Advocating for workersMarch 26, 2018
As the right to collectively bargain continues to be under attack by politicians, the wealthy and the powerful in Connecticut, it is vital that we protect the right to organize and bargain for decent wages, health care and a basic retirement. These unionized workers, who make up the middle class in our state, are on the frontlines each day. They protect us, educate our children, care for our elderly, build our roads and maintain our infrastructure. Collective bargaining lifts up our workers by ensuring they are paid fair wages, working in safe conditions, and that they are given quality health insurance. It’s time to put the power back into their hands.
Fighting for the right to organize and collectively bargain
For four decades after the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, Connecticut did not negotiate with its employees on issues ranging from working conditions and wages to pensions and health care. Salaries fluctuated from year-to-year and from bargaining unit to bargaining unit. Health care was minimal, when provided at all. And without a collectively bargained agreement, the state was under no contractual obligation to save for pensions promised to workers. To address this, Edward Daly, a Vernon resident and current president of the CSEA SEIU Local 2001 Retiree Council, joined other workers to form the Connecticut State Employees Association. In 1975, they were able to pass legislation through the General Assembly that granted public employees the formal right to organize and bargain with the state, in return for a commitment never to strike. The first negotiated state employee contract followed in 1978.
Providing a living wage for personal care attendants
State Rep. Mike D’Agostino led House passage of a historic contract amendment that will raise wages, provide workers’ compensation and increase funding for training and orientation programs for approximately 8,500 personal care attendants. This will help give homecare workers the financial security they need to provide for their families without living paycheck to paycheck.
Increasing the financial security of homecare workers
The state’s personal care attendants take care of our elderly and our disabled, helping them with everyday tasks such as grooming, dressing, grocery shopping and transportation. It’s time for us to take care of them. By raising their wages and providing workers’ compensation and overtime, we can ensure they have the resources needed to provide for their families.
Defending the right to collectively bargain
“Understand that what is happening in the Supreme Court today is a battle in a much larger war. We live in a time right now when there is more concentrated wealth and power in the hands of a few individuals and corporations than ever before. The only institutional check left on that power is organized labor. It is no surprise that those with that concentrated wealth and power want to do everything they can to undermine the only check left on it," said state Rep. Mike D'Agostino, D-Hamden,
Putting Connecticut on the path to financial stability
In July 2017, the legislature took a significant step toward solving Connecticut’s fiscal crisis by securing a crucial piece of the budget puzzle – ratifying a concessions deal with the state workforce. The agreement is expected to save taxpayers $1.5 billion over the next two years and $24 billion over the next 20 years. This historic deal will help put Connecticut on the path to financial stability.