Connecticut's Malloy Strikes Tentative Deal With Public Employees

By Joseph De Avila Features Dow Jones Newswires

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration agreed to a raft of concessions with public-sector unions, including a three-year wage freeze, in a deal that would help close the state's budget deficit, the governor's office said Monday.

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Under the preliminary deal, state employees would be required to chip in more for retirement and health care. The agreement also includes a no-layoff provision that lasts for four years and extends health and retirement benefits through 2027.

"It is clear that the gains our unions have made in the past are at significant risk," the state's largest public-sector union, Council 4 Afscme, said in a statement. "These agreements provide a level of security for members, our families, co-workers and the public we serve in a time of great uncertainty."

Mr. Malloy threatened thousands of public-sector layoffs unless the unions agreed to $700 million in concessions for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The deal will save the state $24 billion over the next 20 years, according to an analysis from the administration's pension and health-care consultants.

"Connecticut's state budget needs serious people willing to make serious change," Mr. Malloy said. And union leadership "has answered the call."

The rank-and-file members of 34 bargaining units must now vote on the deal in the coming days. Council 4 Afscme urged its members to endorse the accord.

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Connecticut has less than a week to strike a budget deal as it seeks to eliminate a $5.1 billion deficit for the next two fiscal years. The new fiscal year begins Saturday, and the Malloy administration has taken preliminary steps to keep the state government running in case lawmakers fail to pass a spending plan by Friday evening.

Republicans in Hartford criticized the deal for not pushing unions far enough. Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano had proposed seeking even more savings though additional collective bargaining negotiations.

Write to Joseph De Avila at joseph.deavila@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 26, 2017 15:26 ET (19:26 GMT)