Connecticut unions pressure Malloy over fall bonuses
By David Godow
The seemingly never-ending feud between Governor Dan Malloy and Connecticut's public employee unions entered a new stage this week, with unions complaining that the state government was breaking the August deal that saw cuts in union compensation. According to union representatives, the state is unfairly paying out biannual longevity bonuses to non-union employees while leaving their union counterparts out in the cold.
According to the terms of the agreement, union workers agreed to give up their longevity bonuses this year, which state employees receive every April and October after 10 years on the job. They will forgo this month's payments, and will have to give back the bonuses given this April. Spring bonus payments totaled $20.2 million, with $13.2 million of that going to union members. However, it now appears that not all state employees will share the pain; according to unions, the state will still make October bonuses to non-union employees.
Being left out in the cold hasn't sat well with union workers, who have threatened the Malloy administration with a formal grievance. Linda Yelmini, head of the state's labor relations division, countered that killing payments for non-union workers would expose the state to potential lawsuits. Given that the state government has not renegotiated contracts with non-union employees in the same way they were able to with unions, cutting payments could be interpreted as a breach of contract.
It's unclear what the next step will be, as the offending payments have not yet actually been made, but a grievance could further unravel the weakened relationship Democratic Governor Malloy has with his union constituents.
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