(WTNH) — On Thursday, union leaders described the discussions as tense but respectful as both sides are in a difficult spot. The state needs the 16 unions to give back more than $700 million or they will be forced to lay off more than 4000 employees to balance the budget. The first round of layoffs are in the beginning stages and after Thursday’s announcement, the Democratic Senate President Pro tem, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) noted, the state is in a tough spot.
“If there is an agreement with the state employee unions that might avoid layoffs in exchange for concessions than these notices would be rescinded,” Looney said.
Carmen Rhoda, the President of the Local Judicial Professional Employees Union was inside the meeting on Thursday.
“We want the same things as everyone else; to support our families and to be treated fairly. Politicians can’t keep balancing the budget on the backs of state employees,” he said.
Lori Pelletier the AFL-CIO President says they have done their part in the past, and state leaders are going back to the same well too often.
“The state employees have given back $1 billion and so they have been through this before and we just need to let this play out,” she said.
Some of the union leaders say they know how this is going to play out since they have been through this before, time and time again. They lost 2,000 jobs last summer and now they’re looking at losing 4000 more jobs to layoffs. The state wants $700 million in concessions, raises, salaries and benefits. People in Connecticut say this is embarrassing.
Sharon of Glastonbury believes it’s discouraging.
“It is discouraging, a lot of taxes and not a lot of reward,” she said.
Joe of Hartford thinks someone has to do something about all of this.
“A lot of people are moving out of here. My friends are moving down to North Carolina and South Carolina, and something has to happen here. Somebody has to calm down with the taxes, somebody I mean it is brutal!”
The negotiations while are described as tense but respectful are moving forward.