Time To Share The Pain: State Employe...

Time To Share The Pain: State Employees Seek To Avoid Layoffs

There are 302 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Feb 28, 2009, titled Time To Share The Pain: State Employees Seek To Avoid Layoffs. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

The bargaining coalition representing state government workers is probably wasting money on a multimedia campaign to save jobs by convincing Connecticut residents that the workers provide essential services.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

Not a Kiss A--

Newington, CT

#162 Mar 2, 2009
SteveHC wrote:
<quoted text>
- ABSOLUTELY.
Regarding an early retirement proposal - the Republicans offered one just as the local recession began. The majority Democrats REJECTED the idea - even before the unions had a chance to REACT to it, and even though they (the Democrats) knew the employees at large would favor it as a mitigator of layoffs!
So if ANYBODY thinks the unions have the Democrats "in their back pocket" I can ASSURE you that is NOT the case. What happened here, like it has in the past, is that you have a situation wherein one political party has an overwhelming majority in the Legislature, and that majority essentially feels it can do whatever the h**l it pleases and everybody else can "be da***d." Republicans have done the EXACT same sort of thing in the past whenever they felt they could get away with it. Politics at its WORST.
Steve HC I have know idea who you are but you need to get a life.I agree with 90% of the statements that you submit but as the article was title "share the pain" How about Sharing the BLOG and let someone else contribute?

Since: Jan 09

West Hartford, CT

#163 Mar 2, 2009
Why don't you go and PATCO yourself !!! There have been as yet NO proposals for give backs, furloughs, early retirement "Incentives" at any meaningful levels. Lots of talk no proposals. I am a State Employee and a Union member who is more than willing to "Share the Pain." When we get concrete proposals I am certain WE will cooperate.
I wonder what it is that you do shoreliner that makes you a supreme authority on matters of which you know surprisingly little. You are talking out of your A--.
Shoreliner wrote:
<quoted text>
I like your surgical approach to this.
The individuals who are gaming the system must be acted on first.
Then, reduced current benefits and retirement benefits must be brought into line with the private sector.
Finally, layoffs must be pursued if a budget gap exists.
If the unions refuse to work with the state, Governor Rell must give them the PATCO treatment and fire them all.
Let's be honest with ourselves, must state work is not rocket science and I am sure that there are enough people currently unemployed who would be happy for a job with the state.
mr cheech

Orange, CT

#164 Mar 2, 2009
With crime rising dramatically as a result of the fragile economy, Ct. State Police should definately be brought up to max manpower. All other agencies should be able to do with less as we all are doing in the private sector. If nonessential positions were allowed to be reduced, if would have a huge impact on cost reduction. Nonessential means just what the word implies.

Since: Jan 09

West Hartford, CT

#165 Mar 2, 2009
And that is the truth. I have friends in the Private Sector who's healthcare plans are quite similar to mine as a State Employee. There is little or no difference. Posters who are under the illusion that we receive free healthcare are thinking 1990. No freebies since 92-93'.
Sick of the Untruths wrote:
<quoted text>
State employees pay for healthcare and toward retirement. That is the fact. While the copays are lower than most, the premiums deducted from the checks are on a par with many employer's plans

Since: Jan 09

West Hartford, CT

#166 Mar 2, 2009
Jeffrey L you nailed it pretty good. I could say so much about waste and inefficiency and supervisory incompetence but would be ostacized and pbobably put on some kind of S--- list. Time will come soon when I will be free to sing.
Jeffrey L wrote:
Share the pain, how about running the public sector with more efficiency? If professional managers were responsible for State agencies you'd see less waste and redundancy. Does anyone think you can hire a person with no management experience to manage 50 people? Does anyone think you can hire a personnel manager with no personnel experience to oversee a Division? It would never happen in the private sector but it happens in the public sector. I am a State employee sickened by the waste and inefficiency.
Want to save some considerable money? Open up a State Employee Hotline seeking input from us as to where the waste really is. You will be surprised at the results. Ms. Moody, let us point you and the Governor in the right direction. Speaking to Division and Agency heads is a misguided exercise in futility. They have little motivation to come clean on what needs to be done because, in many instances, it is the top levels of management needing realignment. Uncharted times call for uncharted creativity and some of us have done things other than collect a public sector paycheck.
Oh yeah, as to those furlough days, be sure to allow consecutive days off. I'm going to Florida while awaiting your call.

