Greens Join Workers to Protest Rowland's Budget Cuts

Forty union employees, students and concerned citizens braved a blustery November morning to attend a rally on Saturday, November 23 at the Governor's Mansion to protest the Governor's proposed union cuts in order to consolidate the state's debt, estimated at $500 million. The attendees proposed other ways to save money and workers jobs, such as the millionaire tax and ending corporate welfare. Unions which were represented were SEIU, District 1199, AFSCME Council 4 and CT AFL-CIO.

Speakers were John Olsen, President of CT AFL-CIO, Tim Bowles, former Vice President of CT AFL-CIO and current state employee, Mike DeRosa, Hartford Green Party, Phil Sherwood, Field Director of CCAG (Connecticut Citizen Action Group), UAW Local 376 and Kevin Distefano, from the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR - SEIU District 1199).

After everyone spoke, the rally organizers dressed up as Scrooge, Santa Claus and the elves stuffed gigantic Christmas stockings with bags of coal and pink slips at the top and hung them respectively from the Governor's Mansion's gates. The stockings were labeled with glitter writing and were for Governor John Rowland, [Lieutenant Governor] M. Jodi Rell, [Rowland Spokesman] Dean Pagani and Marc Ryan [Budget Secretary]. A very large pink slip addressed to the Governor was inserted between the gates.

Media coverage was favorable, with the Hartford Courant, Fox 61, Channel 3 and Channel 12 reporting. Interviews via cell phone were arranged with some of the speakers on WTIC AM 1080. (Fox 61 gave us 1 minute 50 seconds).

Another larger action will be planned in the upcoming weeks depending on the outcome of negotiations between the unions and the Governor.

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