“This is a historic day for us, not just as assistant attorneys general, but as state employees,” said Nancy Brouillet (left in photo), an AAG with 12 years of service in the agency’s Employment Rights unit. “For years, we’ve been denied a voice and a seat at the table on issues impacting our families’ healthcare and retirement security. For us, this was never about dissatisfaction with Attorney General Jepsen — it was about equity with our colleagues represented by unions,” added Brouillet, a member of the organizing committee of AAGs that spearheaded the effort.
Brouillet’s comments refer to the vote bringing AAGs under the umbrella of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which by statute has authority to negotiate retirement and medical benefits. State employees without union representation are not eligible for the coalition’s master contract, which currently provides pension and health protections through 2022 for members of 35 recognized bargaining units.
“Choosing ‘union YES’ was as much about elevating our profession as securing the same negotiating rights as our colleagues,” said Mildred Bauzá, an AAG with 17 years of service in the OAG’s Child Protection unit. “We have always been committed to delivering quality legal services for the State of Connecticut. Until now, we’ve not had the same ability to advocate for the resources needed to fulfill our mission — an advantage of being union that benefits the public we serve,” added Bauzá, who also served on the organizing committee.
Bauzá’s comments refer to state employee union members’ track record of grassroots activism to advance solution-driven economic policies that have protected the quality of life for working families. By uniting in AFT Connecticut, AAGs are joining with professional state employees in six bargaining units who have for years successfully advocated for budgets to fairly fund vital public services.
“I am so proud to have stood with these dedicated state employees from the beginning,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel (right in photo above). “Their journey to achieve parity with their colleagues and secure a voice in decisions impacting their profession has demonstrated what the labor movement is all about; that we are stronger together,” added Hochadel, who taught physics and science in the state’s technical high schools.
Hochadel’s comments refer to the drive that began earlier this year when AAGs reached out to the federation for assistance with organizing. The SBLR in mid September held an informal conference to determine the validity of signed union recognition cards, setting in motion the vote-by-mail election. The organizing committee last month launched a survey to determine shared priorities in negotiations for a first bargaining unit contract once their new union was certified.
AFT Connecticut is a labor federation of 30,000 women and men, including approximately 7,000 Connecticut state employees who provide a diverse range of vital services; higher education administration and faculty, healthcare, vocational education, financial management and planning, probation and child support enforcement, banking and fiscal regulation, forensic investigations and analysis, and facilities inspection and enforcement. For more information, visit www.aftct.org or follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct
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