Lawmakers poised to vote on UConn labor contract - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers poised to vote on UConn labor contract

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A war of words may soon lead to action as state lawmakers prepare to vote on a controversial labor contract with the University of Connecticut.

The deal was signed last year and gives raises at a time when other agencies are seeing cuts.

Senate president Martin Looney said if that happens, it's back to the drawing board for UConn and the labor union representing its 1,900 workers.

Officials said it's part of the fallout of a projected $900 million budget shortfall expected for next year.

UConn isn't the only institution affected.

"State government is going to be substantially smaller in the not so distant future," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

While many state agencies are seeing cuts, the UConn labor contract in question rewards its workers with $100 million in raises.

It's a move some lawmakers feel sends the wrong message during a fiscal crisis.

"I believe this is a contract Connecticut cannot afford," Malloy said. "It would set a precedent that would necessitate the elimination of even more jobs."

"I urge the General Assembly to reject this contract, ad respectfully ask that UConn and UCPEA return to the bargaining table," the governor continued.

Malloy's words fueled criticism against him.

"The governor didn't get it when he raised taxes all those years and thought Connecticut would be OK and wouldn't respond to the tax increases," said Rep. Vincent Candelora, a Republican representing North Branford.

Though Republicans agree with Malloy's stance on the state workforce, they're also pushing for pension reform.

A vote on the UConn contract could come as early as Friday. If not, it could happen on Monday, according to officials.

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