Unions Criticize GOP "Path to Sustainability"
Connecticut House Republicans last week released a "Five Point Plan for a Pathway to Sustainability" during a Sept. 15 press conference launching their 2016 legislative election campaign. Its wonky, vaguely-worded language avoids the true impact of their proposals — so leaders of our state employee unions coalition took the liberty of uncovering and exposing the plan's truths.
Click here for an annotated version of the House GOP plan.
These proposals have since been reiterated in plainer language — specifically, GOP lawmakers' push to degrade state employee union members' retirement security and to politicize the collective bargaining process. In a letter to the governor yesterday they called for both — and before the election, in a special session to vote on an unrelated economic development package.
Click here for press reporting on the expected session.
"The House Republicans' plan is the same failed policies that benefit the wealthy few at the expense of middle class families," said David Pickus, president of the New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199/SEIU, one of the 16 unions in the coalition. "They can sugar-coat their proposals as much as they want, but ultimately these policies are a race to the bottom for wages and will dismantle the way in which our state delivers services," he added.
The GOP platform would lead to a few central outcomes, all of which will have an immediate and detrimental impact on all working families and public employee union members, in particular:
- Drastically cutting public education, transportation, health, safety and other essential state-supported services;
- Raiding public employees’ salaries, benefits, and pension funds; &
- Handing tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.
"This 'plan' is essentially a copy-and-paste job from the websites of right-wing interest groups – like the shady Yankee Institute – that are funded by big businesses and the wealthy," said Council 4 AFSCME Executive Director Sal Luciano. "It's no wonder voters have rejected these ploys year after year — they can't seem to escape from the grip of the rich."?
The edited and annotated version of the Republicans' "Five Point Plan" spells out each attempt to cover up each of these failed policies. Union members need to understand the true meaning of these proposals and the impact they will have on their day-to-day lives.
"History has shown over and over that trickle-down economics and austerity budgets do not work," said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. "Instead, we propose an agenda that starts with rewriting the rules of the economy so that working families benefit from the recovery. Then political leaders from both parties must think outside the box and begin considering alternative approaches to generate the revenues needed to support vital public services.”
The plan reminds us that we face incredibly important choices in this election year. Union members must be engaged to ensure a legislature committed to Connecticut's quality of life for working families — not just hedge fund managers — over the next two years.
This is an incredibly important election, and we need every one of our members to be engaged in the issues and volunteer to help us create a pro-union legislature. Please contact Council 4 to find out more about opportunities to be involved.