ALERT/UPDATE: Arbitrator rules against Malloy Administration on significant retirement issue

Yesterday, I posted this blog about rumors spreading that the Malloy Administration has lost a massive arbitration ruling concerning the retirement incentive that was offered to some but not all state employees.  The details remain confusing.  An arbitration award or awards have certainly been made that require the state and SEBAC to negotiate and action to be taken by the State Retirement Commission.  I will update as details become available.   What is clear is that according to State employees knowledgeable  about the situation, there are employees who should have been given the opportunity to utilize retirement incentives, but were not given that opportunity and the problem must now be rectified.

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Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, word is spreading that the Malloy Administration has lost a massive arbitration ruling today.

Last summer, the Connecticut State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) filed a grievance against the Malloy Administration with the Connecticut Board of Labor Relations.

The complaint revolved around the Malloy Administration’s unilateral decision to
offer to certain employees the ability to retire with 25 years of service regardless of age.”  According to labor unions, Malloy’s representatives made this offer without fulfilling their bargaining responsibility with SEBAC and without making it available to all state employees.

At the time, SEBAC challenged Malloy’s action because it was;

“(1) Unfair to employees who learned about them, because it forced those employees to make a critical life-changing decision without full information or the opportunity to change their minds; and

(2) Unfair to the vast majority of employees, who management never informed about the offer at all and thus were never given any opportunity to decide.”

Union leaders demanded that the offer be made available to all eligible state employees and that employees be given an adequate time frame to make a decision.

The Malloy Administration refused and filed a State Prohibitive Practice complaint.

Apparently, earlier today, an arbitrator ruled against the Malloy Administration.

If true, the state may now be forced to negotiate a process to give all employees the ability to retire, regardless of age, as long as they have at least 25 years of service.

There are also rumors that the Malloy Administration lost on a second major issue related to the fact that it gave managers longevity bonuses when unionized employees went without those payments.

Stay tuned – more to come.

  • mookalaboona

    Of course, he does what he wants and thinks he can get away with it.

  • buygoldandprosper

    ANOTHER FAILURE by the Malloy administration?!
    I guess when you shoot from the hip,govern by soundbite,hire boot-lickers and continue to run for the next elected office things can go wrong.
    Add this to his list of nothing dones!
    What an amazingly impotent governor!

  • Sharon

    Are you kidding me??? I had 25+ years of state service last summer, and desperately wanted to retire before SEBAC forced me into the concession plan; but, I was 3-months too young to be eligible to retire at the time. ( I did retire 1-1-2012.) Now, you are saying some folks were allowed to before age 55 ? You can’t make this up. And now it is okay for others to go before 55 ? I guess I got shafted even more that I realized!

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  • Darnelle

    Yes. This is what I have heard at work. We have no details yet. I look forward to more information coming in soon.

    • jonpelto

      I’ll certainly post as soon as I can track down some of these rumors…

      I wish I had more to report….

  • Samual

    My union told me that we did win this as the arbitrator ruled in our favor. What we don’t know and have yet to be told is the details of what will be offered to us. In other words, we won but we don’t know WHAT it is exactly that we won. Lot’s of rumors and speculation flying around. I would think that union officials would come out with some concrete details on this important potentially life changing matter very soon.

    • jonpelto

      Thanks for adding some more information. I know it is a very important issue to a lot of people and it is frustrating when the rumors fly. A related rumor is that the State knows it will lose and is therefore engaging in negotiations. In either case, hopefully it will be resolved soon and I’ll certainly update the post when I’ve got any confirmed information.

      That said, hopefully you and others will add as they hear things.

  • Johng1957

    Our union delegate (AFSCME) told us today that Sebac and State officials have been at the table with the arbitrator. The arbitrator told the two parties to negotiate between themselves in good faith in an informal setting and try to come to an agreement on a fair resolution. The State did make a proposal that was rejected by Sebac. Sebac made a proposal that is now being vetted by the State. The two parties are miles apart as usual. If these negotiations blow up with no resolution then formal hearings with the arbitrator will take place. Rumors continue to float through the workplace at a fast and furious pace. No one seems to have a real grasp of the situation except those people at the negotiating table. Does anyone else know what’s going on specifically?

  • Phil

    The matter is currently being negotiated between the state and sebac. If they don’t agree then it goes to arbitratrion. Then the arbitrator will decide and that could take more than 1 year.

