Connecticut was one of sixteen states that saw an increase in the number of union members. The percentage of workers represented by labor unions grew from 17.4 percent in 2015 to 18.4 percent in 2016. Nationally, the rate of unionization fell. There was a dramatic 61 percent increase in the number of people who decline union membership while still being represented by a union for collective bargaining - sometimes known as agency fee payers.
Faced with mounting retiree healthcare costs, Connecticut towns are making changes to get out of the healthcare business altogether. Matt Gallagan, town manager of South Windsor, said they no longer provide health benefits for retirees. Instead retirees can purchase a health plan through the town. South Windsor is one of several towns and cities that have moved away from providing long-term health benefits for their retirees.
Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and the Hartford Courant have recently called attention to legislators using mileage reimbursement to increase their compensation and pad their pensions. There were 251 working days in 2015. Legislators who received mileage reimbursement claimed anywhere from 1 to 245 trips from their hometown to the capitol. Yankee Institute obtained the mileage and reimbursement figures for all state senator and representatives through a Freedom of Information request.
In its administrative report to the governor, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, which is tasked with investigating claims of discrimination in employment and housing, claimed that it had “the best production rate" of any similar agency by securing $10,250,000 in discrimination settlements from employers and property owners during FY16. But some employers and property owners liken the CHRO's practices to “extortion” and claim they are forced to settle with claimants to avoid a longer and more costly fight.
Payments awarded to state employees through a 2015 SEBAC settlement includes a 5 percent interest rate from the date of loss in 2003. Due to the size of the settlement and the number of claims to be processed some payments are delayed and will result in accruing more interest, adding to the financial burden taxpayers must cover.
As Gov. Dannel Malloy delivered his state of the state address, which highlighted Connecticut’s growing deficit problem, the Office of Fiscal Analysis released it second-quarter report on state agency overtime spending. So far, Connecticut agencies - particularly the Department of Correction - have spent 14.7 percent less on overtime payments than the second quarter of last year. The DOC is consistently the biggest driver of overtime but managed to reduce their payments by $8.2 million.