Local 269 Members Rally with Low-Wage Workers for a Fully-Funded DOL

On Saturday, April 17 over 100 low-wage workers, CT Department of Labor (CT DOL) employees, Council 4 members, and community partners, all of whom are members of the Recovery For All coalition, rallied to demand increased funding for the CT DOL.

Workers who struggled to receive unemployment compensation and losses from wage theft shared their stories along with labor leaders from AFSCME Local 269 who work at the CT DOL. They urged the legislature to pass SB 821 and HB 6187, which would add fairness to the tax code and generate the resources needed to fund public services and mitigate disparities. 

State Senator Julie Kushner (D-24), Recovery For All Champion:

“It’s time to make a change in how we invest in protecting workers. What we’re here about today, talking about domestic workers and and talking about the Department of Labor, this is just a part of the fight, we need a Recovery For All.”

Stephen Weirbicki, AFSCME Local 269, Associate Appeals Referee at the CT Department of Labor, and Recovery for All coalition member:

“For years, our leaders allowed public services to erode by implementing austerity budgets. There are 30 states currently providing additional funding for their Department of Labor. We should and must do the same.” We need a fully-funded DOL. Not temporary band-aids. The citizens of Connecticut expect and deserve better. We must not let this happen again to our families, friends, or neighbors.”  

Ubaldo Garcia, Unidad Latina en Acción and the Recovery for All coalition:

“It is time to make the tax system fairer because there is too much poverty in this State. Connecticut is one of the richest states in this country, but 30 percent of Latino and black children live below the poverty line. The working class does not have living wages. We do not have health insurance. “

Rhonda Caldwell, Hamden Action Now and Recovery for All coalition:

“It’s a damned embarrassment that we live in a state so wealthy, yet they don’t take of the very people that are cutting their grass, watching their children, cleaning their houses, washing their dishes, and cooking for them”

Despite a projected general fund surplus and federal stimulus aid expected, temporary relief will not overcome a dozen years of disinvestment in state services, such as the CT DOL. Thirty states contribute to their state’s administration of unemployment insurance. Other than a temporary call center Connecticut does not. A fully-funded and robust DOL is vital to support workers who struggle to secure stable employment and have little recourse to protect against wage theft. 

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