  • Janine Wilson

    I don’t think this will effect many people at all. People who are 50 and have 25 years of seniority are either tier 1 or tier 2 employees. The tier 1 folks are all close to retiring soon anyway. The tier 2 folks won’t take this deal because any penalty will reduce their retirement payments. The only people who will leave early will be those who hate their job so much that they will grab any deal to leave. Maybe some folks who are already financially well off enough that they can leave without worrying about taking a penalty for leaving early. The overwhelming majority of people who fall into the category of having 25 years of service will not take this or any other deal with or without a penalty. This is only going to effect a small sliver of State workers. The two sides should just settle soon and move on.

    • Will

      Well, it could effect plenty of people. Keep in mind we got burned by not being able to retire when Malloy’s “connected” people left early but not the lowly rank and file workers. I think the State should be penalized for not letting ALL workers eligible for this in on the deal. I mean what the heck is going on here? This sound like the Mitt Romney retirement plan. Let the rich big wigs go early and don’t even tell the poor regular line workers.

  • Trish

    This is good news. I hope more details come out soon. I for one will retire if this happens. Please let us know more.

  • Scezzer 2.0

    This thing is going to be settled soon. Weeks to months, tops. Sebac wins easily. The State should just settle now and suck it up. They blew it from day 1 when they pretty much shafted line workers by hiding the whole shebang from them. Face it, you got caught red handed Gov by letting your cronies get out early. Too bad it didn’t slip under the radar the way you wanted it to. Now that the light has shined on it you’re gonna have to shell out some serious bucks. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. We won’t be fooled again! After you sold the unions down the river last year it’s payback time my man. Get ready to pay the piper. Fair is fair. You lost, we won. Get over it Danny. LOL

    • jonpelto

      Going to print your comment out and tape to the wall!

      It is definitely a top ten piece….

      Pretty much sums up the whole situation!

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • perturbed

      @081119f79e8c3d69d92e3c46339e3baf:disqus,

      I’m always confused whenever someone characterizes the relationship between Malloy and the unions as adversarial. Malloy didn’t sell out the unions last year. They got together and sold out their members. Huge difference.

      That’s why it’s confusing why SEBAC would file a complaint on behalf of their members that would a) antagonize their partnership with Malloy (unless Malloy actually *wants* to accelerate the attrition of the state workforce, in which case this complaint and ruling does him a favor! Still no incentive that he was so opposed to, just an offer to leave with a pension gutted by early retirement penalties); and b) subject the unions to a loss of dues-paying members.

      What’s SEBAC got to gain?

      –perturbed

      PS: Ahhhh! I finally figured out that the tracker-blocking add-on “Ghostery” in Firefox has to be set to allow “Disqus” trackers to enable commenting on this website. Mystery solved.

  • CTWorker

    HEALTH INSURANCE? Jonathan, what about the health insurance those of us who weren’t aware of this offer missed out on? The folks who got out the door with this offer were able secure the “old” health insurance. If this offer were to be fair, it would also include the health insurance. Jonathan, have you heard anything on that? Thanks.

  • DPetrario

    The health insurance and yearly cost of living change from 3% to 2% a year should be considered in the remedy.
    The union independent didn’t inform their members of the early out until it was one day to late to put in your paper work with HR.

    • Jerry

      I am not referring to the health care part, but the penalty for leaving early part in my questions below.

      The BIG question is what exactly was the penalty that those workers who DID get to retire early face? What percentage did they get hit with per year? 1% per year? 2%. .5%. Does anyone know the answer to that question? It would solve a lot of the mystery here.

      • DPetrario

        I cannot remember exactly what the % is. I think it was 2.5% per each year you are away from 55 years old if you are tier 1. The other tiers are different. I retired December 1, 2011. I am trying to keep up with the out come of the complaint. The early out was offered through taking a voluntary layoff. The union contract states employees with 25 years of service can retire if they get laid off. The penalty calculation is in the union contract book. I would think the HR people and retirement division auditors would have calculated their pensions by the book.
        CEIU maintenance union officers signed off on six members stipulated agreements for voluntary layoffs before the deadline,  which was August 31,2011. I received all the information in the mail from the union September 1,2011. the day after the deadline. You think your disgusted. The unions don’t like early outs because they loose union dues.

        • perturbed

          @dpetrario:disqus,

          “The unions don’t like early outs because they loose union dues.”

          Exactly.

          I’d like to be a fly on the wall in these “negotiations.” SEBAC is probably arguing for the worst possible terms. The early retirement penalty would be critical. Would it still be 3% per year for Tier II? What would it be for Tier I? Did they even have an early retirement penalty?

