During last year’s gubernatorial campaign, Connecticut’s state employee unions mobilized their members with the powerful message that a vote for Democrat Dannel Malloy was the only way to prevent Connecticut from having a “Wisconsin Moment,” a reference to Republican Tom Foley’s comments in support of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on public employees and their rights.
As the state employee unions wrote in a commentary piece that appeared in a summer 2014 on CT Newsjunkie entitled Union Members Not Interested in ‘Wisconsin Moment’
The last thing we need is a Koch Brothers-funded campaign to transform Connecticut into Walker’s Wisconsin.
AFSCME’s newsletter further explained,
“Preventing a “Wisconsin moment” from taking place in Connecticut was the prevailing theme of the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s 10th biennial political convention that took place June 16-17 in New Haven.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders electrified the more than 300 union delegates to the convention with his keynote address on June 16. “We can’t afford Connecticut to become another Wisconsin.”
Hours after Saunders’ speech, Gov. Malloy declared “We’re going to have a ‘Connecticut moment!’” in contrast to Republican endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s call last year for a “Wisconsin moment.”
In response, Connecticut’s state employees gave Malloy the votes he needed to stay in the Governor’s Office for a second term.
Now, a year later, faculty at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and Connecticut State University (CSU-Board of Regents) have become prime targets in the Malloy Administration’s attempt to push through some of the very policy changes that have been championed by the appropriately vilified Scott Walker.
The Malloy administration’s proposals to remove shared academic governance at the University of Connecticut and destroy tenure protections at Connecticut State Universities by repealing the requirement of declaring financial exigency prior to laying off tenured faculty are exactly the policy outcomes contained in Wisconsin Act 55, which Scott Walker signed into law this past July.
With Governor Malloy facing a massive fiscal budget crisis that is of his own making, discussions between the state and its state employee unions about salary compensation are to be expected, but the Malloy administration’s outrageous proposals at UConn and the Board of Regents have nothing to do about salary or compensation and everything to do with undermining the most fundamental elements of academic institutions and collective bargaining.
Driven by arrogance, ignorance and an anti-science, right-wing agenda, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is intent on destroying the University of Wisconsin, one of the nation’s leading public universities.
Malloy’s Team is now pushing similar policies here in Connecticut.
As UConn faculty learned last week, a new proposal from Malloy’s political appointees on the UConn Board of Trustees would repeal UConn’s system of shared governance.
Not only would the plan remove faculty involvement on issues related to “appointment, non-reappointment, tenure, promotion, dismissal, academic standards, budgeting, organizational structure and selection, direction and evaluation of personnel,” but it would allow management to “implement any type of post-tenure review, or evaluation process” without any mechanism for the appropriate involvement from the union that represents faculty.
The American Association of University Professors reported that the proposal would, “undo 100 years of partnership between UConn AAUP and the administration.”
The issue is astonishingly similar to what is presently taking place at the University of Wisconsin (See: AAUP Statement on Developments in the University of Wisconsin System)
Malloy’s administration is engaged in the very same effort at Connecticut State University (Central, Southern, Eastern and Western,) where Governor Malloy’s Chief of Staff was recently appointed to the position of President of the Connecticut Board of Regents.
For the details contained in the anti-union, anti-faculty proposals at the Board of Regents, read The Malloy Administration’s stunning attack on unions, professors and the future of Connecticut State University and The national Academe Blog asks – Is Dannel Malloy – A Democratic Scott Walker?
There is absolutely no question that the Malloy administration’s proposals at UConn and the CSU-Board of Regents are fundamentally anti-union and anti-State Employee.
This isn’t about making minor changes in governance structure or contract provisions.
What Malloy’s Team is pushing is the most serious attack on state employees and their unions since Connecticut adopted a system of collective bargaining more than 40 years ago.
In a few weeks, in addition to his duties as Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy will be taking the helm of the Democratic Governors Association.
With recent trips to Florida and New Hampshire, Malloy has already been traveling the nation to speak on behalf of the national Democratic Party.
However, if Malloy was seriously interested and committed to building support for the Democratic Party across the United States he would ensure that these anti-union, anti-state employee and anti-university faculty proposals were withdrawn and torn-up.
Instead we really are left to ask if Dannel Malloy really is nothing more than a Democratic version of Scott Walker.