Local 355 Administrative Clerical Employees

Rell Attacks State Employee Pensions

Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano, middle, at a recent meeting of the Post Employment Benefits Commission.

Leaders of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) today described Governor M. Jodi Rell’s announced proposals for reducing unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities as political grandstanding at its most cynical.

Said Council 4 AFSCME Executive Director Sal Luciano, who sits on the State Post-Employment Benefits Commission, “From the beginning, I had concerns that Governor Rell would mislead the public, and she’s done exactly that. By failing to differentiate between State employee pension tiers, and failing to address the OPEB liability that Executive Order 38 was supposed to address, she turned what could have been a constructive policy recommendation into a cynical political document.”

Added Luciano, “Governor Rell is not interested in helping the middle class face the real retirement crisis affecting most Connecticut workers. She has just offered up empty rhetoric before her commission has even taken a vote on final recommendations.”

Governor Rell is already on track to leave behind her a legacy of economic devastation, home foreclosures and terrible human suffering. To distract from the fact that neither she nor her hoped for successor have any realistic plan or program to solve the real problems of the middle class, she has now put forward a series of proposals which both break her binding promise to 45,000 working families, and would not create a single job or help a single community. If adopted, they would only further delay our economic recovery.

Said CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 Executive Director Robert Rinker, “Governor Rell has shown that she’d rather play politics than put forward real solutions for Connecticut middle class families. But she has also shown that she’s not interested in dealing with the state pension and retiree healthcare plans’ unfunded liabilities. If she were, the governor would have recommended using some of last year’s budget surplus to reverse recent pension fund deferrals to the unfunded liability. Instead, she called for cancelling bonding in the current year’s budget, which produces far less bang for the taxpayers’ buck.”

Added Rinker, “The governor’s representatives who negotiated a nearly $1 billion cost savings agreement last year didn’t put forward changes like she has presented here; they couldn’t with a straight face. Instead, she waited until an election year in order to offer up talking points for Tom Foley’s campaign for governor.”

The coalition’s leaders look forward to working with a new administration in an honest and concerted effort to help solve the real problems that confront the people of the state. Working together, elected leaders, business leaders of good faith, and Connecticut’s middle class both in the public and the private sectors, can help build a future where every family has a chance for a decent job, with decent benefits, and a safe and dignified retirement.

Council 4 and CSEA are two of the thirteen unions in the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which serves to unite approximately 45,000 Connecticut State Employees to address issues of common concern. To learn more about the coalition’s campaign for a fair budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.

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