Historic SEBAC Agreement is Filed with the State Legislature

Contracts will ensure Connecticut communities’ access to stable, reliable public safety, health, education, and additional services 

On Friday, April 1st, the agreement reached between the Lamont Administration and SEBAC, and ratified by the members of all bargaining units in SEBAC, was filed with the General Assembly for legislative approval. The agreement includes thirty-five collective bargaining unit contracts that cover approximately 43,000 state employees who provide invaluable services to the public. 

This historic agreement will help ensure all residents and businesses in Connecticut can rely on the vital public services  provided by the state’s workforce. It is a vital step in resolving the current staffing crisis that is the consequence of decades of disinvestment and austerity. Since the Great Recession, the state’s workforce has shrunk by more than 20%, not including the thousands more expected to retire by July 1. This agreement is a much needed investment in funding Connecticut’s future. 

“Everyday hundreds of thousands of vehicles drive on the over 4,000 bridges throughout Connecticut that the state inspects to ensure safety,” said Ned Statchen, DOT Transportation Engineer 3 and resident of Farmington, “We need fair and professional contracts retaining and recruiting talented and dedicated staff to do these inspections so that we don’t put Connecticut drivers at risk. We must fund our future to ensure our critical infrastructure is safe and secure,” added Statchen, CSEA SEIU Local 2001 member. 

“Because UConn Health is an academic medical center, my job includes training the next generation of healthcare professionals in addition to caring for critically ill patients in the ICU,” said Rosemary Swanke, APRN, a lead critical care Nurse Practitioner and resident of New Hartford, “We worked hard throughout the pandemic to accommodate for staffing shortages, as many workers left for higher-paying private-sector jobs or left the profession altogether.  This contract is an important step in helping us recruit and retain talented staff. When patients come to UConn Health, they should know they will receive the award winning care they have come to expect,” added Swanke, a member of University Health Professionals, AFT Local 3837.

“The custodial and maintenance staff across Connecticut ensured our buildings were safe and healthy, as they always have,” Tina Griffith resident of Columbia, is the Lead Custodian at UCONN Storrs and steward for CEUI Local 511. “We are the people behind the scenes caring for all of our buildings making sure students, residents or patients have safe and clean buildings to live and work in. The staffing crisis has been affecting us for far too long, and when you don’t have enough staff you tend to get hurt. This contract is the first step in recruiting and retaining good experienced dedicated workers.”  

"As a wage and hour investigator with the state Department of Labor (DOL), I investigate claims made by workers being financially exploited,” said Anthony Soto, steward for Local 269 of AFSCME Council 4, representing workers at the DOL. “It is invaluable for the public to have the means to recuperate lost wages and protect their rights from unscrupulous employers. During the height of the pandemic, my colleagues at the DOL answered thousands of phone calls and processed nearly 1.5 million unemployment claims. Our agreement recognizes and protects the vital services we provide, especially in dire times when our communities are struggling and need support the most.”

“Minimizing the impact at the campus level from the consolidation of our colleges and protecting our institutions for future generations was our priority.  We are already feeling the effects of reduction in staff at the campus level and decisions are being made by those who work miles away and never have any direct interaction with students," said Lisa Calabrese, Assistant Director of Admissions at Naugatuck Valley Community College, and resident of Plymouth. "Our students come to us with many challenges and barriers and it’s so crucial that we have staff visible and available to help them navigate those issues.  Our Tentative Agreement protects these crucial direct student-facing jobs and resources in Financial Aid and Counseling, among many other departments, that our students rely on and deserve,” added Calabrese, member of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges.