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Local 724 Political News
Keep it right here for you latest Team 724 news and events.
Political Director Chuck Flynn will posting vital info to the campaign
and Team 724's next move..

March 2019

 

You know March is here and another baseball season is upon us when President Todd Lynch starts his well deserved annual spring training vacation with the Red Sox Nation at Jet Blue Park in Florida.
At our February meeting members were briefed on the arrival of our newest police K9 to join the department next month. The Labrador Retriever will be trained in drug detection and ready for duty by late spring. This is the fourth dog purchased as a result of our K9 fundraising campaign last year. Deployment of this dog brings our K9 unit to full strength.

Members were also presented the preliminary concept of an agency reorganization proposed by Chief Richard. The primary goal is expected to increase command level presence in the field and improve the quality of police response with higher expectations and responsibilities for Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants.
The Chief's plan calls for refilling the Deputy Chief position, downsizing from three to two agency divisions, the elimination of one police captain, elimination of a Records Section sergeant to be replaced by a civilian supervisor, filling a vacant detective lieutenant as Commanding Officer of Investigative Services, adding a sergeant to supervise the Vice and Narcotics Unit and adding an investigator to the Detective Bureau to assist with the increasing number of juvenile investigations.

Formal negotiations between the City and Union are expected within the next few months. Like any proposal the devil is in the details. If both sides can come to agreement on terms and conditions the membership must vote to formally ratify the changes allowing for implementation sometime after July 1, 2019.
At the same time the Union continues our fight protecting our members against any disparate treatment or impact. Specifically treatment of any of our members that is less favorable than treatment of others. As we work towards an amicable agreement we also prepare to vigorously fight our case for a right and just outcome.

Congratulation to Anthony Nolan winner of the special election for the 39th District State Representative by almost 2-1 margin over Mirna Martinez. We look forward to working with Anthony on public safety and collective bargaining issues protecting our pension, benefits and work place safety. We also thank challengers Jason Catala and Kat Goulart for their tireless interest in public service to New London.

New London recently announced a 9% increase in the grand list. Certainly welcoming news for a cash strapped city to perhaps improve upon dismal city services hamstrung by meager budgets especially the last decade. But former mayor and socialist in residence Daryl Finizio, an activist who wants free stuff for everybody by taxing the rich, yet when it comes to his money he couldn’t wait to insist Mayor Passero use the grand list increase announcement to call for an immediate lowering of city taxes.

You would think the former mayor, who slashed city budgets and asked for many layoffs during his term would understand the urgent need to improve upon our abysmal city services to finally move the city forward. Could it be that the former mayor, now a city homeowner and taxpayer only wants to raise your taxes and not his? Daryl's recent attacks on Mayor Passero's policies makes us wonder if he is consumed with sour grapes since losing to Passero in 2015 or is he considering a future challenge against the mayor in this fall's municipal elections.

We distinctly remember gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont at an AFSCME get out the vote rally on November 2, when he declared, "We’re going to be fighting for you for the next four years”. Now Governor Lamont - who was endorsed and won on the backs of state labor unions and just 5 weeks into his administration called for curtailing cost of living adjustments for all state pensions in his State of the State address. He then doubled down on his slap at public employees when he followed up by submitting Governor's Bill #882 seeking changes to the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) which calls for a 400% increase in employee contributions amounting to a 14.25% pay cut for our hard working New London police officers. Is this his idea of fighting for us?
MERS is a public pension plan provided by the state for 80 participating municipalities including New London, with nearly 9,400 active workers and about 7,100 retirees which is one of the country's best funded at 85 percent of long term obligations because all municipalities in the plan properly funded it with yearly contributions. This is how our new governor thanks the people who got him elected.
Some quick calculations of our middle class family budgets reveals our new potential tax burden: Federal tax rate 24%, State income tax rate 6%, Pension contributions 19%, Medical Plan cost share 2.75%, Local property tax 4.25%, FICA tax 7.67%. That's almost 62% of salary in taxes. Begs the question why work and why continue to live in Connecticut?