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#168 Mar 2, 2009
Georgie B wrote:
Yes, and every July 1st, all ACTIVE STATE EMPLOYEES get a COLA.
If you don't believe me, then take a look at a typical union contract.
Usually they have a minimum of four pay plans listed, one for each fiscal year. You'll notice that the effective date on each plan says whatever pay period happens to contain July 1st, not January 1st.
This one I will stand my ground on.
If you don't believe me, then please go to the OPM website and look up pay plans or contracts. If you look up a contract, then look under the section heading "General Compensation".
It's all there in black and white.<quoted text>
- Those raises are NOT "COLA's" Georgie, those are what are known as your union's negotiated "ACROSS-THE-BOARD GENERAL WAGE INCREASES" - and there's a BIG difference between the two: a COLA is BASED on the federal COST OF LIVING stats, while the raises you refer to are NOT - they're whatever your union negotiated for raises, PERIOD.
Rose

Newington, CT

#169 Mar 2, 2009
Jeffrey L wrote:
Share the pain, how about running the public sector with more efficiency? If professional managers were responsible for State agencies you'd see less waste and redundancy. Does anyone think you can hire a person with no management experience to manage 50 people? Does anyone think you can hire a personnel manager with no personnel experience to oversee a Division? It would never happen in the private sector but it happens in the public sector. I am a State employee sickened by the waste and inefficiency.
Want to save some considerable money? Open up a State Employee Hotline seeking input from us as to where the waste really is. You will be surprised at the results. Ms. Moody, let us point you and the Governor in the right direction. Speaking to Division and Agency heads is a misguided exercise in futility. They have little motivation to come clean on what needs to be done because, in many instances, it is the top levels of management needing realignment. Uncharted times call for uncharted creativity and some of us have done things other than collect a public sector paycheck.
Oh yeah, as to those furlough days, be sure to allow consecutive days off. I'm going to Florida while awaiting your call.
Too bad this guy is not allowed to manage a piece of our State Government.
Jeffrey L

Newington, CT

#170 Mar 2, 2009
QB Scout- North Carolina wrote:
Jeffrey L you nailed it pretty good. I could say so much about waste and inefficiency and supervisory incompetence but would be ostacized and pbobably put on some kind of S--- list. Time will come soon when I will be free to sing.
<quoted text>
Sing loud and clear. Problem is that you will be painted a disgruntled former State employee. Sing anyway as it is the right thing to do. I plan the same for myself.
sadtimes

Colchester, CT

#171 Mar 2, 2009
Karen O wrote:
Are state employees allowed to bank sick time or vacation time forever? I know of a couple of former state workers who retired to part time status but were paid full time salary because of all the sick time and vacation they banked.
I don't know if they got paid in current salary for days they saved from years ago either.
Where I work, we're blessed in that we can save sick time up to 16 weeks to use for FMLA if we're sick. However, if you don't use the sick time when you leave (either by retirement or what have you), you lose it.
Vacation time - you're only allowed to accrue 1.5 times the amount you're allowed, then it stops accruing until you use it. Someone with 3 weeks vacation can have 4.5 weeks accrued and then it stops until they take time off.
There is no accruing until retirement and then using it.
You 1/4 of your sick time when you leave but there is a limit to how many days you can get that I'm not sure of. You get 100% of vacation time but you also have a limit as to how much you can accrue before you lose it. I think the limit is higher for Tier 1 employees but that Tier was rescinded in 1984. The current Tier 2 and 2a is 40% less than Tier 1 and is on a par with those offerred by any private companies that have pensions. With the Tier 2 pensions you have to work at least 40 years to get 50% of your salary. Keep in mind that the State has a deferred comp plan which is very restrictvie and has no matching by the employer.
Joe

