26 May 2011

[UPDATED] "ICYMI Thursdays" - CT Business & Industry Association

I went to Hartford yesterday to attend the Manufacturing and Technology Day events at the Capitol. There was to be a panel discussion, followed by exhibits by 35 Connecticut manufacturers. Here is the blurb from the invitation I received:
Manufacturing works for Connecticut: It’s the key to good jobs and a bright future in the global, technology-driven economy. On May 25, manufacturers will go the Capitol to talk about the top issues impacting their industries, and exhibit products and services. Be part of this special event to show how manufacturers are a vital part of Connecticut’s economy and future.
What I failed to notice is that this was being organized by the CBIA (Connecticut Business & Industry Association). This is an organization who works to kill legislation that may help working people, consistently disseminates untruthful interpretations of bills in the legislature, and inserts itself into government as though it actually represents businesses in the state.

Please note the Letter to the Editor published in the New Haven Register on Sunday, prior to the Senate vote on Paid Sick Days. It is reprinted in full below.
Published: Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Register’s scathing editorial slamming the paid sick leave bill easily could have been written by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. It’s typical of the arrogant disregard it has shown toward the state’s most economically vulnerable workers.

It’s a perfect example, too, of the CBIA expecting these struggling workers to accept a no-win situation.

The CBIA also has railed about the captive-audience bill, which would stop employers from bullying and intimidating employees to prevent them from joining a union. Not surprisingly, many employees who presently enjoy the benefit of paid sick leave are union members or well-paid professionals, who simply take for granted the availability of sick leave.

As many former union jobs have been downsized away or shipped overseas, to be replaced by lower paying service sector jobs, many workers no longer enjoy benefits such as paid sick leave.

While current labor laws make it nearly impossible for workers to exercise their right to join a union if they like, the CBIA, Republicans and even some Democrats are opposed to enacting a law that would allow more of Connecticut’s workers to earn up to five days of sick leave a year.

A group of 16 distinguished economics professors
in Connecticut wrote an open letter to the General Assembly in which they present strong evidence that “while costs for employers are extremely small, the benefits are substantial.” They cite research showing that paid sick days are “smart business” and would “improve employee retention, minimize layoffs, promote work-life integration, enhance economic security for working families and create a level playing field among employers.”

The paid sick leave bill would ensure a measure of dignity and respect for many under-appreciated workers, who have been among the hardest hit in the recession. Let’s hope Connecticut will lead the way forward on this important issue.

Bruce Deegan
North Branford

The rage of CBIA members against the Paid Sick Leave bill - which includes misinformation and threats to lay off workers and cut vacation days - has been going on for several years. Their anger is unabated and is also directed at the Captive Audience bill, as noted in the LTTE above.This bill is defined as an Act to "prohibit an employer from coercing employees into attending or participating in meetings sponsored by the employer concerning the employer's views on religious or political matters."  Seems an obvious YES vote to me.

[UPDATE] Just received an email from Jon Green at CT Working Families. One paragraph reads:

...we're not out of the woods yet. The bill should go to the House next week, but the CBIA and their big business allies will stop and nothing to derail us. We don't have the multi-million dollar lobbying war chests of the big business lobbyists. We've gotten this far on grit, creativity, hard work, and the support of people like you. Now we need your help to keep the momentum going for one more week.
Contribute by clicking here and supporting efforts to pass the Paid Sick Leaves Act.
Let's get Connecticut civilized.

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