We demand that the state of Connecticut respect our unions and the rights of both public and private sector workers
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has promised to go full steam ahead with thousands of layoffs after state unionized employees rejected a $1.6 billion concessions contract negotiated by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC).
Malloy has shown a consistent disregard for the welfare of state employees and the citizens of Connecticut. His budget dealings have been marked by shifting numbers and contradictory information, including widely varying estimates of threatened layoffs and revelations of a budget surplus which calls into question the depth of the economic crisis.
While the governor’s calculations are murky, many things are clear:
• Connecticut spends relatively little on state government. State and local government in Connecticut has not grown as a share of the economy since 1970. Taking into account the size of its economy, Connecticut's state and local government is the 5th smallest in the country. (Source: Connecticut Voices for Children, “Reality Check: Connecticut's Public Revenues and Spending Have Remained Lean and Stable for Decades,” February 2011.)
• Layoffs will compromise vital services and undermine the state’s economic recovery. Economists now estimate that state layoffs will result in an additional 3,000 jobs lost in the private sector. (Source: “Economists Say if State Workers are Laid Off, the Ripple Effect is Likely to Be Harsh,” The Day, June 25, 2011.
• Layoffs are unnecessary. Connecticut’s budget shortfall can be eliminated by addressing inequities in the state’s tax structure which places the highest tax burden on the middle and working classes while allowing the super-rich to contribute at the lowest rate. (Source: Connecticut Voices for Children, “Reality Check: Connecticut's Public Revenues and Spending Have Remained Lean and Stable for Decades,” February 2011.)
Connecticut is not alone in facing these problems. Economic disparity in the United States is on the rise and over a trillion dollars wasted on war spending has compromised the nation’s ability to provide social services, education, and medical care for its citizens. It is time to bring the troops and the war dollars home.
We do not have to accept layoffs or concessions. In Greece, England, the Middle East, and Wisconsin, people have taken to the street to demand justice. State employees may comprise a small number of Connecticut workers, but we have allies among those who are disproportionally affected by government cutbacks—African-American and Latino communities, students, immigrant workers, those facing foreclosure or homelessness, the unemployed, and the rest of the working class. Together, we are the vast majority and we must demand decent jobs, universal health care, and security in retirement for all!
We realize that in the course of our struggle we may be forced to accept concessions. Nevertheless, we must begin our fight from a position of strength and reject choosing among the poisons of concessions, cutbacks, or layoffs. By mobilizing in the streets, we will exercise our power, and make real the slogan:
An injury to one is an injury to all!
(Initiated by Profs4Progress, Central CT State University)