          –perturbed

      • Bobbi

        For tier 1, it is 2% for every year you need to be 55 years old.

        • Gillian

          I hear the penalty will be 0%.

  • Bobbi

    I am so tired of trying to get updated information on this matter. We have been waiting over a year!

  • Bobbi

    My union leader told us the union has asked Jonathan Pelto to retract his story regarding the Malloy administration dated 9/25. The union said the story was untrue and the grievance is still pending.

    • John Merrium

      Then let Sebac put out a press release stating that.

      Everything I have heard from union officials is that the Pelto story is 100% accurate. Sebac and the Malloy administration should be more open to the public about these important matters. Do we really want another back room deal that gets sprung on us with no input or feedback from rank and file members? Why let Malloy and Sebac control our lives with such a complete disregard for what we as rank and file workers want? Why are they hiding these negotiations? Something doesn’t smell right here. We got toasted in last years ripoff. Let’s not let that happen again.

      Pelto is the only one around with the brass to stand up for rank and file union members. I commend his work on this blog and his fight for the people of Connecticut.

      • bobbi

        I agree with you 100%. I can’t imagine Jon posting something that is not true. I appreciate this blog, as state employees can keep each other updated.
        Two weeks ago, I e-mailed OLR and asked for information on this subject. The response was it was pending.

        • Oliver

          The office of labor relations will not get back to you on this. If they do it will be the equivalent of a form letter that is essentially meaningless. That’s how they roll.

  • Annie

    Me too!

  • Oona Malarkey

    Jonathon, It has been awfully quiet. I am hearing SEBAC and Gov Malloy’s administration are still negotiating. Have you heard anything?

    • jonpelto

      I believe that is correct. I realize that “negotiations” work best when the parties can put aside the grand-standing and roll up their sleeves but I continue to wonder if total secrecy is really in everyone’s best interest…

      • Jen

        They continue to engage in negotiations. People at work are very interested in the outcome. It seems like an easy thing to work out. It just shows how inefficient the State is when it comes to getting anything done.

  • bobbi

    I continue to get no info from the union leaders. I am concerned why the Union is not sharing with its members what is going on. What is there to negotiate???? The State must make it right. It should be cut and dry! We’re going on 13 months since this complaint was filed!

    • Malcolm Takki

      Yup. Union leaders are uncharacteristically quiet about this. We know they are negotiating. We don’t have a clue as to when this thing wraps up. It won’t effect too many people. But just the same it should be offered out of fairness.

  • bobbi

    I received word from a union rep. there should be an agreement signed by 12/1.

    • jonpelto

      To make matters more complex – despite Malloy saying – NEVER, EVER, EVER would he do an early retirement option – the fiscal problem is going to be so big that I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there is some type of early retirement incentive or perhaps he’ll propose a disincentive to stay – although I assume that would be harder to get SEBAC to agree too.

      • CTStateworker

        I think you are wrong on this Jon.

        From today’s article at CT Mirror.

        The governor acknowledged that he can’t count on another major concession package from unionized state employees, having received a deal in 2011 that protects most workers from layoffs through 2015.

        He categorically ruled out trying to reduce the workforce through an early retirement offer.

        A critic of paying extra incentives to encourage veteran state workers to retire — a move that cuts salary costs in the short term but drives up pension expenses even more over the long haul — Malloy said nothing has changed.

        “We don’t pay people to retire,” he said. “It further burdens the retirement system, which none of my predecessors funded properly.”

        It’s over folks. There will be no early retirement offer as long as Malloy is in office. Period.

        • jonpelto

          This is the administration that told people there was a $60 million deficit when it was heading toward $365 million.
          And is trying to figure out what to say faced with a $1.1 billion shortfall.
          When faced with another $120 in taxes or $120 in cuts to vital services -paying people to retire will be a slam dunk.
          they’ve known there was going to be a deficit of some magnitude next year – and a huge spending cap problem – and are acting like this is a shock.
          At this point, nothing they say sounds truthful.

          It is a sad commentary.

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • John

          I have to agree with Jonathan here. Governor Malloy has zero credibility on any budget issue since his inauguration. If he vows not to raise taxes and has specific spending caps that limit his ability to make drastic cuts then he has minimal options left on the table. So far he has been a monumental failure as governor. This coming from someone who enthusiastically voted for him.