Burlington, VT

#172 Mar 2, 2009
There's simple math to be had here CT. We MUST keep the economy going, and someone has to do the job. Conservatives will say 'Cut Spending', but any stimulus is spending. Let's instead debate where to spend the money. Republicans say tax breaks for the wealthy will provide jobs for middle class. Forget about the last eight years (how dumb can you be?), what about right now? People like Michael Dell say the average software developer makes 70K more in the US than in India. But his corporation will still bill $150/hr for work in the private sector - THIS IS CORPORATE GREED. A state developer earns 56K to start - some $25/hr......simple math. Get on the stick CT!!!
Nonsense

Old Lyme, CT

#173 Mar 2, 2009
SteveHC wrote:
<quoted text>
- You are WRONG. State employees DO pay into their health insurance and retirement plans.
Yea Right....Private insurance premiums run $700 a month...how much do State Workers pay??
How much do State Workers pay towards their fixed benefit pensions?.

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#174 Mar 2, 2009
sadtimes wrote:
<quoted text>
You seem to be very knowledgeable. In your opionion do you expect an ERIP t ocome out of these negotiations?
- That's a good question!

First, you'll find that unions almost NEVER ask for or negotiate for early retirement programs. Such programs are ALWAYS offered at the whim of the EMPLOYER. That's because such "programs" essentially amount to a contract re-opener, and unions in general have a pretty well-deserved reputation for ADHERING to their negotiated contracts, while employers are almost ALWAYS the ones to request a "re-opener." Be that as it may, most of the time a union will not really OBJECT to an employer offering such a program - provided it has no other "strings" attached to it such that it winds up violating OTHER parts of their pre-existing contract, IF an employee's participation in the ERP is strictly voluntary.

Second, the current situation regarding an ERP for Connecticut State employees is strictly a "political football" which the unions really don't have any involvement in. The only really meaningful, genuine ERP proposal to date was the one ORIGINALLY proposed by the Republican legislators when the current economic decline in Connecticut first started getting underway. In response to that proposal, Jodi Rell bolted from her own party's line and didn't support it, and the Democrats joined her in refusal to consider it. Jodi Rell's OWN, most recent offer of an "Early Retirement *Incentive* Plan" was little more than her lame way of trying to repair her relationship with her own party's members over the issue; the Democrats have pretty much simply ignored it.

So will one be offered? Only if the Democrats are willing to go along with it and if its savings to the State will be counted towards the amount of money that the State says it needs to save on its labor costs. But because it's really been presented as more of a *political* issue than a genuine economic one, it's really all up to the politicians. And Connecticut politics being what they are, I suspect the "ERIP" - or something like it -will HAVE to stand because if it DIDN'T the politicians would look even MORE foolish than they already do. But that's just MY guess.
Seven

Newington, CT

#175 Mar 2, 2009
From the comments, you'd think everyone in the private sector is overworked and underpaid. And that all State employees are overpaid and lazy. Neither supposition could be farther from the truth.

So why are State employee unions being singled out ? Do you believe the ones at Ford and GM and Chrysler are models of efficiency ?

Its time that all sectors...gov't and private...really look at what's going on in America. Gov't is fat and full of overspeanding. Businesses waste money without limitation///just look at all those "write-offs"....

Lets all get in line and play fair !!

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#176 Mar 2, 2009
Karen O wrote:
Are state employees allowed to bank sick time or vacation time forever? I know of a couple of former state workers who retired to part time status but were paid full time salary because of all the sick time and vacation they banked.
I don't know if they got paid in current salary for days they saved from years ago either.
Where I work, we're blessed in that we can save sick time up to 16 weeks to use for FMLA if we're sick. However, if you don't use the sick time when you leave (either by retirement or what have you), you lose it.
Vacation time - you're only allowed to accrue 1.5 times the amount you're allowed, then it stops accruing until you use it. Someone with 3 weeks vacation can have 4.5 weeks accrued and then it stops until they take time off.
There is no accruing until retirement and then using it.
- State employees are allowed to accrue unused vacation time from year to year but only to a certain limit; that limit is now much lower than it was years ago, but I honestly don't recall how many days it currently is. Upon retirement, the employee is paid for any of those unused days based on what their hourly pay is at the time of retirement. As far as unused sick time goes, upon retirement one gets paid for 25% of it (as an incentive for not abusing it).

