Connecticut’s public sector unions rejected a deal late Friday to cut $1.6 billion from the state’s budget, opening the door for thousands of layoffs of state employees — and upsetting a delicate budget balance.The results of the union vote came as a surprise rebuke to state and union leaders, who had negotiated a concessions package that would not result in any layoffs for four years in return for a two-year wage freeze. Now Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy says the state will begin laying off over 7,500 employees.
“I’m sure they will be devastating to the state’s economy,” Malloy said of the layoffs. “That’s why I fought so robustly to avoid them.”
Donald Williams, the president pro tem of the State Senate said he couldn’t understand why the unions would vote down the deal.
“The failure to ratify by state employees does more harm to them and the cause of labour than anything their enemies could possibly achieve,” he said in a letter to colleagues announcing an emergency session to close the gap.
Despite over 60 per cent of state workers approving the deal, Connecticut’s collective bargaining rules require 14 of 15 of the public sector unions. Two state unions, including its largest, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, opposed the deal, believing the Governor would offer them a better package if they rejected it.
Malloy said Friday he would under no circumstances renegotiate with the unions, saying the state will send out layoff notices to affected workers immediately.
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