Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Education Cost Sharing Facing Massive Cuts — August 15, 2017

Education Cost Sharing Facing Massive Cuts

With the state being run by the governor in the form of an executive order due to the state budget impasse, stakeholders held a press conference today with all local media attending. Speakers included superintendents, boards of education, teachers unions, as well as students and parents. They urged Connecticut lawmakers to come together and pass a budget.

The Governor’s currently proposed Education Cost Sharing formula reducing aid to Bristol schools by $8.6 million.

Here are the links:

WTNH (note, the caption for the video with BFT president David Hayes incorrectly identifies him as a Middletown teacher)

Fox 61 (including extended interview with BOE Chris Wilson)

Hartford Courant

CT Mirror


Proposed Changes To 5th and 8th Grade Science Assessments — August 2, 2017

Proposed Changes To 5th and 8th Grade Science Assessments

The State Department of Education is planning to seek flexibility (waiver) with regard to its science assessment for 2017-18. The plan is described in the attached one-pager and available online at  The proposed approach will reduce testing time for students and teachers in Grades 5 and 8 and encourage schools to transition to the new science standards.

Please let us know your thoughts about this proposal through e-mail<>

Meet Bristol Legislators — August 1, 2017

Meet Bristol Legislators

This Friday, August 4, Bristol Legislators (all Republican) will be available for conversation. If you would like to know why they voted against the state employee concession package, want to know where they stand on collective bargaining, or if they support efforts to increase teacher contributions to pensions, this is your opportunity to have an informal conversation.

Friday, August 4

Rep. Pavalock, Rep. Betts and Sen. Martin

Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol)

8am – 9am

Connecticut Legislature Approves SEBAC Concessions; One Step Closer to a State Budget — July 31, 2017

Connecticut Legislature Approves SEBAC Concessions; One Step Closer to a State Budget

For the third time in 10 years, state employees have agreed to concessions, and today the Connecticut Senate narrowly approved the deal. Republican legislators had been trying to destroy the deal in the hopes of rewriting collective bargaining laws. Now a state budget is much closer to completion, but municipalities (and teachers) may find themselves in the cross hairs of Republicans looking to continue an austerity budget.

See the following articles covering the vote and the concession deal.

Hartford Courant

NBC 30 Connecticut

CT Mirror




Urgent State Budget Action Needed —

Urgent State Budget Action Needed

The state House of Representatives on Monday voted 78-72 to approve state employees’ agreement to protect vital public services and secure union members’ jobs. The state Senate is expected to take it up for debate and a vote as soon as tomorrow — your voice is critical to getting it over the finish line.

Click here to send a message to your district’s Senator urging they support the agreement.

Despite the fact the state employees stepped up and agreed to save taxpayers $24 billion over the next two decades, anti-union forces are working overtime to defeat the package. The same special interests who in 2011 pressured Wisconsin politicians to gut their public employees’ collective bargaining rights are spending big here in Connecticut on ads opposing the agreement.

The upper chamber is equally controlled by Republicans who on Thursday renewed their opposition to the negotiated savings and reiterated threats to instead extract more by breaking union members’ contracts. If even one Democratic senator caves to the pressure from Washington special interestsand joins the Republicans in voting “no,” there will be budgetary chaos.

Worse, it would lead to an increased appetite among lawmakers for stripping all public employees — not just those employed by the state — of their negotiating rights to balance the budget.

Click here to tell your Senator to accept union members’ savings and respect collective bargaining.

More to come, and in solidarity,

Michael Barry

Vice President for Public Employees, AFT Connecticut

Jan Hochadel

President, AFT Connecticut

P.S. Click here to share a state Senator’s social media post calling out the special interests attempting to derail the cost savings agreement.

Stop Trumpcare! — July 24, 2017

Stop Trumpcare!

Red alert! This is not a drill: Senate Republicans plan to hold a vote on a healthcare bill, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, as early as TuesdayRepublicans don’t even know which version of the bill Sen. Mitch McConnell plans to bring to the floor for a vote, but it doesn’t really matter—they’re all bad. 

Write your senators right now and tell them to oppose any bill that repeals the ACA and leaves millions without coverage.

