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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..


MAY UPDATE


As the state budget process continues to implode in Hartford Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to help Connecticut’s poorest communities stabilize their local budgets. But he also wants all municipalities — including the poorest — to begin paying one-third of teacher pension costs set to explode over the next 15 years.

New London ranks 164th in state wealth rank. Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz said he doubts this Robin Hood proposal would pass, but if it did pass it would provide $12.1 million in new revenue, less $2.2 million for FY 18 teacher retirement contribution leaving a net $10 million for city coffers in the first year subject to further depreciation as future retirement contributions increase. Even if such a plan were to pass would New London use even 10% the new revenue to improve public safety and infrastructure or just lower tax rates by the equivalent number of mills and continue to stumble along.

More bleak economic news for Connecticut after financial experts disclosed the state spends 30% of all its revenue on fixed costs -the highest in the nation which could have a negative effect of its bond rating making future borrowing costs even more expensive. Slow job and income growth has led to an average of 575 people leaving the state for good every week. Between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016 the resident population fell by 8, 278.

One exception to the sour economy was General Dynamics Electric Boat announcement to expand the 500 in-state supplier base as it prepares to build the new Columbia class of submarines. The company's work force just topped 15,000. To meet the demands of construction both Columbia and Virginia class submarines as the same time the work force will peak around 22,000 . But because of retirement and attrition EB expects to hire 14,000 additional skilled labor, well paying local jobs.

Common sense prevailed at the Capitol a few weeks ago when the legislature’s Judiciary Committee declined to report the legislation to the floor to raise the age for juvenile criminals to 21 age. Every bill remaining in the possession of the committee died at 5 p.m., the panel’s deadline for acting on legislation. Malloy’s idea has been largely greeted with indifference by Democrats and hostility by Republicans.
But not to worry, progressive liberals like our governor never give up, especially now that he won’t seek a third term and is looking for legacy legislation. A spokesperson for the governor said they will try to revive the measure as an amendment to another bill in the session. What that means is a Malloy loyalist will attach the amendment late in the session on a must approve bill - like the budget and shove it down our throats when we weren't looking.

House Bill 6662 which allows for police pensions to be reduced or revoked upon conviction of any crime related to employment or use of force deservedly and thankfully died in the Public Safety and Security committee on 4/11/17.

Mean while HB6663: proposes any police officer use of force or threatened use of force incident the state's attorney must decide within five (5) business days if the officer shall be suspended without pay based on preponderance of the evidence (49/51) that the use of force was improper pending a full complete investigation. Police can't stop people without reasonable suspicion, can't arrest without probable and courts can't convict unless beyond a reasonable doubt but activist legislative caucus members in Hartford are more than willing to ignore a police officer's rights and throw out our due process with the snap of a finger. When did being a cop mean we have no rights?

On 4/27/18 State Comptroller Kevin Lembo opened up his exploratory campaign for Governor. Kevin has been a straight shooter on fiscal issues and a self described data nerd that makes fact based decisions. He is determined to fix the mess Connecticut finds itself in and he certainly possesses the tools to make a change for "a better yet Connecticut".

Mayor Passero proposed his FY17-18 city budget offering a flat line budget for police is now in the hands of city council to finalize. The police dept continues to hobble along with severe staffing shortages. With warmer weather and vacation season upon us combined with recent officer injuries-disabling over 10& of patrol has only exacerbated a critical problem. Our officers feel City Hall has ignored and marginalized our problems while serving us an abundance of puffed up flowery platitudes that does nothing to improve the situation.

Since January 1st there have been over 456 overtime shifts filled just to put 5 cops each shift to cover the entire city. Our cops are tired of the hectic pace, call volume and constant holdovers shift after shift. The continual head in the sand solution by city leaders to our staffing crisis suggests the public and this administration don’t value public safety - until they themselves are the 911 caller.

