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Local 724 Political News
Keep it right here for you latest Team 724 news and events.
Political Director Chuck Flynn will posting vital info to the campaign
and Team 724's next move..

JUNE UPDATE


The last Monday in May was Memorial Day; a day we set aside to remember those who gave their all for us to live free today. It is a day to honor every man and woman who sacrificed for our country. We don't know them all, but we owe them all because freedom isn't free. Ronald Regan once said, "Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A veteran does not have that problem." Local 724 honors all those who have served and are currently serving our country in uniform. Thank you for your service.

Shout out to Officer Rich Cable for organizing a candlelight vigil outside NLPD on May 13 honoring fallen police officers. Mashantucket Police Officer Tom Meskill played the bag pipes and 97-year-old Mervin Roberts a former selectman and Fire Chaplin from the Old Lyme Fire Department for his inspirational words. Thank you to our friends at Fisher Florists of 87 Broad Street, a New London institution since 1910, who once again went above and beyond expectations providing a beautiful floral wreath to honor our fallen heroes hung respectfully on the PD flag pole with flickering vigil candles encircling base. Job Well Done Rich!

As June arrives COVID-19 continues to stick around adversely impacting everyone. While many city employees, court and probation personnel worked from home, our members reported for duty. DPW cleaned the police and fire buildings making them safe for us while we responded to homes and facilities not knowing if they were infected with COVID. Schools and businesses were closed as we remained vigilant patrolling the streets, people stayed in their homes while we responded to a spike in domestic violence calls. When people in crisis were violent, our members were first inside to intervene and secure the scene, making it safe for the FD to respond. Our cops came to work, answered all the calls and made a difference every day.

We certainly understand public health concerns, but at the same time the COVID shut down of the country has plunged millions of Americans into sudden poverty with over 266,000 people in Connecticut on unemployment. The people listened to the politicians and did what they were asked of them. Staying home and learning social distancing allowed the curve to be flattened, hospitals have adequate capacity and they never ran out of ventilators. Businesses need to open, people must get back to work and their livelihoods, all will learn to adjust. Life is full of risks and this is no different. America and especially Connecticut needs a jump start to a decade long weak economy. Open the state up now.

Governor Lamont and elected executives from cities and towns issued an assortment of Emergency Orders trampling on many Constitutional Rights starting with: right of assembly and protest, life, liberty and property, freedom to worship and to bear arms. Columnist Dave Marcus wrote in the New York Post, "our rights aren’t the government’s to grant or take away. They belong to us — the free grant of nature and the God of nature."
Educate the public on reasonable risks associated with the virus using best precaution practices and let the people decide for themselves what is tolerable for them. If the elderly and high risk folks need to continue isolation - let them, but now is time to get back to normal and let people start living their lives. Marcus wrote in the same column "Our politicians serve by our consent; we don’t run our businesses or live our lives by their consent. The suggestion to the contrary is an ¬affront to Americanism".

Some good news to share reaching a tentative agreement with the City extending our labor contract for one year. With so many distractions and restrictions from COVID we thought it was in everyone's best interest to offer the extension and push all formal negotiations to next year.
Unfortunately the news for an agency re-organization wasn't so good after talks broke down. This idea to streamline divisions originated with police administration starting as far back as the Finizo administration in 2014 and continued for years with infrequent informal conceptual talks.

With the sudden January retirement of Captain Keating, talks became more frequent and serious between the Union and the City, represented by Chief Pete Richard and CAO Steve Fields, resulting in what was thought by all to be a fair agreement between both sides, both in concept and the orderly process to achieve it.
The re-org would have modernized the agency, improved efficiency and provide high quality service to every New London citizen. It also provided a roadmap for future opportunities with our rank and file for advancement to supervisor and leadership positions since a majority of department supervisors are retirement eligible.
The agreement was reduced in writing to formal document as had been discussed and agreed to by the principals involved in the talks which used the word "shall"; there shall be two captains, shall be four Lieutenants, shall be nine patrol sergeants and shall be six detectives. Our position is we must acknowledge and protect our existing positions as well as ensure these new proposed positions remained intact, a position also understood and agreed to by the Police Chief.

