Resisting "More Calls for Austerity, Year After Year"

Labor activists earlier this year began collaborating with community organizations to help fellow residents recover from the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. That led to the formation of a new coalition, "Recovery for All," initially focused on securing a state budget in the General Assembly's 2021 legislative session that puts people first.

Council 4 AFSCME is a partner in these efforts, and is mobilizing members to move lawmakers and the governor to "do better."

The coalition's broader goals include:

  • Reducing income inequality that impedes economic growth;
  • Fairly updating Connecticut's tax code to raise $3 billion in new progressive revenue;
  • Investing in education, workforce development, healthcare, housing and other vital public services; and
  • Building a strong economy where each one of us can thrive.

Click here for the coalition’s letter sent to Governor Ned Lamont ahead of his proposed budget announcement.

Union members in our State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) gathered to discuss their expectations for Connecticut's economic recovery the day before the governor's economic blueprint was released.

“Austerity cuts from the past have led us to the trying times thousands of residents faced with unemployment in the past year,” said Mayra Cruz of AFSCME Local 269, who works as a reemployment specialist at the state Department of Labor. “We need a people’s recovery budget. We can stimulate the economy by expanding services that help people facing hardships get back on track more quickly than they otherwise could have.”

The governor's framework ultimately looked far more like previous budget proposals than the fair-minded, forward-thinking policies advocated by Cruz and her colleagues. Coalition leaders that afternoon, led by the Connectict AFL-CIO, convened a press conference to urge lawmakers choose a better approach than the Lamont Administration's disinvestment scheme.

Click here for the Connecticut AFL-CIO's report-back on the Recovery for All response.

The coalition has since ramped-up efforts to demand the kind of "people's budget" that would set Connecticut communities on course for achieving truly shared prosperity.

Members of affiliated local unions in late February joined fellow labor activists for the first mass mobilization action aimed at moving the needle forward. Along with social justice advocates, faith leaders and fair taxation reformers, nearly 400 participated in a car caravan protest that literally drove our collective message right to the governor’s mansion in Hartford.

Click here for additional photos from the mass demonstration.

Planning for additional actions is already underway, with at least three in the works for the month of March. Click here if you want to get involved.