For Immediate Release: 2/23/2016
Contact: Zachary Janowski
Mobile: (860) 384-5777
Email: Zach@YankeeInstitute.org

Yankee Institute Applauds Lawmakers Who Voted Against Excessive UConn Raises
General Assembly Should Vote Before Contract Guarantees 4.5 Percent Raise in 2021

Feb. 23 –The appropriations committee held an important vote today on the first of many state employee union contracts that will come before the General Assembly this year.

In a tie vote, senators on the committee expressed their disapproval for the fiscally out-of-touch agreement.

Voting separately, House members of the committee approved the contract, but there was bipartisan opposition.

The contract applies to non-teaching positions at the University of Connecticut. According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the agreement would lead to raises of 3 percent in the first year followed by four years of 4.5 percent increases.

Meanwhile, the same UConn board of trustees that voted to approve this contract also approved a plan to increase tuition by 31 percent over the next four years.

“Today, leading members of the appropriations committee took an important step toward restoring fairness in Connecticut,” said Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute. “Votes against this lavish contract show that some lawmakers are ready to move in a more responsible fiscal direction.”

“These contracts represent hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending,” Liebau said. “They deserve to be fully vetted on the floor of the House and Senate.”

While only Democrats voted in favor of the contracts, some Democrats joined Republicans to oppose them.

The senate votes against the contract were: Chapin, Formica, Hartley, Kane, Kissel and Markley.

In the house the votes against were: Ziobron, Aman, Belsito, Bolinsky, Case, Ferraro, France, Kokoruda, Lavielle, McCarthy Vahey, McCarty, McCrory, McGorty, Miner, Mulligan, O’Neill, Tweedie, Wilms and Zawistowski.

“Sen. Winfield, who works for a different state-employee union, risks creating the appearance of a conflict of interest by voting on this kind of resolution,” Liebau said. “Instead of moving to approve this resolution, Sen. Winfield should have recused himself.”

Sen. Winfield’s primary employment is with the American Association of University Professors. While AAUP members don’t directly benefit from other union wage contracts, unions use other agreements to establish patterns for future compensation.

The employees covered by this contract receive the benefits negotiated under the SEBAC agreements. Those benefits are vastly more expensive than benefits received by workers in the private sector who have similar qualifications. These include:

  • Healthcare benefits costing 35 percent more than employees in the private sector;
  • Pensions that are five times, or 500 percent, more expensive than the retirement benefits of employees in the private sector;
  • Retiree healthcare benefits that are 33 times, or 3,300 percent more expensive than similar benefits for non-government workers.

Last year, a Yankee Institute study found that state employees earn at least 25 percent more than non-government workers doing the same job. Since then Yankee has been a leading voice for reforming state employee pay and benefits.

The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.

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