Did you know about these Summer Bonuses you are paying for?

June 28, 2018

(Please read and share this information from my colleague, Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano.  Then, send me your comments at[email protected] – thank you!)

Every Unionized State Employee to Receive Bonuses of at Least $2,000 on July 19th

Connecticut to Spend $80 million on Bonuses Alone Under Malloy’s State Employees Contract Deal

HARTFORD – Under the state employee benefits contract negotiated by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and passed by Democrat lawmakers last year, Connecticut taxpayers will be facing a long list of new expenses beginning July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

The SEBAC deal not only extends and locks in health care and pension benefits until 2027, it also implements raises that will average 11% over two years and authorizes one-time lump sum payments of at least $2,000 to all unionized state employees.

The bonuses of $2,000 or greater will cost the state $79.5 million and are scheduled to be distributed in state employees’ July 19th paychecks.

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) criticized the nearly $80 million expense as one of the many reasons Republicans voted against the SEBAC deal last year.

“At a time when the state should be prioritizing funds to help the most vulnerable, we are locked in to spending tens of millions of dollars on raises and bonuses for every single unionized state employee,” said Sen. Fasano. “Under the SEBAC deal, wage increases were pushed out to make the deal appear to save the state more money. The reality is the state simply kicked the can down the road. Now the time has come for taxpayers to pay the bill. It’s not right at a time when we see other important programs we would like to fund falling to the wayside. It’s a slap in the face to unionized employees in the private sector and local government, including teachers, police officers, firefighters, and tradespeople who suffer because the state has less to invest in our local communities and less support for municipal projects that create jobs. It’s not fair to students at our colleges who will have to pay higher tuition in future years as a direct result of these new costs. Our state workers deserve the best benefits; but when these benefits exceed all other states tenfold, when other unionized employees or the most vulnerable suffer as a result, we clearly have a problem.”

Under the SEBAC deal, all unionized employees will receive bonus payments of at least $2,000 on July 19. Some employees will receive even larger bonuses. The contract reads: “There shall be a $2,000 one-time payment to all employees, or top step lump sum plus $1,000 if greater” (SEBAC Attachment F). For those employees at the top step, bonuses could be as much as $2,850.

In addition, the SEBAC deal guarantees raises of 11 percent on average over the next two years for every unionized state employee. This is a combination of 3.5 percent annual raises plus step increases and annual increments, which total on average 11 percent over the next two years.

The SEBAC deal also locks in all health care and pension benefits until 2027, blocks all layoffs until 2021, continues longevity payments and step increases, continues allowing overtime to be counted in pension calculations, prohibits moving many services to nonprofit providers which can provide higher quality services at reduced costs, and eliminates opportunities to streamline state government by consolidating administrative functions.

The deal also continues to perpetuate and in some cases increase inequities in the current benefits system favoring certain state employees. For example, the deal allows the state to spend significantly more on those employees with the highest wages by continuing to go above and beyond federal law to cover Medicare Part B higher premium costs for high earning state employees. The deal also asks more of non-hazardous-duty state employees, while allowing hazardous-duty employees to pay less in health care premium costs even though they retire at a younger age and receive benefits for a longer period of time. The deal also extends increased costs onto non-unionized employees but offers them no job security protections and continues to require non-union state employees to pay more for health care premiums.

Every Republican lawmaker in the General Assembly voted against this SEBAC deal negotiated by Governor Malloy.