It's important to remember that the State - unlike employers in the private sector - is by LAW UNABLE to simply allow employees to take time off from work with pay WITHOUT using earned vacation, sick or personal leave time (the latter of which is 3 days/year) for such things as doctors' appointments or family emergencies; the only other option the State can legally offer its employees under such circumstances is to take time off WITHOUT pay - but even THAT can NOT be offered to an employee UNTIL their PAID earned time off has been all used up.

MUCH of what the State can and cannot do regarding its employees is dictated by law and government regulations that are intended to protect the taxpayers from abuses, so they generally are much more restrictive than policies in the private sector can be.

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#178 Mar 2, 2009
Nonsense wrote:
<quoted text>
Yea Right....Private insurance premiums run $700 a month...how much do State Workers pay??
How much do State Workers pay towards their fixed benefit pensions?.
- State employees participate in an employer-provided GROUP insurance plan, just as employees of most large private-sector companies do, NOT "Private" insurance. Private insurance premiums are almost ALWAYS more expensive than those of group plans, that's why group plans exist in the first place. And you will find that in general the larger the group the CHEAPER the premium is per employee. So given that the State has about 55,000 employees you can rest assured that the participating health insurance companies offer the State the LOWEST premiums possible, and that's why the unions are pushing for the opening up of the State's plan to all municipalities and small businesses throughout the state - so that still MORE workers of Connecticut, and their employers, could enjoy the same benefits at the same (or cheaper) price.
Home

AOL

#179 Mar 2, 2009
Jeffrey L wrote:
Share the pain, how about running the public sector with more efficiency? If professional managers were responsible for State agencies you'd see less waste and redundancy. Does anyone think you can hire a person with no management experience to manage 50 people? Does anyone think you can hire a personnel manager with no personnel experience to oversee a Division? It would never happen in the private sector but it happens in the public

sector. I am a State employee sickened by the waste and inefficiency.

Want to save some considerable money? Open up a State Employee Hotline seeking input from us as to where the waste really is. You will be surprised at the results. Ms. Moody, let us point you and the Governor in the right direction. Speaking to Division and Agency heads is a misguided exercise in futility. They have little motivation to come clean on what needs to be done because, in many instances, it is the top levels of management needing realignment. Uncharted times call for uncharted creativity and some of us have done things other than collect a public sector paycheck.
Oh yeah, as to those furlough days, be sure to allow consecutive days off. I'm going to Florida while awaiting your call.
Hey Jeff...there is a place to start... On the State of Ct. website go to the Governors Office page...click on the link for ConnecticutÂ’s Innovative Idea Initiative and put forth your ideas.
I completely agree with you in terms on the lack of efficiency and lack of Supervisory and Management skills of those promoted to the positions they are in...not all, but many have never seen the inside of a higher education classroom or taken anything resembling a management course. Trust me...I've had my dealings in this regard.

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#180 Mar 2, 2009
Not a Kiss A-- wrote:
<quoted text>Steve HC I have know idea who you are but you need to get a life.I agree with 90% of the statements that you submit but as the article was title "share the pain" How about Sharing the BLOG and let someone else contribute?
- Don't worry about what *I* "need" to do or not do. EVERYONE is allowed to contribute to this blog, and I "share" it just as much as anyone else does, including you. The only difference is that I don't sit in front of my computer all day long writing to it like some others do, I write my responses all at once - especially when I see misinformation being disseminated, or when someone asks a question and I believe I may know the answer.

So in answer to your implied question, NO I do NOT necessarily plan on cutting back on my contribution to this or related online discussions but yes I *do* encourage OTHERS to participate MORE or as much as they'd like to (as long as their posts are not abusive or unnecessarily repetitive, of course).

