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Connecticut State AFL-CIO Names Pig of the Month

By Joelle Fishman, Peoples's Weekly World, 18 February 1995

Chanting Hey, Hey, What do you say? Who elected the CBIA? about 700 state workers and their supporters marched from the offices of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) to the State Capitol in Hartford last week.

They were joined in the demonstration by the members of Connecticut AFL-CIO who presented the Pig of the Month award to CBIA President Kenneth Decko. The bronzed plaque, sporting a large pig read, Awarded to those individuals or organizations for feeding at the trough of greed, self-interest and insensitivity. There is always room for one more snout at the trough.

The CBIA had paid for $60,000 worth of television ads in which newly elected Governor John Rowland called upon voters in Connecticut to call their state legislators and tell them to vote against arbitrated pay raises previously won by state workers. The workers were, in fact, denied their raises and Rowland publicly credited the ad campaign for his victory.

Rowland is wrong to take special interest money. He's supposed to be governor of all the people ... Whose government is this, anyway? asked the State Workers Alliance for a Better Connecticut, which called the rally.

Several months ago the first Pig of the Month award was presented to the president of United Technologies (UTC) for accepting $10 million in state funds while laying off 5,000 workers and, at the same time, awarding million-dollar increases to top management. UTC is considered to be the most influential corporation within the CBIA.

As state workers poured out of their jobs and onto the picket line they donned pig stickers and carried signs sporting enlargements of labor cartoons.

After picketing the CBIA offices, the workers marched to the state capitol and rallied under the windows of Rowland's office, chanting Bought and paid by the CBIA.

I think the citizens need to look very closely at the budget and see who it benefits, said Susan Wasstrom, spokeswoman for the coalition of state workers' unions. We're concerned the budget will help big business and hurt people.

The CBIA has billboards across the state calling for Cut state spending and taxes -- Build a competitive Connecticut. Their appeal is to over-taxed middle income families, but their proposals would cut taxes on the very rich and corporations, while cutting spending on the poor and elderly.

We will be there tomorrow to protest cuts in welfare, Wasstrom said, referring to the next day's legislative hearings on welfare reform. Hundreds of poor and unemployed people, organizing under the slogan Jobs Not Cuts, came to bring their message to state government. Efforts are underway to launch a statewide coalition of labor and welfare rights organizations to mount a united struggle against the governor's budget.

Eight of the nine unions representing state workers will now go into a new round of negotiations for their contracts.

The only pay award that was not voted down by the legislature was that of Health Care Workers 1199, whose contract expired earlier and who already had gone through two arbitrations.