In Hartford almost 28 years to the day since Governor Lowell Weicker became the state's most infamous liar when he broke his campaign promise of no state income tax, Governor Ned Lamont just earned a second place in the Hall of Shame by breaking his campaign pledge of no tolls or only tolls for trucks now wants to toll all vehicles as soon as possible.
The initial state electronic toll proposal calls for 82 gantries on all of Connecticut's highways and 4 lane roads bringing in $800 million to $1 billion in new revenue by 2023 with 40% of the vehicles from out of state. These electronic gantries will be placed about 6.6 miles apart with only one gantry per town on any given highway. Travel costs will average between 4.4 and 5.3 cents per mile. Locally plans call for a toll gantry along I-95 in Old Lyme, Waterford, Groton and Stonington. I-395 has ideas for a gantry in Waterford, Montville and Norwich.

Springtime also means the General Assembly is back in session with proposed Bills on almost every subject you can think of. In keeping with each legislative cycle of life, most of these proposals will never make it into a law. On the heels of recent proposals to increase taxes on groceries, medications Senate Bill 475 proposes to “increase revenue” by raising the CT sales tax rate to 6.85% up from 6.35% which amounts to an extra 50 cents for every $100 dollars spent potentially realize over $350 million in new revenue.

Besides tolls, legalizing marijuana, sports betting and taxing the rich are also front and center issues also facing our elected leaders this session. Each proposal is controversial, but in this day and age when individual rights are more important than the greater good of the people and a state desperate to find new money to fix old fiscal problems, common sense will take a back seat to any potential increases in state revenues.
Connecticut's Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated that legal legalizing recreational cannabis could generate more than $30 million in tax revenue for the state in the first year of sales. Massachusetts began legal marijuana sales just last month and is reported to have generated $2.2 million in income during the first five days of legal sales; a huge incentive for Connecticut lawmakers to follow suit.
Considering the facts the Democrats now hold the majority in the Connecticut Senate, and Governor Lamont openly supports legalization, and legalizing recreational cannabis may be the shot in the arm that Connecticut needs to reduce their deficit, Connecticut may soon become the eleventh state to allow legal, adult-use marijuana.
However in California another state craving more tax revenue from cannabis sales has created the opposite effect of declining legal sales with most people opting to buy their weed on the cheaper, more available black market. They projected bringing in $185 million in taxes but got less than half that. Over regulation, difficult local permitting process on where legal markets could sell and a 45% tax on each purchase have cut into the weed market where black markets can sell anywhere to anyone with no taxes.
Proponents of legalizing weed in California pointed to new tax revenues and ending the black market as big selling points but high taxes have all but strangled the golden goose voters were promised. Connecticut should carefully consider these facts to formulate the right conclusion.

 

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Why Political Action

THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.

Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers' compensation. That's why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that's why working people need to work to elect these allies.

The Local 724 executive board has the collective responsibility to provide vision and direction for the local. It is up to the leadership team to look ahead, set goals and develop a plan to make strategic planning a critical element to having a strong union which can only come about when membership is informed, educated and active.

Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.

Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.

Local 724 accomplishes this through political action in conjunction with the exercise of collective bargaining process, growth and community involvement to produce a just and rewarding workplace.

   

Local 724 gets recognized on the national level!

On January 28, 2011 at the Council 4 Campaign for the Middle Class Seminar in Meriden The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO thanked the New London Police Union- Local 724 for their efforts in the Labor 2010 campaign.

Lee Saunders, International Secretary-Treasurer and AFSCME Council 4's Sal Luciano who is also an International Vice President honored Local 724 with a certificate "In recognition of their tireless work and commitment during the 2010 State of Connecticut general elections". To this day labor leaders throughout the state continue to praise our Malloy/Wyman Pre-Debate Rally as a new benchmark of what local labor can achieve when committed to a goal.

Chuck Flynn was honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire membership which will hang proudly in the 724 "Hall of Justice". I want to personally thank everyone that participated in some way no matter how big or small. Our election success was due to the collective efforts of our TEAM-Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

 


724 helps East Lyme fight the cause

Why Political Action


Shooting from the lip
Political Director C Flynn

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