'24 Legislative session brings wins for Council 4 workers

The Connecticut General Assembly ended their legislative session on May 8. Although this year was a “short” session, the gains made in getting laws passed that protect Council 4 members’ bargaining rights, working conditions, pay, health care, and retirement security were anything but short.

Plenty of Council 4 members testified during public hearings and even more attended this year’s Lobby Day on April 17 or wrote to their legislators to pass certain bills. They worked in tandem with the Council 4 Legislative and Political team led by Brian Anderson and Zak Leavy to achieve significant wins for working people across the state.

Click here to see photos from Council 4’s 2024 Lobby Day

Here are highlights from the 2024 legislative session:

Budget Wins

  • Extended the time frame for aid to distressed municipalities and made some small increases to these municipalities. This has the potential to support municipal members at the bargaining table.
  • An agreement between the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) and Lamont administration was approved by the legislature for the 2024-2025 wage reopener for 45,000 state employees represented by 35 bargaining units (9 of which are Council 4 state locals). State employees will receive a 2.5% general wage increase and step increase starting July 1, 2024.

Health Care/FMLA

  • $5 million to assist paraeducators with reimbursement for HSA/HDHP health care plans and continues the program another year. Another $5 million was added to help paraprofessionals with premium costs who are enrolled in health plans that are not HSA or in the Partnership Plan. This will help lower the cost for health insurance as many paraprofessionals have premiums as high as 20 percent. Statutory language was also changed to now refer to paraprofessionals as paraeducators and properly recognize their role as educators.
  • All non-certified school staff will now qualify for FMLA coverage at a 950 hourly threshold as opposed to a higher threshold. Typically, non-certified school staff are school support staff without a professional certification such as secretaries, custodians, paraprofessionals, and cafeteria workers.
  • Department of Corrections employees are now covered under the peer support team confidentiality law that already existed for police officers. This change helps to eliminate a barrier for correctional employees to participate in PTSD treatment support teams and ensure they receive the mental and emotional support needed to reduce the high rates of stress they consistently face on the job.

Retirement Security for Municipal Employees

  • Legislation passed that works towards making the CMERS pension more accessible for towns and cities that currently do not provide officers with pensions. We also furthered our long-term attempt to ensure that every municipal police officer receives a pension.

Higher Education

  • $80 million with the possibility of $20 million more this fall was approved for the CT State College and University System (CSCU) which includes all community colleges and state regional universities. This is an increase in ARPA funding from $48.8 million to $128.8 million in 2024-25, but it also requires that if an additional $40 million in ARPA funds is identified by the administration, those funds also would be transferred to higher education, with half going to CSCU and half to UConn, provided the next state budget does not slide into deficit.
  • The UConn Health Center will also receive $48 million next fiscal year, an increase of $22.3 million from its original allocation.

Public Safety & Judicial Employees

  • This year we helped pass legislation codifying the establishment of The Fallen Officer Fund which would provide $100,000 non-taxable payment to the surviving family or beneficiary of any Connecticut police officer who dies from injuries sustained on duty.
  • Court monitors who work across state courthouses within the Judicial Branch and transcribe court proceedings received a 20% increase for fees per page that are charged to non-public officials that request transcripts. This legislation is intended to assist members financially for private transcript work.

Council 4 members, staff, and allies will continue to advance workers’ rights and benefits by ensuring we elect state legislators this fall who will be a voice for working families and in support of public employees, which includes efforts to expand and strengthen public services and bargaining rights for all workers. 

Clockwise from top left:

  • Council 4 members attend Lobby Day at the state Capitol on April 17
  • Stratford police members testify on March 6 about the need for police pensions
  • State marshals at the LOB to testify for expanded health care coverage
  • Corrections officer, Sherine Bailey, speaks at a April 10 press conference calling for safer worker conditions
  • Sue Shatney, a counselor for the deaf, advocates for more services for the deaf community on March 7
  • Council 4 members at Lobby Day alongside Zak Leavy, Legislative & Political Director
  • Rebecca Hernandez testifies on March 19 in favor of fair pay for CT Judicial court monitors