Union negotiator: Agreement with Malloy best in the country

  • Updated: June 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM by Zachary Janowski

SEBAC Q&A at the Armory Hour 1 from Union Info on Vimeo.

Workers around the country are envious of Connecticut state employees according to their lead negotiator.

Daniel Livingston, chief negotiator for the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition, said other unions want to learn how to imitate their success negotiating with Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Livingston told a meeting of state employees Saturday he would be going to a national meeting of union leaders to teach them, according to three videos posted online by union officials.

“I wasn’t invited there because of me. I was invited there because of you all and what this agreement stands for and what you all helped achieve,” he said. “It is unknown in this country. They want to know how we did it.”

The tentative agreement, according to Malloy, contains $1.6 billion in union concessions. Legislative Republicans, the Office of Fiscal Analysis and others have called the value of the concession deal into question. The Malloy administration has only provided documents to support $1 billion of the total.

Livingston, a lawyer with Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly in Hartford, said he was mad at Malloy, but also explained why Malloy had to make the tentative agreement sound worse than it is for state employees.

He said the agreement stands out because of four years promised job security and 11 years of healthcare and pension guarantees, plus future wage increases. According to Livingston, the agreement also increases pensions for Tier II and Tier IIA employees and changes a rule that could have prevented workers from spiking their pensions.

“Now we have an 11-year agreement. I wish it was still 20,” Livingston said. “But 11 years is still unheard of in the country. There’s no one else with an 11-year pension and healthcare agreement. You all, if you ratify this, have security that no other state worker in the country has, and I’d venture to say no other private sector workers.”

Livingston said the negotiators refused to talk with Malloy without a promise of job security.

“The agreement that you’re reviewing has four years job security. Nowhere else in the country will you find four years job security,” he said. “Nowhere else in the country will you find workers who know they won’t be laid off for four years no matter what happens. You don’t pick up the paper like we all did yesterday morning and say, ‘Oh my God, job growth is down to 54,000 for the entire country. They’re talking about a double dip recession. I wonder if I’m going to lose my job next month or next year.’ You guys don’t have to say that.”

According to Livingston, the unions wanted to extend the SEBAC contract – a 20-year agreement dating back to 1997 – to avoid losing benefits when it expired. He said the agreement guarantees retiree healthcare – which would have ended in 6 years – until 2022.

“That benefit was scheduled to disappear in 2017,” he said. “Retiree healthcare is the benefit that everybody has in this room that virtually nobody else in the country has. Retiree healthcare is the benefit that we were most afraid we would lose in 2017.”

“Six years from now they can change pension benefits. Six years from now they could not even negotiate pension benefits if the legislature changed the law as they’re doing in many states throughout the country,” Livingston said. “We said, ‘We’re not going to talk to you if only six years from now you can screw us.’”

“We wanted to change the healthcare structure somewhat,” Livingston explained. “And what we did with healthcare was all our idea. What the Governor wanted to do was totally different.”

“But more importantly, in 2017, if anybody thinks that without this agreement we would be able to say to people in this room, ‘If you retire after 2017 you’re going to keep free retiree healthcare for life.’ I want to know what you were smoking in the ‘60s – never mind,” Livingston said. “It wasn’t going to happen.”

Livingston said the union leaders told Malloy, “We’re not signing up for wage freezes and then guesses about what’s going to happen next.”

He said the agreement calls for no increase for the next two years and then 3 percent increases for the following three years.

“Giving up the raise this year, that’s a sacrifice,” said Livingston. “Anybody who tells you it’s not a sacrifice is full of it. It’s a sacrifice. I get it. It sucks.”

“Giving up the raise next year, in the second zero, I think we all know in the room there wasn’t any raise next year except for one very, one of our smallest units. Everybody else next year was going to get a zero from arbitrators in the middle of this economic and fiscal crisis. And then getting three threes in a row in the three out years, anybody who doesn’t think that’s a win, I don’t know what to say,” Livingston said. “Arbitrators around the country are ordering four zeros in many cases.”

Livingston said the unions have been trying to fix a problem with the Tier II breakpoint since 1981, when it was first negotiated, and the tentative agreement accomplishes that goal.

“And what it means is we’re actually going to improve pensions for current state workers starting in 2013,” he said. “Now, the governor doesn’t exactly report it that way in the press because of the whole shared sacrifice, etc.”

Livingston said previous administrations violated the SEBAC agreement – to the benefit of state employees – by treating voluntary overtime the same way as mandatory overtime when calculating pensions.