When it was time for Steve Fields' signature - he balked - got the city attorney involved and the deal immediately started sliding sideways. First issue was insisting the word "shall" as unacceptable, must be changed to "may". After some back and forth for a week the Union then agreed to substitute the word "will" as acceptable to move the process to its conclusion.
That was until Steve threw the next wrench, this time successfully squandering the deal by insisting the agreement must have a sunset provision. This is a legal clause that provides the agreement shall cease to have effect after a specific date, in this case meaning when the next labor contract expires.
Knowing the City's extensive history of poor labor relations, the police department still down almost 30% in manpower and has never come close to following its own five year old city ordinance on minimum police staffing, there was no way, we say again - no way - this Union was agreeing to any change unless our members were protected.
Moreover we had just agreed to a one year extension on our current contract that would push expiration to no later than June 30, 2021. So all these changes to the organization that the city wanted and was in favor of now demanded the agreement must expire in one year? Is that your idea of a good faith agreement? Who would agree to that?? Certainly not us!

This dead on arrival demand was a slap in the face to all our hard working members, making it impossible to bring back a fair re-org deal for them to consider. Let this run ham fisted deal serve as another head banging example of what it's like dealing with the city on just about anything.
Steve's favorite author, John Maxwell, (see photo) of many books primarily focusing on leadership including his Law of Significance which reads, "If you want to do something big, you must link up with others". Well that certainly didn't happen here. Another leadership writer Gordon Graham wrote, "what is predictable is preventable". Certainly was the case here when he chose to deviate from the deal and accept the advice from his back bench city attorney resulting in predictably nothing accomplished and nothing gained except for a complete waste of everyone's time and efforts.

In the classic book, Getting to Yes the authors encourage people in a negotiation that becomes stalled to “sit on the same side of the table … by asking what would you do if you were in [our] shoes". If Steve saw it from our perspective, he too would see what had been a fair and reasonable deal now swirling down the drain.
Now at impasse with the City refusing to drop their ridiculous sunset demand leaving the re-org process upside down, one sided and only in the City's best interest. All because somebody backpedalled on a good faith deal by relying on advice of a last minute back bencher who was never in the room or party to any negotiations. The same attorney on the losing side of most issues with Local 724. They can't even say we didn't warn them - because we did.

These missteps left us no choice but to file an official Grievance at City Hall with little chance of resolution before its forwarded in mid June to a formal hearing at the Department of Labor State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (SBMA) in Wethersfield and simultaneously filed a Municipal Prohibited Practice complaint for repudiation of our contract provisions awaiting an informal hearing with a state labor agent. Both cases seek the same remedy, demanding the City follow our existing contract language and immediately fill the vacant third Police Captain position.
Once again New London clumsily navigated their fully rigged three masted vessel on the city seal into the Shoals of Failure, blundering a monumental opportunity for positive change at the police department.



 

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Why Political Action

THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.

Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers' compensation. That's why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that's why working people need to work to elect these allies.

The Local 724 executive board has the collective responsibility to provide vision and direction for the local. It is up to the leadership team to look ahead, set goals and develop a plan to make strategic planning a critical element to having a strong union which can only come about when membership is informed, educated and active.

Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.

Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.

Local 724 accomplishes this through political action in conjunction with the exercise of collective bargaining process, growth and community involvement to produce a just and rewarding workplace.

   

Local 724 gets recognized on the national level!

On January 28, 2011 at the Council 4 Campaign for the Middle Class Seminar in Meriden The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO thanked the New London Police Union- Local 724 for their efforts in the Labor 2010 campaign.

Lee Saunders, International Secretary-Treasurer and AFSCME Council 4's Sal Luciano who is also an International Vice President honored Local 724 with a certificate "In recognition of their tireless work and commitment during the 2010 State of Connecticut general elections". To this day labor leaders throughout the state continue to praise our Malloy/Wyman Pre-Debate Rally as a new benchmark of what local labor can achieve when committed to a goal.

Chuck Flynn was honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire membership which will hang proudly in the 724 "Hall of Justice". I want to personally thank everyone that participated in some way no matter how big or small. Our election success was due to the collective efforts of our TEAM-Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

 


724 helps East Lyme fight the cause

Why Political Action


Shooting from the lip
Political Director C Flynn

4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes