Mal­loy read­ies lay­off no­tices

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris­tine Stu­art CT­

HARTFORD >> Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy said he’s not us­ing the threat of lay­offs as “lever­age” to get the state em­ployee unions to agree to $1.56 bil­lion in con­ces­sions over the next two years, but un­der the law he has to start giv­ing em­ploy­ees no­tices.

“These are le­gal re­quire­ments in con­tracts with re­spect to giv­ing no­tice,” Mal­loy said Thurs­day dur­ing a Capi­tol press con­fer­ence.

The Mal­loy ad­min­is­tra­tion said it will re­duce the state work­force by over 1,100 em­ploy­ees in May “as a first step to­ward re­solv­ing the bud­get short­fall.” In ad­di­tion to those filled po­si­tions, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said it will al­low an­other 120 va­cant po­si­tions that were sched­uled to be filled to re­main va­cant.

The im­pacted em­ploy­ees will in­clude non-union em­ploy­ees as well as mem­bers of var­i­ous bar­gain­ing units, ac­cord­ing to Mal­loy’s press re­lease.

The lay­offs are ex­pected to save about $80 mil­lion.

When he re­leased his bud­get in Fe­bru­ary, Mal­loy said 4,200 state em­ploy­ees would need to be elim­i­nated in or­der to achieve the $700 mil­lion in la­bor sav­ings in fis­cal year 2018.

The Mal­loy ad­min­is­tra­tion and chief ne­go­tia­tors for the State Em­ploy­ees Bar­gain­ing Agent Coali­tion have been in­for­mally talk­ing since last Novem­ber but have been un­able to reach a con­sen­sus. The two sides met as re­cently as last Tues­day.

A state­ment that was pub­lished on all bar­gain­ing group web­sites ac­knowl­edges the no­tice re­quire­ment, but doesn’t be­lieve it’s a nec­es­sary step.

“Lay­offs and ser­vice cuts threaten pub­lic health and safety, our chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, and our state’s fu­ture,” a state­ment on the Amer­i­can Fed­eral, State, Mu­nic­i­pal and County Em­ploy­ees Coun­cil 4 web­site says. “They will hurt our econ­omy and lead to even more fis­cal crises. Con­necti­cut needs a bal­anced ap­proach to re­solve our bud­get deficit that isn’t en­tirely de­pen­dent on dam­ag­ing state ser­vices to meet that goal.”

It goes onto say that over the past eight years, Con­necti­cut state em­ploy­ees have given back over $1 bil­lion an­nu­ally through their 2009 and 2011 con­ces­sion agree­ments and the state work­force is now “the small­est it’s been since 1960.”

Mal­loy said the de­ci­sion to de­velop a con­tin­gency plan is not a state­ment on how ne­go­ti­a­tions are go­ing with the unions.

“We have le­gal re­quire­ments with re­spect to the giv­ing of no­tice,” Mal­loy said. “I re­main hope­ful that we’ll reach an agree­ment.”

He said they didn’t “jump the gun” on giv­ing those no­tices be­cause they didn’t want to be seen as try­ing to in­flu­ence ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“We left it to the lat­est pos­si­ble date we could,” Mal­loy said. “I’m hope­ful those lay­offs will ul­ti­mately not be re­quired.”

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