by Christine Stuart | May 23, 2016
Feeling betrayed by Democrats who supported a state budget that includes thousands of layoffs for their members, a coalition of Connecticut’s unions say they are now raising money to fund other candidates who support labor.
On Friday, Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier told the heads of Connecticut’s labor unions to hold off on purchasing tickets to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner on June 2. Tickets are going for at least $185 per plate. The dinner is the party’s largest fundraising event of the year and usually raises more than $200,000.
“We’re going to support candidates who support working families,” Pelletier said. “We’re asking if they have not contributed to wait and invest in our own labor movement.”
Labor will be holding its own fundraising dinner, details for which will be announced at the June 9-10 AFL-CIO convention.
Pelletier said the unions have an impressive door-knocking and phone banking organization that they are willing to put to use on candidates who support building up the middle-class.
A spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party said the news was unfortunate.
“The Connecticut Democratic Party continues to share many of the same values and goals as our friends in the labor movement,” Leigh Appleby said. “And we remain committed to working with our state’s labor unions to grow our economy from the middle out.”
But Pelletier said that’s not exactly true.
Disappointed and betrayed by the legislature’s Democratic majority and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for passing a budget that includes $255 million in projected salary reductions, mostly through layoffs, a hiring freeze, and attrition, Pelletier said union delegates will gather in Hartford June 9-10 to endorse candidates.
She declined to predict whether delegates would endorse the re-election campaigns of legislators who voted in favor of the state budget, which included no tax increases and will result in at least 2,500 state employees receiving pink slips.
Pelletier said Connecticut’s labor coalition is following the lead of its national organization, which is doing its own fundraising on behalf of candidates.
Speaking for the Connecticut Democratic Party, Appleby said he expects the dinner to be successful regardless.
“It is unfortunate that some would attempt to undermine an event with the sole purpose of raising the resources to elect Democrats up and down the ticket, including Senator Blumenthal, but we expect the Progress Dinner to be a success with help from Democrats across the state, including friends in organized labor,” Appleby said.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be the keynote speaker at the Connecticut Democratic Progress Dinner on Thursday, June 2, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.