We Make Connecticut Happen

Local 269: Advocating for CT's Workers

Local 269 members Peter Raymo and Melva Falberg.

Every day AFSCME union members are working to put Connecticut residents back to work.

When job seekers need to take a course to brush up on their interview skills, they call Melva Falberg, an AFSCME Local 269 member who works for the state Department of Labor.

When employers are looking for qualified workers to fill an opening, they call Peter Raymo also an AFSCME Local 269 member who works for the state DOL.

That’s why Local 269 members recently met with staff for Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy to urge them to fund employment services and ensure that the money allocated to putting people back to work actually funds quality programs that produce results.

AFSCME union members have proposed several innovative ways of reforming the current employment services system to reduce duplication and improve services, but additional funding is needed to implement their ideas.

Melva and Peter are a part of a group of our members who have been closely following what’s happening in Washington with the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which funds much of their work for the state Department of Labor.

Over the past ten years, the federal Wagner-Peyser system, which supports the work of public employees, has been flat-funded, while WIA, which supports the work of non-profit and for-profit companies, has increased significantly.

WIA programs, however, are overly decentralized and lack strong oversight from the U.S. Department of Labor, leading to the privatization of our members’ jobs while failing to offer comprehensive assistance to those most in need.

In March, in a party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 803) that would end funding for the state’s employment services program as well as cut programs that help veterans find jobs and provide training assistance to workers whose jobs are shipped overseas.

“That’s the absolutely wrong fix and will make it harder to grow the economy,” said Local 269 President Blair Bertaccini.

The Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee has just started drafting their version of the legislation.

And our members are staying on top of what happens in the Senate to make sure the state is doing everything it can to help put people back to work and rebuild the middle class.

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