Union leaders upset over state employee layoffs


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Today, another wave of state employees lost their jobs, and the governor made even more cuts. Malloy says 2,500 state workers will be laid off and those unions are furious.

As state lawmakers are trying to balance the budget and recover more than $200 million in cost overruns, the layoffs notices are going out. They are both union, and nonunion, full-time, part-time, and temporary.

We sat down with some of those state union leaders to get their side of the story.

Q: What’s it been like for your membership?

President Glenn Terieki, Police & Fire Union:
“We had two firefighters that worked at Connecticut Valley Hospital for the past couple of decades. One is 11 months away from retirement, the other one is two years away from retirement. They both have layoff notices. Got them yesterday. They were handed the notices and walked out the door. At the moment, they don’t get a pension.”

President Charles DellaRocco, AFSCME:
“Actually I have a woman who is eight months pregnant and she fears that she is on the list to be laid off. Which she is right, she is very low so if you can just imagine that poor woman she is having to go through the stress and stuff of not knowing and there is the scary part of this whole thing, we have firemen that are losing their spots, and the same thing with police, probation officers. It’s very scary out there. We are worried, not only for the citizens of Connecticut, but also for members.

Q: What do you think the greatest risk will be to the public?

President Carmen Roda, Judicial Employees Union:
“There are 44,000 people out there on probation and there’s about 700 probation officers. And if we lose 100 probation officers, now our caseloads are going to increase. We can’t get out into the community and have the quality of contact with our offenders, it puts the public at risk. These are individuals who make mistakes and may be dangerous that are going to be out in the community unsupervised.”

Q: Are they saving money?

President Carmen Roda, Judicial Employees Union:
“On a piece of paper, yes it saves money. When you have $1 million on a piece of paper and over here you need to take my $1 million, yes, you’re absolutely correct. But you’re not factoring in all the other stuff that is down the list.”

President Glenn Terieki, Police & Fire Union:
“No one likes overtime costs because they feel it drives up state employee salaries and drives up employees pension. The problem is if you don’t hire and you don’t staff and you layoff on top of that, this overtime cost is going to get out of control. The members right now, they don’t want the overtime. They don’t want to work the extra shifts. They want to have a life outside of work.”

President Carmen Roda, Judicial Employees Union:
“Our members look at us and said, look we bargain in good faith and they asked us for concessions, we gave, we signed a contract. But that is like a paper angel, it doesn’t mean anything. They keep continuously coming back.”

President Glenn Terieki, Police & Fire Union:
“After the 2011 contract was signed, Governor Malloy came out and said the signing of this agreement will save this date $20.5 billion over the next 20 years. Here we are four or five years later in a $900 million deficit. And yet he comes back to us and wants us to open up the same agreement he thought was going to save us all this money? I don’t see it happening.”

President Charles DellaRocco, AFSCME:
“You know if your dad and mom and you go to dad for the money, you always go to dad. Dad, can I have five bucks. Dad, can I have five bucks. When dad says no you’re not going to mom, right? And this is our problem. We are sitting here saying quit coming to us. We don’t have it, it’s not going to work.”

The union leaders say the membership wants them to hold their ground on this. Two of the three union leaders lost their jobs during the last round of layoffs and got their jobs back, but they say this time, they don’t think people will be getting rehired.

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