratify the labor savings agreement,” the Republican-American reported June 27.

Voting most likely will be completed by the middle of the month.

If the rank-and-file approve the deal, it will go to the legislature.

It will automatically receive legislative approval if neither the House nor Senate rejects it within 30 days of its submission to each chamber’s clerk.

Gov. Malloy touts the deal as a key to financial stability, often citing an actuarial analysis that concluded it would save Connecticut government $24 billion.

However, the deal would sow seeds of uncertainty and kick the can down the road, something the governor criticized past state leaders for supposedly doing.

The deal has a number of troubling aspects, but the hardest one to stomach is a provision that would extend, from 2022 through 2027, the master agreement protecting unionized state employees’ health and retirement benefits.

In 1997, then-Gov. John G. Rowland and SEBAC signed the original version. It was supposed to expire this year, but in 2011, Gov. Malloy and SEBAC extended it to 2022.

Another extension would be unsustainable.

Thanks to Republican gains during the 2016 legislative elections, the “concessions” deal may not go on the books even if it receives the requisite worker support.

The Senate is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, while House Democrats have the narrowest of working majorities.

According to a June 29 Connecticut Mirror story, several conservative Democrats – including Sen. Joan V. Hartley of the 15th District – are uneasy about the deal. This complicates efforts to approve it.

These Democratic lawmakers already have been attacked by Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori J. Pelletier.

They are advised to resist the pressure and vote the deal down, to serve the people who elected them.

If the deal is rejected, Connecticut will have to make statutory changes to employees’ compensation, if it wants a path to stability.

Senate Republicans have unveiled a plan – which has been endorsed by House Republicans – centered on collective-bargaining reforms that would give the state the upper hand.

Gov. Malloy has criticized the GOP plan.

If the “concessions” deal is voted down, and with Republicans having offered a plan, the onus will be on Gov. Malloy to explain why Connecticut is not heading in the right direction.

Ironically, back in 2011, the governor was sympathetic to a statutory option.