“They could have changed it at any moment, which means that the pensions of a lot of people in this room could have been lowered. So we got language included which will protect people in this room from that happening by raising that cap,” he said. “The bottom line is we changed things to prevent people in this room from having their pensions lowered unilaterally by the Governor, because the Governor could have done that and been in compliance with the agreement.”

Livingston said the negotiators tried to make avoidable changes to healthcare and pensions. For example, state employees can avoid paying higher premiums if they join a wellness program and they can avoid increased pension penalties if they retire at the normal age.

He said the pension changes were the most difficult.

“It’s the part that we almost walked away from the table as late as the night we actually reached the framework,” Livingston said. “The Governor wanted to raise everybody’s retirement age in this room three years – instantly – as of July 1. If you didn’t retire by July 1 everybody would have to work three years longer.”

Livingston said the union negotiators also worked to remove incentives to privatize state jobs.

“You all helped convince the Governor that war with state employee unions was a path to mutually assured destruction and it’s a war he did turn away from, assuming that you all decide that the tentative agreement is something that you vote for,” Livingston said.

“There are some people in this room mad at the Governor,” Livingston said. “There’s nobody madder at Dan Malloy than I am and the other people sitting up on this platform.”

“And if this, if we were judging whether to talk to you all, whether to bring you a tentative agreement based on whether or not we were mad a Dan Malloy, we wouldn’t be here.”

Livingston said he learned an important lesson from his dad who was part of the union movement all of his life.

“But he taught me that you never back down from a fight just because you’re afraid, but you never take a fight just ‘cause you’re mad. It’s easy to take a fight just ‘cause you’re mad. It’s not about whether you’re angry. It’s not about whether you’re afraid. It’s about what the right thing to do for the members that you represent.”

Livingston said 14 of the 15 voting units within SEBAC have to ratify the agreement by majority vote for it to have effect. AFSCME approval is also required because it is large enough to veto the agreement even if it is the sole union opposed.

“If this deal gets voted down there will be chaos, I will tell you that. There will not be a budget,” Livingston said. “It would take something like 12,000 to 15,000 layoffs to balance the budget.”

joeynot says:

CT is now set to become Michigan East.

Sure, Livingston’s a great negotiator–What a loud of crap. Everyone knows Malloy was not actually elected; the election was stolen by the Dems & the Unions and the CT SecState covered up for him.

It doesn’t matter what the contract says. CT is almost broke now, and will be bankrupt in 3 or 4 years max. When that happens, all contracts are null and void–including those for retirees. And there won’t be any federal money to cover it either, or Dems in power nationally to distribute it if there were.

Nicholsongw says:

Here’s the guy who needs teeth cleaning twice a year and an annual colonoscopy who would actually enjoy it. This stupid burned out Yalie has no idea what is going on! Better start looking for another stupid liberal union to represent….

pgilmore says:

To all state employees the comment below is nothing but fraud this is a republican or tea partier trying to have you believe sustinet is part of the plan it is not. I am a state worker for DEP for fifteen years and my concern is for myself and fellow workers whom I consider like family at work. The deal you have been presented with is exact and real NO SUSTINET and yes this is the best deal in the country because Malloy is a believer of collective bargaining. Every worker has a vote and I’m not here to tell you how to vote but make sure you vote on the agreement your union has presented and don’t buy into the comments telling you to vote no. If a state worker tells there fellow brother or sister to vote no or yes they are trying to take your right away to do what’s best for you. In the end this decision will effect all of us I campained hard for Malloy because I knew he would allow us to collective bargain and have the ability to vote for our future. We all knew concessions were coming whether it was Foley or Malloy the difference being Foley doesn’t support the unions . Please vote on the agreement in front of you and go to the informational meetings and make your decision based on facts. You want to vote no, vote no when you have the facts instead of listening to some clown posing as Dan Luciano. GOOD LUCK TO ALL STATE AND LOCAL EMPLOYEES

