One of Connecticut's largest state employee unions is ramping up its public relations campaign to fight looming layoffs.
The SEIU District 1199 planned on Friday to launch the second in a series of television ads intended to generate public support for the workers. The 30-second spot is scheduled to appear during the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS.
The new ad highlights the work performed daily by state workers that affects residents' daily lives, such as making sure drinking water is safe.
SEIU spokeswoman Jennifer Schneider said state workers"are a vital part of our communities."
"After tragedies that prompt a focus on mental health needs, lawmakers speak about the need for these services to be provided. Yet, these services and workers are first on the chopping block by lawmakers this year. Lawmakers talk about honoring our veterans, yet attack the very people providing care to them. We have to find a better way to balance the budget and keep these vital services for Connecticut," Schneider said in a release on Friday
The union represents more than 7,600 state workers.
One of the SEIU workers featured in the ad is Denise Bystrek, who is a nurse at the VA Hospital in Rocky Hill.
"I think we are all worried," Bystrek said. "The amount of layoffs that he's talking about would decimate state services."
Bystrek has been a nurse for 26 years. She said their contract was opened in 2011 and they made concessions
The ad comes as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative leaders say large numbers of layoffs appear likely after the unions' umbrella organization declined to discuss possible pension and benefit concessions to help fix the state's deficit.
"Now here we are in 2016 and they are asking us to reopen it again," Bystrek said. "The biggest thing we are concerned about is taking care of the people we care for. Benefits and insurance is something every one deserves. I believe most people have benefits."
Eyewitness News reached out to the governor's staff, but they said they are not commenting on these ads.
To see the full ad on your mobile device, click here.
For more information on Metro Square Media that produced the commercial, click here.
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