Chambers looking to legislature for changes to collective bargaining agreements and awards

The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, the second largest chamber in Connecticut, through its Legislative Action Committee, is issuing a directive to the 14 legislators that represent the seven towns and cities in the chamber regarding the approval of Collective Bargaining Agreements and Awards.

In a press release, the chamber explained state employee salaries and benefits account for approximately 38% of the state budget. Under current statutory law, the Collective Bargaining Agreements are deemed approved if the General Assembly fails to reject them within 30 days after one is filed with the General Assembly. This practice has allowed our elected representative to avoid taking direct responsibility for approving or rejecting these agreements, said the press release.

In its Dec. 22 meeting, the chamber’s press release explained, the Legislative Action Committee of the chamber voted unanimously to request the first order of business in the Jan. 4 opening session is  to repeal the deemed approved provision in General Statutes 5-278b and require the roll call vote approval of all collective bargaining agreements and Awards.

“We believe that this is the most urgent item on the agenda for the General Assembly and must be addressed on Jan. 4,” stated Paul S. Lavoie, Chairman of the CCCC Legislative Action Committee in the press release. “Our members voted loud and clear to direct our local legislators to take up this issue and vote to ensure that all CBA’s and awards must be submitted to the General Assembly for a roll call vote for approval,” concluded Lavoie.

Cindy Scoville, president and CEO of the chamber, stated in the press release, “We recognized the value of our state employees and the benefit they provide for our business community, however in order for Connecticut to begin on the path to recovery, we need to ensure that all of our CBA’s and awards get the full attention of our elected officials. We need to ensure that these agreements are fully reviewed and vetted to ensure they are cost effective and fair to all involved.”

The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce includes the Chambers of Plymouth, Burlington, Bristol, Bloomfield, Farmington, Plainville, and Wolcott.