Reasserting that they are “part of the solution and not part of the problem,” the unions representing New Britain public service workers today demanded an investigation into the budget deficit left by former Mayor Timothy Stewart.
“We’re being asked to pay the consequences for a mess that we did not create. We all need to know how and why we got to this point, and we need those answers yesterday so we don’t repeat the mistakes that got us here,” said AFSCME Local 1186 President Michael Thompson, whose bargaining unit includes 195 city public works, parks and recreation and administrative-clerical employees.
The leadership of AFSCME Locals 818, 1186 and 1303-332 reiterated that laying off 40% of the city workforce – a possible scenario put forward last week by Mayor Timothy O’Brien – will strain public services beyond the breaking point and have a devastating impact on the New Britain economy.
Union leaders also pointed out that New Britain city workers have repeatedly stepped up to the plate and made significant economic sacrifices, including wage concessions and increased health care premium costs and co-pays, to protect services.
“Slashing jobs and services is a recipe for economic disaster,” said AFSCME Local 1303-332 President Joel Wendrow, whose union represents 37 professional employees. “Services have been cut to the bone. We can’t continue this death spiral.”
“We urge the Mayor and the City Council to demonstrate the courage and creativity needed to get New Britain moving forward,” added Sal Luciano, Executive Director of Council 4 AFSCME (the parent union of the New Britain locals), which is located in New Britain.