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Group of assistant attorneys general cite “immediate threat to their rights,” file petition to force secret ballot

Five assistant attorneys general filed a petition with the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations today in an effort to force a vote on unionization by secret ballot before the board recognizes a new union in the Attorney General’s Office.

The AAGs claim that failure to hold a secret ballot would violate their “fundamental and statutory right to oppose unionization.” The petitioners claim that no other group, including their employer, would defend them on their stated issues they face “a substantial and immediate threat” to their rights to oppose unionization.

The petition is seeking declaratory judgement from CSLRB that all attorneys general are “managerial employees,” and therefore not eligible for collective bargaining. However, if the CSLRB determines the attorneys general can unionize, the petition seeks an election by secret ballot so those who are opposed can exercise their rights to not join the union.

The petition comes on the heels of comments by AFL-CIO Connecticut President Lori Pelletier calling for Jepsen to approve the union without a vote. At a Sept. 2 Labor Day “unity meeting” Pelletier claimed that 65 percent of the attorneys “signed the card” and labelled a secret ballot as “unnecessary” and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The petitioners state that assistant attorney generals are not able to form a union because they constitute management and supervisory roles. The petition requests the CSBLR recognize their managerial status and make them exempt from collective bargaining.

Assistant attorneys general are divided among four levels. An AAG-1 is an attorney just starting in the agency while an AAG-4 is the highest level. The petitioners are all AAG3’s and AAG4’s. According to the petition, “all assistant attorneys general are managerial employees as a matter of fact and a matter of law.”

Connecticut statute 5-270(g) defines “managerial employees” as those who are responsible for directing a sub-unit, development and implementation of goals, formulating policy and making major personnel decisions.

The Connecticut Department of Administrative Services job specification for the lowest class of an assistant attorney general states that an AAG-1 “works more independently with acquired experience” and “may lead employees of a lower grade.”

An informal conference between the CSBLR and the AFT was scheduled for Tuesday morning to determine whether there is sufficient interest in forming a union and if there will be secret ballot election.

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Marc E. Fitch

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