Legislature Approves Reopener, Recruitment & Retention Agreement

State Employees’ Reopener, Recruitment and Retention Agreement Overwhelmingly Passes General Assembly

Agreement supports protection and expansion of communities’ access to stable, reliable public safety, health, education and additional services

[Hartford, CT] - On Tuesday, April 23rd, the House and Senate voted to approve the reopener, recruitment and retention agreement reached between the Lamont Administration and State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) and ratified by the 45,000 state employee union members last month. The agreement is aimed at addressing the state workforce’s recruitment and retention challenges through ongoing labor/management processes and by providing fair pay raises comparable to the private sector and consistent with encouraging workers to remain in public service.

“As a state employee I love what I do,” Sherwin LeGendre, Department of Transportation (DOT) Safety Patrol Driver and Union Steward for Connecticut Employees Union Independent, SEIU Local 511. “I have never been told that my help was not necessary. The public sector provides public services that we all benefit from every day, even if we’re not always aware of it. Investment in our state workforce is a direct investment in our local communities that we work and live in.”

“As an adjunct faculty member, I am a part-time state employee, with no healthcare benefits and a very small pension, explained Sara Berry, an adjunct professor at CT State Manchester. “We make up between 60 and 70 percent of faculty in Connecticut’s community colleges, which means the vast majority of our most at-risk students are being taught by our most at-risk employees. This wage increase is particularly important to part-time state employees like myself who are largely living in financial precarity. It would be an important step in bringing us closer to financial stability, and further away from depending on the same state assistance programs that many of our students are trying to move on from,” added Berry, a member of the Connecticut Congress of Community Colleges (4Cs), SEIU Local 1973.

“This re-opener will help UConn to retain its world-class researchers and maintain its status as a top public university in the nation. At a time when many states are disinvesting in public higher education, this is a chance for Connecticut to set itself apart as a leader when schools like UC-Berkeley, UNC, and the entire SUNY system are floundering from wanting investment. Prudent management of UConn’s future requires fair compensation,” added Newport, a member of UConn-AAUP/AFT Local 6746.

When legislators and the Governor have to debate over the budget, they often forget to balance the cost of not investing in critical public services - from increases in the need for future social assistance programs to increased maintenance costs on critical infrastructure to a weakening workforce pipeline. These failures to invest may not end up on the balance sheet at the Capitol, but they are deeply understood in the homes of Connecticut residents. 

The legislators that stood up today and voted in favor of the agreement chose to uplift working families rather than the special interests of opponents fueled by anti-worker billionaires. We must continue to strive for a Connecticut where every resident has an opportunity for a brighter future. This means we must also fully and permanently fund public higher education. 


The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) represents about 45,000 state employees across 35 bargaining units. Members of the coalition’s individual unions work in a wide variety of State agencies, serving Connecticut residents in many areas that affect all of our daily lives; public health, social services, education, public safety, environmental protection, criminal justice, transportation, corrections, and services for the blind, and developmentally disabled.