SEBAC members: Re-open your agreement before an ‘event’

We — as in everyone who lives and works in our state — have a problem. We will never, ever, be able to generate enough revenue to cover the cash demanded by our unfunded union liabilities. It doesn’t make a difference how we got here. Pointing fingers and demonizing each other does nothing. It’s our fault; we are here and it is up to us to fix it.

CT’s working families will have to keep waiting for a fair workweek

On Tuesday night —ironically on May Day— Democratic Senators Joan Hartley and Gayle Slossberg voted with Senate Republicans to kill the Fair Workweek bill: SB 318 “A Bill to Stabilize Working Families by Limiting On-Call Shift Scheduling.” Coming a mere week before Connecticut’s legislature adjourns on May 9, this vote all but guarantees that families experiencing the instability that comes with “just-in-time” work scheduling practices will not see any relief.

Unions provide best solution to ending sexual harassment

Unions are one of the best ways for working women and men to end sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. That is because when working people come together in union, they negotiate a contract with just cause language, and a grievance and arbitration process for dealing with conflict with the employer. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, it has become painfully clear that management and people in positions of power have long been able to sexually harass and abuse women with little to no chance of facing any consequences. That’s why I was stunned to see a recent op-ed [Employers are the key to developing workplace harassment solutions] that suggested employers and management were key to solving the problem of sexual harassment.

HB 5473 — Bad policy and in conflict with federal labor law

Where do our rights to free speech start and end?  Specifically, where does free speech at work start and end? If one particular bill was to become law in Connecticut, the answer to that question would become much more difficult. There is a bill before the General Assembly that would restrict employers’ speech rights. It also runs afoul of federal labor law.

Safe jobs are every worker’s right

Workplace deaths and injuries that are as common as they are horrific should be the long-gone legacy of a 19th century textile mill. But they remain a terrifying reality today. Every day, 150 American workers die from on-the-job accidents and illnesses, while thousands more are injured. This is a travesty.

Employers are the key to developing workplace harassment solutions

The workplace is shifting, and it’s clear that what has been tolerated in the past will no longer be acceptable. That’s a good thing. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they feel safe, and employers must be part of the solution. As it stands now, Connecticut is a leader in creating safe workplaces. Our sexual harassment prevention training laws are some of the most stringent in the nation, and we should all be proud of that.

Connecticut can’t afford NOT to pass paid family medical leave

I am writing to counter recent arguments that Connecticut’s economic woes mean that we can’t afford to pass ‘compassionate’ bills like House Bill 5387, AN ACT CONCERNING PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE, despite strong bipartisan support inside the legislature and outside in the real world. Frankly, I am surprised by the lack of vision shown by opponents of the bill. How can we move forward and build our economy without creative solutions? The House passed HB 5386 last week by a vote of 142-4 and I would urge the Senate to move quickly to send it to the governor’s desk.

Equal Pay Day ignores some statistical truths

Equal Pay Day arrived for women this week. According to gender rights advocates, a woman must add to her 2017 income almost three and a half months of work in 2018 to make as much as a white man made in 2017. In other words, a woman in Connecticut only makes 79 percent of what a white man makes in income. Black and Latina women are even more disadvantaged. Black women make only 58 percent, and Latina women come in last at 47 percent. For some inexplicable reason black men don’t seem to be counted.

The red herring in the Fiscal Stability Commission’s impressive report

With the many and varied issues the state of Connecticut currently faces, our legislature can ill afford wasting time on any issue that will not contribute to immediate fiscal relief or long-term fiscal health.  The new report issued by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth outlines a number of critical issues that demand action, all intended to improve the state’s fiscal standing. Unfortunately, the report also includes suggested changes to collective bargaining for public employees: changes far more likely to distract from larger problems than to result in significant savings to the state.

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty — Champion of women’s rights

When Donald Trump became President, liberal Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty proudly donned the symbolic pink hat, becoming a fierce member of “The Resistance” to protest the ascent of this evil misogynist.   As the #MeToo movement  — a reaction against male sexual assault — gained steamed, she tweeted  “As a young intern and an attorney, I saw and experienced my fair share of harassment in the workplace. I know how traumatizing, isolating, and painful harassment can be. I understand what that does to one’s work environment.”

The past as prologue: Remembering why we need collective bargaining

It was revolutionary for its time. Enacted in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act gave workers in private industry the right to organize and collectively bargain. For public employees, however, there is no such federal right. Each state determines whether to allow its public employees to collectively bargain. For four decades after the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, Connecticut did not negotiate with its employees on issues ranging from working conditions and wages to pensions and health care. The results were disastrous.

Can Connecticut regain its former glory?

As the gubernatorial campaign heats up with dozens of candidates, we’re hearing plans and promises to restore Connecticut to its former glory. Yet none of the candidates so far give any evidence of careful study of our distress — nor any evidence of being familiar with the well developed field of municipal and state economics and fiscal policies. So a new governor is likely to be more of the same. Regaining our past glories will be a matter of decades.