In 2014 when Councilor Passero was formulating his run for mayor he and fellow councilors passed a minimum 80 police officer staffing ordinance. Mike the statesman stated then "public safety is the number one matter to residents look to their government to provide …the current staffing level is not sustainable".
In 2015 as mayoral candidate he introduced his seven point platform how he would improve the city as mayor, " New London should not have the nagging reputation of a blighted, dirty, unsafe city... I pledge to you an end to the status quo of mediocrity, inefficiency and disappointment". So we ask what changed since he was elected?

Local 724 begins new contract talks with the city and we intend to out the best interests of our overworked and frustrated members first. Negotiations are never easy but in these times it agreements can be even harder to find. Our members eagerly wait to see if the Passero administration will offer more than just lip service to settle this contract.

This world is quickly changing filled with delicate snowflakes too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own by shutting down free speech under the guise of causing multiple micro-aggression issues. Insisting on safe spaces everywhere for everyone should an alternate view point be heard, a spike in anarchy groups and anti police movements relying more on emotion rather than cold hard facts, a hostile press always quick to post headlines suggesting the cop did something wrong and the now deliberate underfunding of police forces by elected officials making it very difficult to be a cop today and even harder recruiting new people willing to do this job anymore. Frankly, who could blame them, the people certainly have elected the government they deserve.

While we don't often comment on national politics. It has become bothersome how both Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are sock puppets for the daily liberal Democrat talking points. These Senators are spending way too much of their valuable time be activists attacking President Trump or boasting about their newest meaningless letter or proposed bill about nothing as long as it means media coverage ensuring their daily 15 seconds of their face time in each news cycle.
Both have demonstrated zero effort to bridge any political differences to find real compromise on important and move the country forward. Our two puppets have offered no ideas how to settle middle east tensions, improve Asia Pacific rim issues or create real jobs here at home with much needed federally funded infrastructure projects.

We recall Richard Blumenthal's meet and greet in December 2011 where he said “I’m very excited with the kind of energy and growth I see here in New London …I’m so encouraged by what I’ve seen. I want to help in any way I can". He must be blind and tone deaf because we don't know what he saw that remotely showed progress in the city or what actions he's done to improve New London. It's obvious he did not see the all the empty distressed downtown buildings as he walked through on his tour. We realize it's very difficult to unseat incumbents but can we at least insist they spend some of their time representing our concerns on interests here and abroad. Maybe it's time they consider following Dan Malloy's lead.

Some good news to report at NLPD. Our cops have been very busy with many active cases that have resulted in quick arrests due to their hard work and perseverance. Also DPW has been busy fixing some long ignored physical plant issues. The building has been cleaner of late and the renovation improvements are under way and appreciated. Risk manager Paul Gills and DPW Director Brian Sears have prioritized these projects and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors. Thank you for the work to date. At the same time janitorial services are improving and appreciated.

 

 

CONVENTION UPDATE


AFSCME Council 4 Convention held their convention in the heart of downtown New Haven at the Omni Hotel. By accounts was a huge success attended by over 225 union members. Executive Director Sal Luciano and his staff are commended on a first class presentation.

The sour Connecticut economy and its effect on our union members was the center point of concerns. With 96 bills heard in the Appropriations Committee, 77 of them directly stand to undermine health care, pension, and collective bargaining rights of employees. Closer look at the bills show many are copy cat bills by various legislators to show their constituents they were hard on labor issues. Talks of potential layoffs, concessions and doing more work with less staff for less money and benefits had everyone's attention to resist the attacks and fight anti labor legislation.

SEBAC groups appear to be close with informal talks that will provide $700 million in concessions for the state and in return give no layoff protection to state workers. As for municipal workers participating in CMERS appears to remain unchanged at this time.
Our members are reminded to attend our April 5 union meeting to hear first hand from our AFSCME lobbyist on matters happening at the Capitol important to all of us.

A sales tax and gas tax increase appears likely while tolls may be sidelined this session. With an estimated $300-400 million in new sales tax revenue it may offset the immediate need for municipalities to contribute to teacher retirement contributions. Welcome news to local budgets but may only kick the can down the street to buy more time.