Since: Jan 09

Cape Coral, FL

#181 Mar 2, 2009
Nonsense wrote:
<quoted text>
Yea Right....Private insurance premiums run $700 a month...how much do State Workers pay??
How much do State Workers pay towards their fixed benefit pensions?.
There currently are about 4 or 5 different pension plans that the State manages; which one en employee is in depends on exactly WHO they work for and WHEN they were first hired. But I'd say the "typical" employee is required to contribute 2% of their GROSS pay into the plan.

How much a State employee pays for their health insurance varies a LOT and depends on a LOT of factors such as WHICH insurance plan from which insurer they choose, whether or not they have dependents covered, whether or not their spouse also works for the State, etc., and even whether or not one actually lives in Connecticut. Currently the most expensive plan for full family coverage comes out to well over $1,500 per month taken out of an employee's paychecks, while the cheapest/most restrictive plan for merely individual employee coverage comes out to about $15 per month. So it really DOES vary quite a bit.

Also, you should know that a RETIREE'S pension payments and health insurance coverage is coordinated with Social Security and Medicare, such that when one becomes eligible for Social Security and Medicare one's pension payments and health insurance coverage are REDUCED AUTOMATICALLY.
Disgruntled Citizen

Newington, CT

#182 Mar 2, 2009
There seems to be a lot of discussion of honoring the contract that was negotiated. The governor has asked to renegotiate portions of those contracts and the union has for the most part refused. Ok that is their right under the contract. There is also another part of the contract that provides for layoffs. The governor has the right under that contract to just lay people off and remove them from the state rolls. The union members have to deal with this because it is in the contract. If the state employees do not like this, they can vote to have their union absolved and then renegotiate a contract that meets the members desires.

A Union is supposed to represent its members best interests not enslave them just to get their dues.

Good luck.
suzu

New Canaan, CT

#184 Mar 2, 2009
SteveHC wrote:
<quoted text>
- The size of ALL pension payouts - State or otherwise - is determined by a COMBINATION of total number of years of employment AND salary earned (the general standard for the latter, both in the private and public sectors, is the average of the 3 consecutive highest paid years of employment). If the State limits the total number of years an individual can work for it it can (and WOULD) be sued for age discrimination, and would be FORCED to let its most experienced staff go at an arbitrarily-chosen time no matter HOW good their performance is at the time. But I do believe the State, like all governments, is still allowed to set a mandatory retirement age by the federal courts, and I believe Connecticut's is still 72 - which at least theoretically provides for a LOT of years, depending upon the age at which the employee first started working for the state. So that only leaves the highest SALARY earned by the employee as a controllable factor, and THAT is largely determined by the job that the employee performed coupled with the relevant collective bargaining agreement(s)- if any - governing that employee's job(s). The "right" to collective bargaining is of course a legally-defined one, with the only alternative (for all practical purposes) for public employees being the right to strike.
So yes, the pension payment made to someone who worked as a doctor at John Dempsey Hospital (UConn's teaching hospital) for 35 years will *likely* be higher than the earnings of a restaurant worker who worked the same number of years; it will also likely be much higher than the earnings of a State employee hired as a Maintainer I (entry-level janitorial/facilities maintenance person) employed for the same number of years. THAT'S LIFE! If you want to have more money for RETIREMENT you MUST find a way to EITHER EARN more (OR SAVE more) during your years as an ACTIVE EMPLOYEE, REGARDLESS of whether you're a private sector OR government employee.
Now, I used the example of a government-employed doctor, but the fact of the matter is that MANY government jobs REQUIRE advanced training, education and/or a LOT of experience - and thus HAVE to pay accordingly if the State is to attract anyone worth their salt to PERFORM those jobs - SAME AS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. The only difference is that the income UPPER-limits in the PUBLIC sector are set MUCH lower than they are in the PRIVATE sector (if you don't factor in overtime that is SOMETIMES either available - or more often MANDATORY - for HOURLY employees).
If you want to have more money for RETIREMENT you MUST find a way to EITHER EARN more (OR SAVE more) during your years as an ACTIVE EMPLOYEE

well exactly what i am saying, let the doctors who are making their fat salaries while working save some of it so that they can live the luxurious lifestyle they have become accustomed to without taxpayers subsidizing their fat lifestyles.
taxpayers do not owe them their fat lifestyle till the day they die.

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