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Rowland Lawsuit Update
Workers rally in 2003 against the Rowland layoffs.
The settlement, reached in late-April with the Attorney General and supported by the Malloy administration, was a tremendous victory not just for state employees, but for all workers. The agreement brought closure to a 12-year struggle to uphold Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association that are fundamental to workplace democracy.
The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Judiciary in May took up the settlement for review in what was the first step in the formal approval process. Both the state House and Senate resolutions on the agreement passed favorably and with bipartisan support.
Funding for the agreement -- $20,700,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and $4,722,000 in FY 2017 -- was included in the state budget passed on the final day of the legislature’s regular session. On June 11, 30 days after it was filed with the House and Senate Clerks, the settlement was considered formally approved by the General Assembly.
Next the settlement goes to federal court for review and final approval. A hearing on the matter is expected to be held in September or October and affected class members will receive advance notice advising of the date and their rights.
That’s why the attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) are working with state representatives to finalize the list of potential class members. The goal is to make sure that affected state workers receive the proper award from the settlement.
To be considered part of the class, individuals must have been employed by the State of Connecticut and a member of a bargaining unit (or, if under a working test period or training program, designated for bargaining unit membership upon completion) as of November 17, 2002.
If, as is anticipated, the settlement is approved by the Federal Court in September or October, the process of determining each individuals’ entitlement under that settlement will begin. The state must inform the individual as to what remedy he or she is entitled to based upon the state’s records, and an opportunity for individuals to provide additional information that may be necessary to that remedy and/or to disagree with the calculation made by the state. It will also include a neutral third party to resolve disputes.
Compensation under the settlement will depend on whether class members were laid off, “bumped” to a different position within the state workforce, or suffered some other adverse job-related consequence. All members are entitled to receive compensation for the chilling of their rights to freedom of speech and association as a result of the former governor’s anti-union animus.
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