Monday, May 16, 2011

I Guess No One Will Be Getting Pink Slipped

About a week ago, I wrote about the tense labor negotiations going on between the 13 labor unions and the governor's office as it applies to the current $3 billion dollar deficit that the state is facing. In the comment section of the post, I promised to update everyone should anything change.

Things changed.

Last Friday (May 13th), negotiations came to successful conclusion as an agreement worth $1.6 billion dollars in concessions was reached. I don't know all the details that I will be voting on in the next couple of weeks, but the basic outline (courtesy of the Hartford Courant) is as follows:

1} The state agreed to a 4 year no layoff agreement that covers through 2014 (the current one was set to expire June 30th, 2011). In exchange, the union agreed to a 2 year hard wage freeze for all employees and managers. This includes yearly raises, yearly cost of living increases, no bonus for being at the top of your salary grade and no semi-annual longevity payments (this last one would save the state about $20 million per year).

2} After those two years, three percent increases starting each July 1st for 2013 thru 2015.

3} Increasing the retirement age for those who retire after 2017 by three years, for all three current retirement plans. There is still a tentative proposal from 2009 in which employees can retire only if their total years of service and age adds up to more than 75. A rumor has it bumping up to 90.

4} There is an agreement with the collective bargaining group called SEBAC (comprised of all 13 state bargaining units) that is set to be reopened on 2017, but this will be extended by five years and there will be some changes made (this agreement covers things like health insurance benefits, and one of the proposals being batted around was to convert our expensive health benefits to something along the lines of what Federal employees pay).

5} Previously, those employees who were in hazardous duty positions (like correctional officers) could retire after 20 years of service. Now if you want to retire, you have to work an additional five years. Great if you're less than fifteen years in, terrible if you're sitting with two years or less.

There are other provisos that were being bandied about, like 12 furlough days and extending the 3% percent contribution to all employees, but those apparently never came to fruition. I will say that even though layoffs won't occur through the traditional sense of the word, they will occur. Although the proper buzz word is "attrition". In other words, if a person retires/terminates/quits/gets merged out of existence, their position will vanish.

I won't say that my work life is peaches and cream right now, but the stress level has dropped considerably. It remains to be seen whether or not the stress level stays where its at or if it increases again because this agreement doesn't get ratified by the rank and file.

Update (5/17): The summary of the agreement that was reached on the 13th can be found here (for how long I do not know, so click it while you can), and most of the points in this post can be confirmed, plus a few others I did not know about.


  1. It's nice to see that the State made some forward progress with this, at least in some way, shape or form. I'm sure the potential lay-off employees are relieved to keep their jobs. It must've been distracting though, to say the least.

  2. That all sounds very complicated. :) I'm glad it worked out.

  3. Joanne: Some progress yes, but it should be interesting to see what the details are.

    If anything, it already sounds complicated. I heard from my boss that each bargaining unit is handling it in their own particular way, and not only that, if more than one bargaining unit torpedoes it, then the governor is going to plan "B", which is layoffs, etc.

    Lynn: So far, I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this.

  4. Keeping my fingers crossed for you, G!

  5. Mama Z: Thanks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for me as well.

  6. Fingers crossed that things continue to move in your direction, G.

  7. David: I'm sincerely hoping so. The budget takes effect on July 1st, with or without the union's approval.

    The "without" is what I want to avoid.

  8. Less stress - amen to that! I found out stress has even been affecting my gums (leave it to me to go to the dentist on Friday the 13th.) So more peaches, hopefully.

  9. the good and bad of unions and government woprk rolled up in a nutshell. good luck to you

  10. R: Definitely less stress, although after reading the summary of the agreement (was posted today on the Hartford Courant website and eventually on the Union website, I may be whistling a different tune after I read it.

    Interesting how stress affects us in the most peculiar ways.

    Darth: Basically. Thanks.

  11. Well, that's an improvement, of sorts. I feel sad for people who were counting the days until they could retire and suddenly the goalpost got moved. That must be a bitter pill to swallow.

  12. S.R.: To a degree it is. What remains to be seen are the details. I've seen the basic outline and even an outline summary, but the details are what's gonna do it for me.

  13. Yep, could be way worse! But does sound like most of the perks for doing state work are beng taken away.
    At least you'll have the job- hopefully you can pay the new Healthcare without the raise.
    I don't have any of those guarantees

  14. Snaggle: I wouldn't really call them perks, per say, but they are proposing a few radical changes to our health care, like mail order perscriptions and disease management programs.

    Yeah, I still got a job, but whose to say how long it will last.


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