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Council 4 Members Fight Back to Protect Collective Bargaining in Connecticut

By Larry Dorman, Council 4 ·
Council 4 Members Fight Back to Protect Collective Bargaining in Connecticut
Local 269 Vice President Marsha Tulloch is interviewed by WFSB (CBS) Reporter Susan Raff at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn., during Council 4’s Lobby Day.

Connecticut’s 2017 legislative session adjourned at midnight June 7 just as it began on Jan. 4 – with a full-frontal effort by leaders to strip municipal and state employees of their bargaining rights, just as states like Wisconsin, Kansas and Indiana have done.

AFSCME Council 4 members raised their voices in collective opposition to block anti-union legislators from using a projected $5 billion budget deficit over the next two years to silence the voices of working families.

“Throughout the legislative session, House and Senate Republicans continued their efforts to disrespect and diminish middle class public workers who make our communities better every day,” said Salvatore Luciano, AFSCME Council 4 executive director and an International vice president.

“These cynical political attacks took direct aim on the livelihoods of everyone from correctional officers and para-educators to child abuse investigators and plow drivers,” he said. “Our members pushed back to stop these assaults, and I could not be prouder of their efforts.”

Through public hearing testimony, emails, robocalls, phone banks, social media advocacy, rallies and old-fashioned grass-roots lobbying at the Connecticut State Capitol and in legislators’ districts, Council 4 and other AFL-CIO unions coordinated their sustained opposition to more than 100 destructive bills and amendments.

Council 4 members were among the thousands of public employees who participated in a raucous rally March 24 to protest anti-labor bills at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn.

Photos by Larry Dorman

Those included these bills, which would’ve:

  • Given legislators sweeping power to kill binding arbitration awards and agreements (SB 158);
  • Destroyed retirement security by forcing new state employees into 401(k) savings plans (HB 5695);
  • Barred state and municipal employees from negotiating their retirement and health care benefits (HB 5552);
  • Excluded overtime from state and municipal employee pension calculations (SB 149).

Right-wing legislators ignored the root causes of Connecticut’s economic crisis and used the situation to attack the collective bargaining rights of the hard-working women and men in Connecticut’s workforce.

Local 269 Vice President Marsha Tulloch, an unemployment adjudications specialist for the Department of Labor and member of Council 4’s executive board, was among the many AFSCME members who made her presence felt throughout the legislative session.

“We cannot continue to be legislators’ only solution to resolving the state budget deficit,” she said. “We’ve been resolute in letting elected officials and the public know that when you undermine public workers, entire communities suffer. We’re not going to quit on ourselves or the communities we serve. We will keep fighting.”

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