State employees who provide essential public services are urging Governor Ned Lamont take immediate steps to address safety issues compounded by unprecedented levels of short-staffing. They have requested an extension on his recent executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations to avert harmful consequences for frontline workers and the residents who depend on them. Tomorrow's compliance deadline threatens to strain public health and safety services already stretched to the breaking point by staff shortfalls.
Municipal elections provide union households the opportunity to impact employment and educational policies in their community’s schools. This basic civic responsibility in 2021 takes on added urgency; deep-pocketed special interests are funding local candidates to carry out extremist agendas. Members stepping up to demonstrate that “labor is your neighbor” provide a path forward this fall for defending educators' hard-fought gains and children’s future learning opportunities.
Despite the lingering economic effects of the pandemic, union members have since May continued to score substantial successes in collective bargaining negotiations. We are highlighting a local affiliate in this latest quarterly report that survived the fiscal fallout of COVID-19 and won a strong new contract. Their focus on tapping available federal relief resources paid off for a local community hit hard by the global public health crisis.
Like every other aspect of our lives, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis impacted the presentation of annual awards and scholarships at our state federation's 2021 convention. Members were last month recognized virtually for their "above-and-beyond" activism, and several weeks later educational grant winners received notice of their selection. The unorthodox celebrations were indicative of the challenges our labor family has faced and overcome this past year.
Union activists in the final stretch of the 2021 legislative session have escalated efforts to urge better choices while lawmakers and the governor deliberate over a biennial state budget. Among those leading the charge are state employees who have experienced firsthand the negative consequences of decades of failed austerity policies. They have over the past month amplified earlier demands to embrace a "recovery for all" approach by engaging in collective action.