Bill giving more time for local budgets hits snag in Senate

Governor's office calls for privatization of 40 group homes. (WFSB file photo)

The sweet benefits of a state union job could be coming to an end.

A proposal being discussed at the Legislative Office Building brought busloads of union workers to Hartford on Tuesday to fight for the pensions of future workers.

The proposal will open the door to potentially have future union employees pay into their retirement, and people impacted had a lot to say.

Frank Ricci, president of the New Haven firefighter’s union said “Firefighting is inherently dangerous and our members deserve to know they can retire with dignity.”

State Rep. Mike Bocchino (R-150) from Greenwich has made a proposal that would change the way contracts are negotiated forever.

Discussions about raises and everyday working conditions would still be fair game, but his proposal would eliminate the discussion of retirement benefits in future union negotiations.

He says it costs the cities and towns of Connecticut too much.

“We don't want to push the burden of the pension plans on the taxpayers which we are doing right now,” Bocchino said.

In some cases, union workers said they're already paying into their retirements.

“Our members in New Haven pay 11 percent into their pension and don't collect social security,” said Ricci, who represents New Haven firefighters.

Bocchino said he’s looking for parity statewide, and even nationwide.

“Our neighboring states of New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts all have the same types of removal of collective bargaining, so we're really the only state not doing so,” Bocchino said.

If you are currently a union employee, you'd be grandfathered in to whatever you're at now.

This would only affect new hires and some unions are worried this could negatively affect their ability to recruit.

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