Council 4 union members who work for the Metropolitan District gathered June 14 to hold a press conference protesting recently announced layoffs of 71 employees at the Mid-CT municipal trash-to-energy plant in Hartford.
Standing in front of the plant, union leaders from AFSCME Locals 184, 1026 and 1037 said the job cuts could be among the devastating effects of a deal engineered by Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority (CRRA) to privatize Mid-Connecticut, which is Connecticut's last major publicly-owned waste-to-energy operation.
"We've proven there's no plant in the country that can beat us out in terms of productivity," said 13-year plant operator Dan Quattromani of AFSCME Local 184. "What's going on is not fair."
CRRA last December displaced MDC and entered into a five-year contract with a private company, North American Energy Services (NAES), a Japanese-owned company with little experience in the municipal waste-to-energy business.
Under the terms of the agreement between CRRA and NAES, workers are not guaranteed anything other than a chance to bid for their jobs at a similar salary. They would lose their union-negotiated health and pension benefits, not to mention their union rights.
“Our workers have not only operated Mid Connecticut safely and efficiently, they have done it with rates better than those offered by private operators," said AFSCME Local 3713 President Robert Facey. "It seems to me that privatizing this plant is not worth the negative impact on jobs, revenues and the community.”
The MDC sued CRRA late last year after it lost the Mid-CT contract. A ruling could come late this summer.
Council 4 advocated legislation to rein in CRRA's excessive powers and hold the quasi-governmental agency more accountable to the towns. Our union's campaign to stop the Mid CT takeover will continue.