Saving Social Services in Torrington

L-R: Local 714 members Glenn Guerrera, Tina Churchill and Neil Winn , all from the Torrington DSS office.

When Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed two-year budget recommended closing the Torrington branch of the Department of Social Services, AFSCME Local 714 members mobilized to save their office, which serves more than 20 towns in Northwest Connecticut and assists thousands of vulnerable residents.

Their efforts paid off when the legislature reached agreement on a budget that included funds to keep Torrington DSS open.

Union members spoke out in opposition to the proposed closing through phone calls, emails, letters and personal visits with state legislators. They also collected hundreds of signatures on a petition. Members of Local 2663 (P-2) and 562 (NP-3 Clerical) also contributed to the team effort.

AFSCME members magnified their voice through an ad hoc alliance of local municipal officials, human service agencies and DSS clients themselves.

State Rep. Michelle Cook, whose district includes the local DSS branch, also proved a tremendous ally as she spearheaded legislative efforts to restore funding for the Torrington office.