    • David Portman

      This is what I am hearing as well. They HAVE to have an agreement otherwise the arbitrator will decide for them and neither side wants that, believe me. This is going to get really interesting really fast.

    • Wendal

      Bout time bro. This thing’s been draggin on way too long. Malloy and his henchmen shafted us last year and now we got him over a barrel. Good. Time to pay the piper Guv. Fair is fair.

    • Claire

      How solid is your information on this? You state “a union rep”. Does this “union rep” have credibility? Some union reps are superb and knowledgeable. Some don’t have a clue. Can you please expand on this information. If this is correct it will be very big news. I really want you to give us more information as to how this “union rep” would know this. What did the rep say specifically? You have got to give us a bit more here bobbi. Please. I know a ton of people who have been following this post because most other blogs and news outlets have yet to report on it even though negotiations are in fact taking place. It’s common knowledge. But I really need you to flesh out the details of how this “union rep” gave you this info. I respectfully ask you this as a very interested party that will be directly effected by what happens.

      Thank you.

      • Bobbi

        Sorry for the delay. I did not see your response to my mail. The union rep is Paul Fortier from SEBAC. I believe he is a VP. I e-mail often to get updates, and sometimes it takes a long while to get a response. I certainly hope he has credibility. I agree union delegates in our department are kept in the dark on this topic. In fact our former union organizer knew nothing about it either! This is why I try and communicate with the top leaders. All correspondence is by e-mail.
        Please understand the responses I receive are brief and these responses are what I share.
        I check this blog daily for new info and hope. I understand the outcome will affect many people. I am one of them.
        Hope this was helpful.

        • Janice S.

          Holy smokes! Paul Fortier! If that’s the case then this information you have is real. He is vice president of SEIU District 1199! He is a member of the CONNECTICUT STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION!!!! He’s the holy grail of connections to these negotiations. Now I am getting really excited about this. Boy oh boy…….now I am starting to get all revved up about retiring. Thank you Bobbi. This is great news! 🙂

    • Janine

      OK bobbi, it’s crunch time. The 12/1 deadline is close at hand. What do you know about it as of this point in time? Is a deal in the offing? Do tell. Please.

      • bobbi

        Janine,
        I e-mailed the union three times to get an update, only to get ignored! A co-worker was told by the union we will know something by the second week of Dec. Sorry I don’t have better news!

        • Serena

          Being ignored sounds believable. Keep pumping them for info Bobbi. I know so many people that have been monitoring this thread.

        • Oona Malarkey

          Bobbi, It seems you are our “point person.” We are depending upon you!!!

    • Rhonda Jo Petty

      Well Bobbi, it looks like whoever that union rep was got it wrong. 12/1 has been here and gone with no announcement. What the heck is going on here? This is important.

  • Maryemt44

    After reading all the comments I am struck by something that makes no sense to me. Why would anyone take an early retirement with a penalty? A penalty? That is ridiculous. Any other early retirement offer in the past has always included an incentive. Every. Single. One. As long back as I can remember, and that’s been a very long time folks, I have never seen an early retirement offered where the employee opting to take it was penalized. It just make no sense whatsoever. Who would take a deal like that? No one that’s who. I mean if you are a couple of years away from retiring and they say to you, Hey Mary, you can retire now instead of waiting 3 more years, but, for each year before your actual retirement date you are going to be penalized 2% per year. Mary would just say forget that and work the 3 years and collect her retirement with no penalty. Let me put it this way. If there is a penalty then no one will take this. If there is no penalty at all then plenty of people will go. That’s just common sense.

    • bobbi

      To respond to your posting: Thirteen months ago, The State offered SOME state employees a early retirement deal that required an employee having at least 25 years state service and willing to take a 2% hit for each year needed to turn 55. When other state employees learned of this, they were pretty upset. SEBAC filed a complaint on our behalf regarding this issue, as well as other matters. This was the deal offered in Sept. 2011, and may be the same offered this time too. We don’t know yet. In any case, it is up to the individual to decide if they want to leave early or not. I for one will take the offer. It may be a stupid offer to you, but not to me. My department is understaffed and privitization is written on the wall.

  • Bobbi

    Hi everyone,
    Rumors are flying today-3 year early retirement chip and retire 1/1/13! Anyone hear the same thing?

    • Jimbo

      I am starting to think you are just toying with us Bobbi.

