From Greenwich to Griswold, Killingly to Kent and North Canaan to New London, Connecticut residents share a vision for our future. Regardless of our race, gender or the communities in which we live, we all want a chance to earn a fair wage, take care of our families, retire with dignity and make sure our neighborhoods are places where we can all thrive.
But there are two Connecticuts. While our state consistently ranks among the wealthiest in the nation, it is also the most unequal. Corporations and the ultra wealthy dodge their responsibilities, continuing to rob us of the resources that fund our public schools, build affordable housing and ensure that we can see a doctor. They divide and distract - and even threaten to leave - if we ask them to pay what they owe. Rather than contribute to making our communities safe and vibrant, corporations blame Connecticut workers for the hardships they themselves have created.
It’s time for working people to come together during the 2022 legislative session to embrace the values we hold dear and build one strong Connecticut where everyone has a fair chance to succeed and prosper.
To build one strong Connecticut, the Connecticut AFL-CIO will lead the following initiatives during the 2022 legislative session:
Protect Workers’ Right to Form a Union Free from Employer Intimidation
After decades of stagnating wages and deteriorating benefits, workers across Connecticut are fed up; tired of their employers regarding them as disposable. They want safe working conditions, affordable healthcare and to share in the profits their labor helped create. In most cases, the only way to secure that level of respect on the job is to form a union. But employers, even in this tight labor market, regularly spend millions to avoid unionization. They hire corporate union busters to intimidate employees and hold multiple captive audience meetings, hoping to dissuade workers from voting yes. They discipline, and even fire, those who do not attend.
Establishing a new state minimum labor standard to allow employees to refuse to attend employer-mandated captive audience meetings regarding the employer’s opinion on religious or political matters (including union organizing) would permit employees to leave the meeting and return to work. It would allow them to make their own decisions about their own workplace interests, rather than being harassed and coerced to vote in the employer’s financial interest.
Create a Recovery For All
Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers have lost their jobs and are struggling while billionaires have profited from the COVID-19 pandemic. To build a state where everyone can succeed, we need to devote sufficient resources to erase inequities in public education, create good jobs by investing in infrastructure, expand affordable housing, robustly fund public higher education and job training programs, and expand access to affordable healthcare. That requires revamping our regressive tax structure so that it rewards work, not wealth, and helps generate the sustainable, lasting economic recovery we all deserve.
During the 2022 legislative session, we will partner with the Recovery For All coalition to create greater transparency in our state’s corporate tax structure and ensure that those who do not pay what they owe are held accountable, build equity into the tax code by requiring the state to conduct annual tax incidence analyses to inform fair tax policy and ensure that federal dollars allocated to the state and municipal governments are used to fund programs and projects in transparent and transformative ways.
To build one strong Connecticut, the Connecticut AFL-CIO will support affiliates and allies during the 2022 legislative session to:
- Defeat efforts to dilute occupational licensing requirements by allowing reciprocity with states with less rigorous preparation standards.
- Block attempts to undermine collective bargaining rights and weaken binding arbitration.
- Allocate a portion of Connecticut’s ARPA funds to provide essential workers with hazard pay to recognize the risks they have taken to protect public health, serve our communities and keep our economy running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Defeat attempts to increase apprentice to journeyperson ratios pursued by non-union contractors who focus on cheap labor rather than providing the training required for apprentices to graduate or complete their apprenticeships.
- Enact protections, establish enforcement mechanisms and fund oversight positions that reduce wage theft and hold employers accountable who steal from employees.
- Enact the recommendations of the Paraeducator Advisory Council.
- Enact the recommendations of the Task Force on Debarment and Limitations on the Awarding of State Contracts.
- Strengthen recall rights for laid off workers.
- Require nursing homes to be transparent about how they use public funds, especially the percentage they use to provide direct patient care.
- Create school indoor air quality standards, allocate resources to school districts to test, maintain, repair and replace ventilation systems, and require such projects to pay prevailing wage rates, include apprenticeship requirements and add other labor protections.
- Add exemptions to post-storm electricity restoration timelines to protect the health and safety of line crews.
- Fill vacancies throughout state agencies and defeat privatization of public services, including outsourcing to non-profits and expanding the use of public-private partnerships.
- Expand funding for and fully staff the State Contracting Standards Board.
- Require the General Assembly to approve any proposed closure or merger of public institutes of higher education.
- Include labor peace agreements for grocery, retail development and warehouse distribution projects when the state provides tax credits, grants or loans to businesses that establish and retain new supermarkets/grocery stores in areas determined to be “food desert communities.”
- Secure passage of state employee collective bargaining agreements, arbitration awards and memoranda of understanding.
- Limit and regulate egregious “on-call” scheduling practices.