March 17, 2016
By Steven Wishnia
Hartford, Conn – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration is planning massive layoffs of state workers in the coming year. State budget director Benjamin Barnes told reporters that the governor’s budget for fiscal 2017 will eliminate "several thousand" state jobs to reduce a deficit projected at more than $900 million.
On March 8, state labor official Lisa Grasso Egan warned seven unions that represent 35,000 state workers that plans to reduce state services “may include reductions in force.” “Everybody is in the crosshairs,” said Rudy Demiraj, president of AFSCME Local 387, which anticipates that about 600 of the 5,000 union workers in the Correction Department will lose their jobs. State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said Mar. 11 that the layoffs could be averted if unions would agree to lower pension and health benefits. A spokesperson for Malloy said he would “welcome” such concessions, but “unless we want to raise taxes, reducing the size of state government is a difficult but necessary part of living within our means.” The unions, who agreed to $1.6 billion in concessions in 2011, don’t want to make any more. “It's time to stop with the false assumption that working people are the only ones who should step up to protect and preserve our quality of life," said American Federation of Teachers Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. "All working families contribute taxes at nearly twice the rate that that millionaires and billionaires do to fund vital services. Read more