      • bobbi

        I am sorry you are thinking that. It is true, I heard the rumor from my management team. If there is one place to share the rumors I hear regarding retirement, it is this site. We are all state employees working in different departments. I appreciate we can share what we hear and know. It has been very difficult getting info from union reps, and I’m frustrated. Yesterday afternnoon, I did receive a brief message from a union rep. the rumor was just a rumor. If you would like to e-mail me, I’d be happy to forward that message to you, so you can be assured I’m not “toying” with the readers.

        • jonpelto

          I took the comment differently – I thought they meant that would be such good news – you”re toying with us – meaning – it would be just to good to believe,
          As I said, I won’t be surprised at all – but the timing makes 1/1/13 premature – maybe 4/1

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • jonpelto

      I hadn’t heard that – put the deficit for next year is so large that there will undoubtedly be a lot of discussion about an early retirement incentive… that said, it would have to be voted on by the legislature which doesn’t take office until January and the massive hole really opens up on July 1… while it would be “helpful” to have another 2,000-3,000 state employees “abandon ship” sooner than July 1, the way the budget process works hanging around till then doesn’t hurt that much.

  • Oona Malarkey

    It has been awfully quiet again. I am anticipating December 1st and a signed agreement with the state. Has ANYONE HEARD ANYTHING?

  • Mark 5

    Ok folks, fasten your safety belts. We are in for a bumpy ride. Here is what I know right now. Union delegates at the rank and file level are telling coworkers and passing out flyers stating that an agreement has in fact been reached. To quote one delegate, “we didn’t get everything we wanted but we are going to settle this case now to avoid having the arbitrator settle it”. To confuse matters even further, one delegate was asked point blank, “what is in the agreement”. That delegate answered, “I am not even sure there is an agreement, they might be getting ready to tell us that we are at an impasse”. In other words, different people in the union are saying different things. The one common thread however is that high ranking union leaders are saying that “eligible members will not be happy with the outcome of the talks”. These union officials are bracing members for “news that they will not like”. That is something that several union delegates have said in several locations all over the state of Connecticut. So bad news is coming. No one, and I mean no one anywhere in Connecticut at the lower levels in the delegate hierarchy knows a single solitary thing about the details in the forthcoming agreement. The final deal between Sebac and the state are known by a handful of tight lipped people who thus far have not leaked a word. Meetings in numerous locations all over Connecticut are scheduled for early this coming week where higher ranking union personnel will be laying out the details of the agreement. We have beefed braced for bad news. Why Sebac would willingly accept a bad deal is an open question

  • Bobbi

    First, I’d like to say how appreciative I am for J.Pelto’s blog site. This is the only place I can get information from regarding the early retirement grievance. My phone calls and e-mails to the union have been ignored. I read some of you reported you have scheduled meetings with your union reps next week. I work for DDS, and have not heard a peep about any meeting. The “In This Together” web site for union members has not been updated in a year!!!! Talk about frustration.

    $60.00 per month for union dues is a lot to pay when one cannot get a return phone call or an e-mail. I am truly disgusted.

    Keeping us hanging for 14 months is uncalled for!

    I fear some of these most recent rumors are true. If employees were allowed to retire early with a 2% hit for each year needed to be 55, then we should be offered this same deal or better. How could it be worst than that and be fair at the same time????

    I wish us all good luck as this unfolds.

    • Sonny

      Weird. I work for DEP and we have not heard a word about this. Union reps here say they have no information to give us. They know nothing about a meeting this week. My delegate called the regional organizer and she said there are no meetings scheduled for this week and she has not heard about the negotiations being completed. So I am in the same boat as Bobbi. My reps don’t know a thing and no meeting.

      • Rick R.

        Good grief. I am in the dark on this whole damn thing. Longtime DOT worker out of New Haven. Bobbi may as well have written this for me. I don’t know a thing and can’t find out either. My union delegate says there is no news coming out this week. I went over her head and emailed Hartford a few times. Not even a response. I called my organizer and he said he has not heard a word and didn’t know what I was talking about. I truly believe there is no agreement. If there was it would be in the paper and on TV.

  • Bobbi

    I e-mailed the Labor Dept. last night and asked if the early retirement grievance has been settled yet. I was surprised to find the Labor Dept. replied back at 11:12 p.m. They said they were hopeful it would be resolved in a couple of weeks. I am going to believe this to be true. They could have blown me off like the union does with my e-mails and voice mails, and they did not. I hope my feelings prove to be true and all of these rumors can be put to rest.

  • jonpelto

    State/SEBAC retirement settlement finally reached…http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/03/11/statesebac-retirement-settlement-finally-reached/