Union Rights and Collective Bargaining Just Saved Connecticut $1.7 Billion

Comptroller Kevin Lembo recently issued the state’s first annual SEBAC Savings Analysis Report, detailing how the 2017 State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) agreement has saved Connecticut $1.7 billion since 2018. 

State employee union members said the savings to taxpayers are proof that collective bargaining works for Connecticut.

“Some at the time criticized the 2017 agreement as not being harmful enough to state workers,” said Ed Leavy, a long-time English teacher at Bullard-Havens Technical High School. “What those critics failed to understand is that the best agreements aren't measured by how much pain they cause, but by how much good they do. That agreement got Connecticut's financial situation to a much better place than we would be in otherwise.”

“State employees have once again shown that the way out of our economic challenges isn’t to sideline working people. Union members stepped up and helped solve a serious budget shortfall because it was a necessary sacrifice to protect the important services that we dedicate our lives to,” added Marybeth Hill, president of AFSCME Local 2663, which represents more than 2,000 workers in human and social services.  

“This was a sacrifice made predominantly by middle-class families, and it is a sacrifice that has not been matched, nor even offered, by the wealthy or corporations in this state,” continued Hill, a veteran social worker with the Department of Children and Families.

SEBAC union leadership emphasized that finding common ground and building consensus can lead to bargaining outcomes that benefit all of Connecticut.

“We are especially pleased by how much money we have saved with ‘win-win’ ideas that are good for everyone. For instance, our quality based preferred provider network and smart shopper program is saving the state millions in medical claims, while keeping members healthier and cutting costs for them as well,” said Carl Chisem, President of the Connecticut Employees Union Independent (CEUI-SEIU Local 511). CEUI membership includes nearly 4,000 state employees who cook, clean, repair, maintain and deliver to state buildings, hospitals, campuses, airports, roads, bridges, and parks.

 “Our members are proud to make a difference in the lives of the students we serve,” added Leavy, the president of the AFT Connecticut-affiliated State Vocational Federation of Teachers. "Through honest and respectful collective bargaining with our sisters and brothers in other unions, we help make a difference for all of Connecticut's families.”

The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) serves to unite all 15 unions representing approximately 40,000 Connecticut State public service workers together to address issues of common concern.