The Republican plan would lead to tens of millions of Americans being left without health insurance and millions more confronting higher or prohibitive costs for less or no care. Trumpcare would gut Medicaid as we know it, a program that helps provide vital services to our most vulnerable, and remove protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. And sadly, in any version of the bill, the only tax left is the new one on employer-based healthcare. It doesn’t matter which version you’re looking at, Trumpcare is cruel and callous.

The Congressional Budget Office score released last Wednesday on the Senate Republicans’ “repeal and run” bill confirmed it would cause 32 million Americans to lose their insurance and cause premiums to double after 10 years. And the latest CBO report—released last Thursday on the latest version of the bill—made clear, once again, that no amount of tweaks, modifications or giveaways can change the fact that Trumpcare is rotten at its core and would leave millions of Americans worse off.

Whichever version of the healthcare bill Senate Republicans vote on this week, you can be sure it will be bad.

Write your senators right now and tell them to stay strong against Trump and McConnell’s pressure to ram a bill through.

Senate Republicans should vote no on the motion to proceed and urge Majority Leader McConnell to hold real debate through the regular process, in committees, public hearings and on the floor—a process they have spurned.

Enough is enough. The ACA needed to be repaired, not repealed. It’s time for our elected officials to work in a bipartisan way to fix the ACA and pass real solutions to lower premiums, stabilize the market and improve coverage for millions of Americans.

The fight is not over. We must continue to keep up the pressure on Senate Republicans to reject any effort to repeal the ACA and urge them to cease the sabotage of our healthcare system. Write to them today.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu Endorsed by AFT CT and Bristol Labor Council — July 14, 2017

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu Endorsed by AFT CT and Bristol Labor Council

On Wednesday, Ellen-Zappo Sassu was endorsed by the Greater Bristol Labor Council. On Thursday, she was endorsed by the AFT CT.

“A Celebration of Bristol’s Public Employees”

Bleachers Bar, 300 Middle Street, Bristol

On Wednesday, July 26, there will be a fundraiser for Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Bristol, CT. Although the theme is “A Celebration of Public Employees,” all are welcome, and may give as generously as they are able.


Very Urgent: Connecticut Legislators Want Teachers to Pay More for Pensions — July 11, 2017

Very Urgent: Connecticut Legislators Want Teachers to Pay More for Pensions

Bristol Teachers, please react and act on this message below from AFT CT, and regardless of where you live in Connecticut, please take 5 minutes to write or call your state rep and senator, or you’ll feel the wallop in your wallet very soon, and see an even more dire financial situation is every district.
-David Hayes
Lawmakers are preparing for a special legislative session as soon as next week to take up proposals for balancing the state’s budget over the next two years. On the table are proposals to hike your pension contributions by two percent (from 6% to 8%) and shift a third of the state’s investment in your retirement security to your local school board.
Your state Representative and Senator need to hear from you and all teachers in their districts now to assure make sure they make better choices.
Lawmakers need to understand that these unilateral changes that will take local dollars out of the economyharm the teaching profession and will ultimately hurt children’s future learning opportunities. They need to know that a special tax on educators that would amount to an average of $100.00 per paycheck will do nothing to resolve our state’s fiscal challenges.
As union members, we know that only by amplifying our voices in opposition will legislators abandon these proposed cost-shift schemes. They will not embrace the fair share approach to crafting a state budget that our schools and communities need without teachers taking the lead to demand better choices.
More to come, and in solidarity,
 Steve McKeever

Vice-President for Pre-K-12 Teachers, AFT Connecticut
Jan Hochadel

President, AFT Connecticut
Teacher Pensions — July 7, 2017

Teacher Pensions

Rumors swirl out of Hartford that as state legislators arrive at a state budget, that funding teacher pensions will be revisited, with a significant portion of the cost being shifted back to municipalities or to teachers themselves. In the next week, as the details officially emerge, a major mobilization effort may be necessary.

In the meantime, teachers would be wise to understand how Connecticut compares to other states when it comes to teacher pensions. Here is a comprehensive study:

Evaluate Your Union! — July 3, 2017