informational meetings

easypolls.netctmirror.orgcga.ct.goveasypolls.netctmirror.orgcga.ct.govNancy Wyman & Sal Luciano indicate that my email name does not appear in the state employee directory. Nancy Wyman also indicated in her 6/3/11 email that my email did not originate from a .gov domain. Our personnel officer sent a memo warning employees on using state email inappropriately. In the meanwhile AFSCME staff & Nancy are allowed to try to jam their views down your throat! Do they think I am stupid enough to use my real name and send emails from my .gov email?!
Please vote NO on this offer! I have heard and seen the details. I would take a layoff before this lousy offer. We have a contract through 6/30/12. Retirement and medical changes are also not reasonable. We will not get the answers before we vote. Do not trust answers or opinions from the staff reps who are trying to get your union dues and keep their jobs. Their interests are way different than yours! Furthermore, the Sustinet Plan was developed by the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT, Inc. Guess who is on the Board of Directors for that foundation? Sal Luciano, president of AFSCME, Council 4, also sits on the Board of Directors of SustiNet. It would appear that the Head Negotiator, Dan Livingston is on the Board of Directors of CHART (Connecticut Health Advancement and Research Trust) of Connecticut. I’m not sure how the negotiations could have been considered to be “performed in good faith” and truly on the behalf of State Employees when at least two negotiators have what may be conflcits of interest directly tied to their Positions on Boards of Directors and their positions in negotiations for our State employees. ( I do not know if these are legal conflicts of interest .)
http://wisdomovertime.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sebac-2011-and-possible-conflicts-of-interest-of-union-negotiators/
House Bill 6305, Sustinet Bill, on House Calendar.
Get informed before you make a decision, this is the “value health plan” that our union is pushing. Section 5 of the bill gives the Sustinet Plan Authority the right to solicit bids and choose providers. Section 11: They have the right to “implement, modify and supplement the delivery system and payment reforms”. Also, “the bill directs the authority to strongly encourage the use of the patient-centered medical care by implementing primary care case management (PCCM) and patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) for Sustinet Plan members”. According to their Patient Centered Home Advisory Committee, as of March 9, 2011, there are only 82 PCMH’s in CT. Their own report states that “CT lags far behind neighboring states in the number of PCMH’s available to residents.”

Guess who else will be in the Sustinet Plan? Husky Part A and B, Husky Plus, and Charter Oak. Also, this bill started in the legislature in February, 2011. It clearly talks about the agreement between SEBAC and the state (Section 6 of the bill).

OBVIOUSLY, this was some back door deal done months ago by SEBAC and the state without our knowledge. Get informed before you vote and then VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who came up with the idea to get prescriptions saved by out-of-state (CVS) mail-order? This is taking business away from Connecticut pharmacies and may cost small pharmacies their business!
I am Tier 2 and was supposed to get a 2.5% raise July 1, 2011 and then another lump sum in January, 2012. If this passes I will not get either. We have had zero & zero raises for the past two years. This offer is for 0-0-3-3-3 but the final 3 we may never see since it is after the no layoff guarantee ends. I would not be surprised if the state asked for concessions again in 4 years. Even if it does pass and we get the 3% raise eventually, it will be soon a “wash” because we are going to be required to start paying 3% into our retiree healthcare fund starting 7/1/14.
ANYONE who plans on retiring by 7/1/2017 will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
ANYONE in Tier2 & TIER 2a who PLANNED on retiring at 55 will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language regarding the EARLY RETIREMENT Penalty and other language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
ANYONE in TIER 2 & TIER 2a who PLANNED on retiring at 60 or 62 and NOW will have to work the extra years will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
The only thing we can bargain away and then get back later is jobs. Vote NO, healthcare and pension are most likely LOST FOREVER once we give them up.
http://votenotoconcessions.com/
We have a medical contract through 2017! Do not be foolish. Furlough days would save money much quicker. We can do much better than this with Plan B, C or D. VOTE NO PLEASE

http://www.easypolls.net/poll.html?p=4dd43f36f7828ee0151f2d3f
lets see where we stand… vote NO. Show them we mean business. Do not toy with our future. Protect our current contract. It’s ours.