Local 724 leadership had the chance to speak directly with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz. Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. Once the budget is passed all eyes will focus on the upcoming 2018 statewide elections where a growing field of interesting challengers to Governor Malloy are emerging from both sides of the aisle. One astute prediction suggested if Malloy chooses to run again a near certain outcome would be a House and Senate filled with Republicans.

 

 

April Update

 

April 1 means New London Mayor Mike Passero's proposed annual budget is released to the public. The foreplay has been provided with recent news articles laying out the gloomy story line of yet another year with no money. The City has made clear its refusal to raises taxes, has offers no new ideas on finding new revenue sources with hopes to solve the newest budget crisis by more deep cuts to city agencies leaving them impotent while feeding more precious city dollars to the always hungry BOE.

Local 724 members are grateful for many resolved grievances with the City and are enjoying a new cooperative attitude in the building as the new police administration transitions over but are quietly seething that our critical agency needs appear to be met with a deaf ear and blind eye by City administration as we limp along with dangerously low staffing.
Union officials have a seat at the table and have been rather blunt making our concerns known. We remain hopeful the City earnestly works with us to find a positive outcome. We have worked too hard to improve labor relations to see it undermined.


There is some good news to report - our police department janitorial staffer has been making some progress cleaning up the building after some intervention to actually have him do the job he's being paid to do.
DPW has been finalizing plans on some long needed updates scheduled for the lunch room, report room, and men's locker room bathroom. While members are excited about the sudden turn of events, they cast a jaundiced eye at the project since DPW has not provided a hard start date or projected finish date because they don’t like timelines and are easily distracted.

State labor unions have been busy with informal talks with the Malloy administration looking for a way to help close the budget gap with potentially $700 million in concessions. SEBAC previously gave concessions in 2009 and 2011. Union leaders have rightly complained they did not cause the state fiscal mess and certainly shouldn't responsible to solve the problems on the backs of state workers.
Anonymous sources have exchanged proposals during discussions that involve a six year deal with minor raises in first two years, followed by two years of zeros ending with a wage opener for last two years to include concessions increasing employee medical cost share and pension contributions with no assurances of future layoffs but medical plans would be protected and extended.

Hartford politicians seems to be warming to the idea of raising the state sales tax to 6.85%, raise gas tax 6 cents to 35 cents a gallon while many are split on bringing back highway tolls. Tolls could raise as much as $18 billion by 2040 which could be used exclusively for the Special Transportation Fund towards Governor Malloy's aggressive $100 billion proposal for infrastructure improvements, but the legislators would never be able keep their hands off any lock box revenue stream, especially one with some may potential zeros attached suggesting tolls won't pass this year.

Meanwhile at the General Assembly with support from entities like Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) have many anti labor bills pending set to attack and smear municipal workers who have devoted their careers to the common good and public interest. Funny how CBIA pushes an anti labor agenda while their Chairman of the Board earns over $1.3 million a year in compensation as President of Webster Financial in Stamford.

The most harmful bills propose to eliminate wage hikes, remove pensions from collective bargaining, reformulate pension calculations, reduce cost of living benefits to pensioners, increase employee pension contributions, eliminate defined pensions and replace with 401k type plans to name just a few of the 96 bills aimed at labor. These attacks on public employees who "Make America Happen", are also taxpayers, who are afraid these bills only attack hard working families and create a race to the bottom for all middle class workers.


AFSCME President Lee Saunders recently said, "Public employees don't expect to get rich, but some basic respect for the important jobs they do isn't too much to ask. Instead, in too many states and localities from coast to coast -- and now more than ever at the federal level -- their hard work is rewarded with pettiness and scorn. Not from their neighbors, but from politicians with an agenda. When you attack public workers, entire communities suffer -- their schools, hospitals, roads and more. To undermine law enforcement, social workers and 911 dispatchers, and their counterparts at every level of government, is to hurt the citizens who depend every day on the services they provide." We at Local 724 couldn't say it any better..

 




   


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

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