Labor Supports HB 5270 to Protect the Rights of Public Workers

The Connecticut AFL-CIO, Connecticut Education Association, AFSCME Council 4, AFT Connecticut, Connecticut Employees Union Independent, CSU-AAUP, Congress of CT Community Colleges made the following statements in support of HB 5270: An Act Concerning the Right of a Public to Join or Support a Union:

Patty O’Neill, President of CSU-AAUP:

“As the American middle class continues to shrink and families struggle to make ends meet, the freedom of America’s workers to join a union must be defended. Research shows that union members’ average yearly income is about 16 percent higher than that of nonunion workers. Higher union wages benefit everyone because higher wages mean less reliance on the public safety net and more revenue coming into state coffers to contribute to public goods. Failing to protect workers’ rights to unionize is tantamount to failing to protect the American Dream.”

Sal Luciano President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:

“Unions raise wages and labor standards across the economy, improving the lives of all working people – including both union and nonunion workers. Unions, through collective bargaining, provide workers with a voice on the job and the freedom to make a decent living, support their families and have a secure, dignified retirement. That means, teachers negotiate smaller class sizes, nurses bargain safer nurse-patient staffing ratios, and first responders are able to negotiate improved health and safety protocols. This legislation would protect basic rights for our public service workers so they may continue to negotiate together for not only fair wages and benefits, but for the communities in which they serve.”

Jeff Leake, President of the Connecticut Education Association:

“Teachers must have the right to stand up and speak out for their students. That right allows teachers to advocate for laws and policies that create strong schools for students and even stronger communities that benefit all of us. The collective voice of teachers allows them to demand tools and resources our students need to succeed in school and in life and the pay, benefits, and professional resources needed to ensure every student is surrounded by caring, qualified, and dedicated professionals who can help them become productive global citizens.”

Jody Barr, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 4:

“In light of the 2018 Janus Supreme Court case, these pieces of legislation would establish an understandable labor-management partnership that allows employees to make an informed choice about union membership while protecting their rights and freedoms to enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining.”

Jan Hochadel, President of AFT Connecticut:

“The so-called ‘Right to Work’ experiment pushed by the plaintiffs in the Janus lawsuit should concern all of us. The results in other states have been negative for their working families and economies — and Connecticut lawmakers would be wise to heed its lessons for our residents.

“Workers’ pay dropped over three percent on average in states after passing restrictive Right to Work laws. This is particularly troubling considering the era of unprecedented income inequality in which we are now living.

“By passing this piece of legislation, the Connecticut General Assembly would take a proactive step in limiting our exposure to the negative consequences for a significant portion of our workforce.”

Carl Chisem, President of the Connecticut Employees Union Independent, CEUI – SEIU Local 511:

“In response to the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision that overturned decades of well-established law and practices relating to the right of a union to receive certain dues and fee payments from public-sector employees, this bill protects a public employee’s right to decide to join or support a union. It clarifies existing labor law to ensure that unions and public employers continue to work together to provide vital services to the residents of Connecticut. Most importantly, this bill provides protection from employers that seek to coerce and intimidate an employee to surrender their right to join or support a union.”

Maureen Chalmers, President of the Congress of CT Community Colleges (4Cs), SEIU 1973:

“In an environment where the federal government is not supporting the rights of workers, it is important for our state to step in and protect these rights.”

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