It has been a wild and woolly few days in the Nutmeg State. The Governor's SEBAC agreement has gone down in flames and most people are scratching their heads wondering why the state employee unions would blow up a perfectly good contract that didn't really ask much of the state employees and was loaded with dubious saving assumptions. The unions rejected a four year no layoff clause and back loaded wage increases that would have guaranteed jobs and pay raises for all of its members.
Listening to various radio shows, reading articles online, and listening to my friends who are state employees, an emerging theme as to why there was such a strong "no" vote was that state employees were adamantly opposed to the possibility that their health care would be handed over to a new state health care program called SustiNet.
While nobody can really explain what SustiNet is with any clarity, many state employees felt that the health care provisions of the agreement were the first steps towards migrating their health care to a single payer system managed and operated by the State of Connecticut.
Interesting. Since part of the charge of the SustiNet panel is to leverage the new federal health care program (commonly referred to as "Obamacare"), this vote was a resounding rebuke by the state employee unions of a large government run health care program.
It is stunning that 40% of the state employee workforce felt that even the hint of an "Obamacare" health care system, would result in employees voting against their own personal interest. State union employees have been reliable Democratic voters for years and supported both President Obama and Governor Malloy in big numbers.
There were other reasons for the "no" votes, but the theme that was heard over and over again was an intense opposition to SustiNet and the fear of a government run health care program.
Government workers not wanting the government to run health care. Ironic no?
As of now, the impact of the failure of the concession package on Danbury is unclear. It will all depend on the Governor's deficit reduction package which will be presented on Thursday.