May 8, 2018/Press Releases

Republicans Want Connecticut to Have a “Wisconsin Moment”

Hartford, CT – Right-to-work laws are bad for unions, workers, and wages. In states that have enacted right-to-work laws wages are 3.1% lower for both union and non-union members. In Wisconsin, right-to-work laws took away unions’ collective bargaining power, which devastated teachers with a 2.6% decline in wages and an 18.6% decline in benefits over 5 years.  Higher union density has historically led to higher wages, and right-to-work laws harm unions.

The evidence is clear, right-to-work states harm workers’ wages and benefits. And many Republican gubernatorial candidates have been vocal about their intent to turn Connecticut into a right-to-work state.

  • Mark Boughton has said he does not believe collective bargaining should be a part of the process when negotiating workers’ benefits. Collective bargaining helps prevent expanding inequality and gives workers a voice at the table.
  • Mike Handler said he would take “nothing off the table.”
  • Tim Herbst, who noted in a Hartford Courant survey that this was a top issue for him, would turn Connecticut into a right-to-work state. Herbst says that no one should be forced to join a union and that states with “compulsory union membership” do worse fiscally. “Compulsory union membership” is a termused by many anti-union elected officials and advocates, but forcing a worker to join a union has been illegal in the United States since 1947.  This wouldn’t be the first time that Tim Herbst has implemented policies that hurt teachers.
  • Peter Lumaj is a vocal advocate of right-to-work legislation, saying that “union bosses are the problem.”
  • Prasad Srinivasan says he has reviewed “the positive impact” on right-to-work states. He should tell that to the 10.5% of public school teachers who had to leave the profession after right-to-work laws were implemented in Wisconsin.
  • Erin Stewart gave an answer to the question without taking a position. This is a fundamental issue for any incoming Governor and she refused to take a stand which clearly shows that she would not prioritize workers’ rights.
  • Mark Lauretti, Steve Obsitnik, Bob Stefanowski, Dave Walker, and David Stemmerman have not voiced a clear opinion on this important issue. Will they stand up for workers?

Make no mistake, each one of these candidates had the opportunity to weigh in. This was a deliberate choice that they made as Republicans, as candidates, as Connecticut residents, and as neighbors to those that would be impacted. They use social media, speak to reporters, and hold public events – the failure to address this fundamental issue a complete an abject failure of these candidates to stand up, lead, and fight for Connecticut families. They must be held accountable.

“Republicans gubernatorial candidates have consistently echoed the national Republican Party or avoided standing up for issues, and workers’ rights are no exception,” said Democratic State Party Chair Nick Balletto. “Republicans are on either on the wrong side of the issues or silent on them. This election will represent a true choice regarding who will fight for the workers of Connecticut and Republican gubernatorial candidates who say they want to lead our state, but are unwilling to lead their own party or take definitive stances on positions that matter.”