Cash-strapped Hartford sees labor union reject money-saving cont - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cash-strapped Hartford sees labor union reject money-saving contract

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Hartford (WFSB file photo) Hartford (WFSB file photo)

A large labor union for the capital city rejected a contact that was meant to save the city millions.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4, Local 1716, voted down the $4 million cost-saving measure for Hartford.

"Local 1716 members have spoken and rejected the tentative agreement with the city," said Larry Dorman, a union representative. "We are assessing the next steps to take with a goal of protecting the vital services they provide to Hartford residents and businesses."

The union represents roughly 400 workers. The deal called for wage freezes, a few pay increases and higher insurance costs, among other amendments to benefits.

"All of our stakeholders have to part of putting together a solution for a sustainable future and that includes our labor unions," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. 

AFSCME has released a statement. 

"It was simply too much pain without job security. We are assessing the next steps to take," the statement said.  

Earlier this month, the city council called on Mayor Luke Bronin to implement a hiring freeze for nearly all departments. Similar concessions were recently approved by Hartford firefighters. They are the only union so far that has reached an agreement. Bronin said the firefighters contract will save the city more than $13 million over four years.

The police union is still negotiating their deal.

"He's up there asking for $40 to 50 million from the legislature to bail out Hartford," John Szewczyk with Hartford Police Union said. "We are letting it known we want to be part of the solution."

Bronin said he is hoping for help from the state, but the city has to do its part to save money. 

"I am nervous for Hartford and quite frankly the people and the deal they are being offered now and what they were promised is a lot better than what they will get if Hartford goes bankrupt," Gov. Dannel Malloy said. 

Hartford's budget is more than $600 million and it does rely on millions in state aid.

This month, the city moved one step closer to bankruptcy. It has started seeking proposals from law firms that specialize in chapter 9.

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