Labor Policy & Transparency
Workers Deserve Transparency
Connecticut’s public employees deserve to know how their hard-earned money is being spent by their unions. This is a right that private sector union workers already enjoy.
But right now government workers don’t have that right. State law says that government union reports should not be available to the public and that they should only be accessible to union members at their union hall. They can also be less detailed than the reports that private sector unions are required to submit.
In addition, the Connecticut Labor Commissioner can destroy these reports after only two years.
Connecticut’s public employees deserve the same rights as private sector workers. They deserve the same type of detailed financial reports that private sector unions file, which are publicly available and preserved.
A simple fix would be to amend Connecticut law to allow government unions to file reports that conform to federal labor law standards, and to make those reports publicly available as well.
Yankee Institute’s Newest Study: Above the Law
Connecticut has so many advantages — including an educated population, a prime location midway between Manhattan and Boston, and a quality of life that’s hard to beat. Why, then, is the Constitution State mired in debt, and shedding both residents and jobs? The primary reason: Outsized power wielded by government unions.
Government unions’ dominance in Hartford has led to a two-tiered system of laws — one that unfairly advantages government unions at the expense of ordinary citizens, and erodes the legitimate power of elected lawmakers.
As a result, Connecticut suffers from a litany of ills including high taxes; high debt; the worst pension liabilities in the nation; the highest differential between private and public sector pay; and the slowest job growth in the nation.
This report details the laws and practices that have created this disparity between government unions and the rest of us. It also compares Connecticut to our neighboring states – and the comparison is not a flattering one. Even in a union-friendly region, Connecticut is an outlier in how much power it cedes to its government unions.
We hope this paper serves as a blueprint for the changes that Connecticut needs to make to get back on track. These common sense reforms can help Connecticut realize its potential once again, with thriving residents and a flourishing state economy.
Yankee Institute Labor Policy Papers and Briefs
Can Connecticut’s State Employee Retirement System be sustained?
Find out how millions in taxpayer dollars are being used to fund union activity
Connecticut workers earn up to 40 percent more than their private-sector counterparts.
Last week Pelletier decided to lash out against the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth with an op-ed in the Hartford Business Journal and some quotes in a CT Mirror story. According to her, the commission “attacks working people” because it is daring to discuss Connecticut’s financial problems and — gasp! — look at charts and graphs.
The Fitch Files: Connecticut woodworking company becomes victim of national pension crisis, gets sued out of existence
Mark originally wanted a union shop so that J-Con Inc. could do business in neighboring New York and Rhode Island. He contributed toward his employees’ pension fund with the carpenters union, along with health benefits and good pay.
Little did he know that this would ultimately destroy his business.
The number of retired state employees receiving six figure pensions jumped by at least 30 percent since 2016 and more than 1,000 percent since 2010.
According to a report by the Hartford Courant, there are now “nearly 1,400” retirees who received more than $100,000 in pension payments over the course of 2017.
Commission hears testimony on the cost of Connecticut’s “dysfunctional relationship with its government unions”
Only sixty-five cents of every tax dollar actually goes toward funding Connecticut’s state government, the rest goes toward supporting the “legacy costs” of massive debt, pension and healthcare costs.
That fact was pointed out by former Webster Bank CEO and co-chair of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, Jim Smith, during an extensive hearing on the various difficulties — both fiscal and economic — facing Connecticut.
Connecticut has spent $13.9 million more in overtime for state employees during the first half of this new fiscal year than it did in 2017, according to a report by the Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Connecticut had been making headway in reducing overtime spending since a high of $256.1 million in 2015. In 2017, Connecticut spent a total of $204.4 million.
Connecticut has the most underfunded pension system in the nation, amassing more than $127.7 billion in liabilities, according to an annual study by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
When a city or town is forced to go to binding arbitration over a labor contract, they often have little to gain and a whole lot to lose, but the decision comes down to one person.
More than 27,000 current state employees are receiving cash payouts or extra vacation time as the result of a lawsuit settlement with Connecticut’s state employee unions, which dates back to 2003.