TRUMBULL, Conn. -- State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123) and Laura Devlin (R-134) this week joined a growing movement in calling for the Democratically-controlled state legislature to hold a vote on a controversial University of Connecticut labor contract.
According to Rutigliano and Devlin, both members of the Finance Committee, the contract would call for non-teaching personnel at the state’s flagship University to receive a $33.9 million salary hike.
The current fiscal year deficit is pegged at least $219 million, and the estimated deficit for the next biennium is $4.6 billion.
Without further legislative action on the contract by March 9, the University’s labor deal – a 21 percent pay increase over five years – automatically goes into effect.
All House and Senate Republicans in the Appropriations Committee voted against the contract for the 1,900 UConn employees last week. The contract failed in the Senate’s committee side, and was passed by House Democrats.
Rutigliano, Devlin and House Republicans want Speaker Brendan Sharkey to schedule a House session before March 9.
“How can the House Democratic majority in good conscience permit this contract to become law without a full vote of the General Assembly?” Rutligliano asked. “Let’s have an up or down vote, and not continue the practice of simply allowing these unsustainable contracts to add to the mushrooming deficits.”
“We just heard from the state budget director in the Finance committee last week that Connecticut is now facing a $266 million deficit for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and a $900 million deficit in the next fiscal year,” she said. “Added to that is the more than $4 billion shortfall coming up in the following two years. With these current fiscal realities, allowing costly state employee contracts to become law without any vote is unacceptable, especially in a time when UConn students are facing possible tuition hikes,”
According to the language of the contract, there is also a provision in the current UConn deal that affords union members a full year salary if they are laid off.
On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Dannel Malloy also called for the General Assembly to have a full vote and to reject the contract.
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