After reaching a deal with the governor earlier this month, leaders of the 13 unions in the state employee coalition have voted to recommend a package of concessions. Now, as WNPR's Anna Sale reports, they need to get the votes of rank and file workers.
The concession package requires the approval of union members. And holding those votes is no small task. The state employee union coalition, known as SEBAC, includes nearly 50,000 members across 28 union locals.
Larry Dorman is a spokesman for SEBAC.
"We're going to work very hard over the next two to three weeks to bring this to all of our members, and to schedule ratification votes."
Governor Jodi Rell sought the concessions to help close the state's massive budget deficit. The package would save $637 million over the next two fiscal years.
According to a summary on a SEBAC website, the package includes wage freezes, furlough days, and higher insurance premiums. There's also an early retirement incentive for workers 55 or older who have at least 10 years of service.
In exchange for these givebacks, union workers will get job security. That means even if the state eliminates positions because of restructuring, union employees will be transferred to comparable jobs.
These job protections, though, only apply to the locals that agree to incorporate concessions into their individual contracts.
SEBAC says most locals have negotiated such modifications. Dorman wouldn't elaborate on whether some are holding out for changes.
"At this point, I'm not going to get into the specifics, but the bottom line is that SEBAC leadership has reached a tentative agreement."
If union members approve the concession package, the General Assembly will still need to approve the deal.