Dear 1199 Member,
Our contract expires on June 30, 2021. Negotiations for a new contract for all members in the P-1 and NP-6 bargaining units will begin in November.
We are entering negotiations during a pivotal moment. Multiple crises are converging at the same time. The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of nearly 200,000 people in this country. Workers like us are struggling through a growing economic depression while billionaires and big corporations continue to profit. And the most recent killings of black Americans have revived the long struggle against racial oppression.
Amid this extraordinary time, the state of Connecticut confronts a projected $2.1 billion deficit. The State has already tried to get us to give up our most recent raises and has informed all agencies to prepare 10% cuts across the board. Meanwhile, the anti-union forces that have been demonizing state workers for years have begun their familiar drumbeat once again. Calling for even deeper service cuts, the elimination of union rights, and lower wages and benefits, big corporations and the super rich argue that the state is broke.
But we know the truth: the state is broke on purpose. We’re the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world. We’re a state where the 17 richest billionaires are worth $71 billion and have profited $5 billion since the pandemic started—while our members have been risking their lives on the frontlines. The problem isn’t that Connecticut lacks resources. The problem is that these resources aren’t distributed fairly, which the coronavirus has exposed with deadly consequences.
The only way we can move from a defensive position to an offensive position is by putting forward a bold vision for growing the state health care services that our communities need. We must fight for raises, job security, and other important improvements for our members. And we must link these demands to the larger demand for a People’s Recovery benefiting all people in Connecticut.
What is the People’s Recovery? Unlike the bailout following the Great Recession, it’s time for a recovery that prioritizes the needs of working people, not the bottom lines of big corporations and the super rich. It’s time for a recovery that funds and expands public services instead of continuing to underfund and cut them to the bone. As one of the leading health care workers union in America, we must be on the forefront of the struggle to win health equity for all.
The pandemic has exposed the crucial need for a strong, robust, and accountable public health infrastructure. All 1199 members know this to be true—because we’re the ones who deliver care to the people who need it most. But our jobs and the vital services we provide will remain under permanent threat if we fail to go on offense. The only way to overcome the divide-and-conquer strategy of anti-union forces is by uniting with a coalition of allied unions and community organizations to fight for a People’s Recovery. 1199 members will be the tip of that spear.
This contract survey is the first step in deciding what improvements and services we want to demand in our fight for a strong contract and for a People’s Recovery. It’s critical that as many members as possible complete this survey. Please submit your response by Friday, October 2nd—and speak with your Delegate if you have questions.