East Coast Fights Budget Cuts - Tent Cities; Unions in One
State Reject Cuts; Cuts Accepted in New York by One Union;
* Tent Cities Pop Up in Trenton and New York City
* Prospects Dim For Malloy-Union Deal - Connecticut
* Governor, State Employees Reach a 'Tentative' Deal - New
Tent Cities Pop Up in Trenton and New York City
by Kyle Weidleman
June 22, 2011
While New Jersey protesters crossed the Delaware River to
fight the "Second Battle of Trenton," New York City
residents, inspired by tent cities in Madison and Cairo, set
up camp outside City Hall. Both groups are tired of elected
officials who talk of "shared sacrifice" for public worker
benefit cuts and layoffs while lowering taxes for wealthy
Demonstrators could be heard in the New Jersey State Capitol
- both from the protest outside and the visitors' gallery
inside - as the state Senate voted to revoke public workers'
collective bargaining rights. On the Capitol lawn, public
workers and their supports set up "Camp Collective
Bargaining," a tent city which included a graveyard for
workers' rights. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), a
high-ranking union member, led the charge to strip
bargaining from public workers. "These are public rights
that are written in blood," said state Senator Bob Gordon
(D) of the anti-worker bill.
While pushing anti-worker legislation, Governor Chris
Christie (R) and his legislative allies have also balked at
extending the "millionaire's income tax" surcharge. Should
the surcharge lapse, couples that make $750,000 year get a
$4,800 tax cut; while a school teacher with a $65,000 annual
salary will pay more than $4,800 in new benefit payments.
Meanwhile, AFSCME District Council 37 and their supporters
have set up camp outside New York City Hall to protest
budget cuts that include the layoff of 4,100 public workers.
As they enter the second week of protesting,
"Bloombergville" residents point to a study released by DC
37 that found $800 million in untapped NYC income, that
could be used to balance the budget, including a half-
billion dollars in unpaid taxes alone. As Bloombergville
enters its second week, campers protest and hold "general
assembly" meetings every day.
Prospects Dim For Malloy-Union Deal
by Christopher Keating
The Hartford Courant
June 22, 2011
Just hours after two major bargaining units rejected the
four-year, no-layoff deal between the Malloy administration
and the state employee unions, some officials Wednesday
already were looking ahead to what happens next should the
The rejections were a huge blow to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's
plan to close the state's budget gap with an estimated $1.6
billion in savings and concessions over two years.
The "no'' votes were cast by two sizable units:
* The 4,500-member Connecticut Employees Union Independent,
SEIU Local 511, also known as NP-2, which represents
custodians, cooks and others. CEUI is one of the 15 unions
in the state employee coalition that is voting on the
* The 3,800-member unit known as P-2, which represents human
and social service workers at the Department of Children and
Families and other agencies, also rejected the deal. P-2 is
the third largest unit of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME.
Under the highly complicated union rules, a rejection by
AFSCME - the largest union in the 45,000-member statewide
coalition, with 15,600 members - would sink the deal.
Thousands of state employees in a variety of bargaining
units will cast ballots Thursday and Friday.
"We are running behind, but we still have the 1,850 votes''
that will be cast by prison guards in AFSCME this week, said
Larry Dorman, a union spokesman.
"We work for labor unions. We're optimists,'' said Matt
O'Connor, another union spokesman.
Overall, six of the 15 SEBAC unions have voted in favor of
the deal, while one - CEUI/SEIU - has voted against it.
Some state employees Wednesday were questioning whether
there could be a re-vote, but the spokesmen said the
question could not be answered until all the votes are
But with more than two days of voting remaining, some people
at the Capitol are starting to assume that the overall deal
will be rejected by the unions.
Governor, State Employees Reach a 'Tentative' Deal
By Jacob Gershman
Wall Street Journal - Online
June 23, 2011
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that he has forged a
"tentative" five-year contract agreement with the largest
union representing state employees. Union leaders agreed to
a three-year base-salary freeze, increased health-care
contributions and several days of furlough.
The governor, who had threatened to fire thousands of
workers if some concessions weren't secured, said the deal
would save $166 million over the next two years and allow
the union employees to keep their jobs. He said he would
avoid major layoffs altogether if other unions accept the
same terms, which they are likely to do, say labor
The deal, which comes after months of tense talks between
the governor's office and labor officials, also included
significant give-backs to the Civil Service Employees
Association, which represents about 66,000 state employees,
many of them lower-level administrative staff, laborers,
court clerks and mental-health aides. Other unions have
fewer, but generally higher-paid, members.
The union preserved annual "step" increases for workers, who
get automatic annual pay hikes based on length of service.
Those raises amount to about 2% a year.
Employees would also get back-to-back 2% pay raises, in
addition to the stepped increases, in the last two years of
the contract. The union got 3% to 4% annual raises in its
Under the agreement, most workers would have to pay a few
hundred dollars more for health-care premiums and in return
the governor agreed not to slash benefits for current
workers and retirees.
CSEA also agreed to nine days of unpaid leave, four of which
would be paid back to employees after their contract expires
"This tentative contract, if adopted by the other bargaining
units, means layoffs needed to achieve needed workforce
savings would be avoided," said Mr. Cuomo in a statement.
The president of CSEA, Danny Donohue, said the agreement
"balances shared sacrifice with fairness and respect."
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