Rocky Hill – Elected leaders of the 29,000-strong AFT Connecticut last night voted overwhelmingly to support incumbent statewide elected officials with strong records of respecting workers’ rights on the job. The labor federation’s executive committee voted in favor of formal endorsements of candidates for congress and state constitutional offices that will appear on the November 4 General Election ballot.
The candidates include Connecticut’s current delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives; John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Elizabeth Esty. Also endorsed were Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Treasurer Denise Nappier, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.
“Our executive committee has spoken,” said Melodie Peters, a retired state senator and president of AFT Connecticut. “Last night’s vote is the final step in our democratic process for considering candidates for statewide office. It follows a long-established policy of providing a voice for our diverse, large membership through their local unions,” she said.
Members of the federation’s legislative and political action committee met last week to discuss the incumbents’ records and consider possible endorsements. They forwarded their recommendations to the executive committee, which includes 26 members of AFT Connecticut affiliated unions and reflects a balanced representation of all constituency groups within the federation.
“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” said Stephen McKeever, who was a Middletown High School science teacher for 17 years and now serves as AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points,” he said.
McKeever’s comments refer to remarks that Connecticut Republican Party-endorsed candidate for governor Tom Foley has made to the press. Foley in June, 2013 told The Courant “I keep talking about ‘when is the Wisconsin moment going to come to Connecticut,'” referring to the 2010 takeover of Wisconsin’s statehouse and legislature. That state’s governor and lawmakers in 2011 rammed through legislation stripping public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights and slashed state funding for public education and local services.
“The stakes are too high to make the wrong choice,” said Jean Morningstar, who recently retired after 27 years of service as a public employee at the UConn Health Center in Farmington and is AFT Connecticut’s second vice-president. “We understand that we need a voice at work and a seat at the table with elected officials to advocate for ourselves, our families, and our communities,” she said.
Governor Dan Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman Receive Support of 29,000-Member Union for Respecting Workers’ Rights
Hartford, CT – Today, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Connecticut announced its endorsement of Governor Dan Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman for re-election.
“AFT’s support is a testament to the progress we are making together in education, health care and public services,” said Governor Dan Malloy. “I firmly believe that teachers, health care professionals, and all workers should have the right to collectively bargain — for good wages and benefits, due process and a voice at work. From the picket lines to the Capitol, we’ve stood together to protect workers’ rights and that won’t change. We won’t let Connecticut go down the dangerous path that GOP governors are leading states like Wisconsin down. I want to thank AFT for their support and for their hard work, day in and day out, to move Connecticut forward.”
“I am grateful to be working with AFT as we protect Connecticut’s working families. Honoring and supporting the voice of organized labor is a big part of how we continue to empower our working families, build our economy and provide our children with the best education possible,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “We have more work to do, but we will continue to support our educators, health care professionals, public service employees, and all Connecticut workers as we continue our state’s progress. I am honored and thankful for AFT Connecticut’s endorsement.”