Credits to: Pdg | May 26, 2011
In May of 2009 I was promised a piece of cheese by Governor Rell. She said that if I was a good worker and did my part to help out everyone I could get some cheese in 3 years. I waited 3 years. I took furlough days. I cut back. I made the same amount of money while everything got more expensive. I wanted to buy things for my family, but I couldn’t. I knew my cheese was getting closer; things were going to get better when I got my cheese. Now the new Governor says you can’t have the cheese yet. Governor Malloy says he is going to move the cheese away for another 2 years AND when you finally do get the cheese it’s going to be a smaller piece. It’s going to be smaller because he wants to have a billion dollar surplus, and he wants to spend 900 million on a Uconn health center and he want to spend 90 million on a busway. What is stopping him from moving my cheese again in 2 or 3 years? I want my promised cheese. Please Vote NO.
Credits to: perturbed | May 30, 2011
Any state employee that, after reading the “2011 Agreement Framework,” still plans to vote yes is probably just too young to worry about health care, defined benefit retirement plans, and whether or not their best retirement years will be spent working to make up for what will now be permanently lost.
SustiNet SUPPORTERS SAY THE BILL REPRESENTS CONCRETE STEPS TOWARD THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL, OFFERING A STATE-RUN INSURANCE PLAN TO THE PUBLIC.”
http://www.ctmirror.org/story/12743/sustinet-compromise-bill-passes-house
From the bill:
Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Comptroller shall not offer coverage under the state employee plan pursuant to sections 2 to 5, inclusive, of this act until the State Employees’ Bargaining Agent Coalition has provided its written consent to the clerks of both houses of the General Assembly to incorporate the terms of sections 1 to 6, inclusive, of this act into its collective bargaining agreement.
http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=6308&which_year=2011&SUBMIT1;.x=0&SUBMIT1;.y=0&SUBMIT1=Normal
Also:
Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of title 38a of the general statutes, the Comptroller shall offer coverage under the state employee plan to nonstate public employers, municipal-related employers, small employers and nonprofit employers and their respective retirees…
Sec. 3.(a)(2)(C) The Comptroller shall consult with a health care actuary who shall develop actuarial standards to be used to assess the shift in medical risks of an employer’s employees to the state employee plan. The Comptroller shall present such standards to the Health Care Cost Containment Committee for its review and evaluation prior to the use of such standards.
[Sec. 3.(b)(3) and Sec. 4.(b)(3) have similar provisions for estimating the ADDED BURDEN TO THE STATE PLAN.]
Is it just coincidence that the SustiNet bill made it to the legislature when the state/SEBAC agreement, with its huge, long-term pension and health care concessions to the Malloy administration, is being forced upon state workers? Even considering that fervent SustiNet supporters “negotiated” the deal for SEBAC?
—perturbed
So recently the Malloy Administration and Unions did their utmost to show State Employees that we are not getting a healthcare plan by the name of SustiNet. (you can read of the name changes in the future) In a move to squelch the SustiNet information read about by State Employees on State Websites and other blogs. the House, on June 3rd, 2011 “recommitted” the SustiNet Bill HB 6305 to the Human Services Committee. This essentially took the Bill “off the table” for the Legislative session(which ended June 8th….and thereby “technically” it’s out the picture during the SEBAC voting process. There is no word how quickly this can resurface next session

Paul Bartomioli says:

Livingston is not egotistical. He does what he is paid to do, quite well, thank you. As with such negotiations, the side that represents the wallet, that would be our side, brings in its best & brightest.

The Union, brings in PROFESSIONALS. Spent my developmental years watching the Teamsters in action. Nothing has changed, except that the PROS have gotten much better, and our side is functionally illiterate. Look at any public contract and compare what you pay for healthcare, retirement, etc to what is “negotiated in good faith.”

Karen says:

What an egotistical man. We have made sold out by these sebac fools. What good is a contract if it is not honored? We have a perfectly good one until 2017. What makes one think that this one (if voted yes, which I doubt) will be honored either. There is too much smoke and mirrors in this agreement and Malloy’s budget. When Malloy doesn’t get the total 1.6 billion in savings, he will remain the bully he is now and strip of us of whatever we have left in a couple of years. Frankly, I am ashamed of the unions and our Democratic leaders. I am ashamed to say I am a resident of CT. Can’t wait to leave this state, once I am able to.

Paul Bartomioli says:

State employees taking a screwing in healthcare?? When they pay 40% of premiums, they join the real world.
Malloy LIED
Unions LIED
I am part of the 9.2% unemployed. Wonder when it will hit 10%?
IF the rank and file are dumb enough to vote this down, they should be laid off. They are obviously too stupid to function in any job

Mjshks says:

I wonder what is truly bigger here. The screwing the state employees are taking in their health care, the lies the union people are telling or the ego of Dan Livingston. How does this man ethically represent union rank and file while his real agenda is his political leanings toward universal health care and his arrogance in selling hard working people out to achieve it. Also look at his teeth does the union office have a dental plan. Yuck.

Sheep says:

votenotoconcessions.com

Tiggerk2 says:

If this passes I will either:
A. Get a second job because I will not be able to live within my means (single person paying a mortgage by myself!)
B. Save money by dropping the health insurance part or
C. Move out of state

Tiggerk2 says:

what a joke!