House approves new labor deal with bonuses for state workers

Hartford, Conn. ( Associated Press) — A multi-year labor agreement recently approved by 43,000 unionized Connecticut state workers cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday, with Democrats and Republicans over whether the deal is too costly for taxpayers. Or ultimately saves the state. Stabilizes a projected tsunami of money and retirement.

The four-year deal, which is retroactive from July 1, 2021, is based on an agreement the state made in 2017 with the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition. It comes when the rate of inflation has gone up US wages rise to 40-year high Over the past year, it has been giving workers the upper hand in the job market.

“We’re bleeding workers right now. We’re losing them in the private sector: nursing, IT, finance, engineering. We also have a number who are retiring,” said Representative Mike D’Agostino, D-Hamden. said. “That’s the context we find now and we have to recognize why this deal is a good fit for the time that we are.”

The bill passed by a vote of 96 to 52. Democrats were united in approving the deal on Thursday, while Representative Tom Delnicki of South Windsor, a Republican, opposed the legislation. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats.

The 35 labor contracts ratified by various unions last month include a 2.5% normal wage increase and a phase increase retroactive to July 1, 2021. Workers will also receive an additional 2.5% normal wage increase and a phase increase from July 1 and July. 1, 2023. State and union officials are expected to meet again in the fourth year to negotiate wages.

“My concern is its stability over the long term,” said Rep. Mike France, R-Ledyard, noting how there are “some unknowns” with the labor agreement, including how much it will raise state pension costs. and how in the fourth year very high wages can be spent.

The agreement also includes a special one-time payment of $2,500 for active employees who have been on the job since March 31 and $1,000 for those employed until July 15, 2022. There is a pro-rated bonus for part-time employees. Some Republicans in the House expressed concern about bonuses, noting how state workers can still retire after receiving bonuses.

D’Agostino, who noted how state employees had not received pay increases in six of the past 11 years, said the bonuses would save the state more money in wages, noting that an intermediary would give them a 3% increase. will provide, which will be built-in. in their salary.

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