SEBAC plans Monday meeting on changes to voting bylaws

State employee union leaders will meet Monday to consider changing labor bylaws regarding future votes on contract concessions, according to a letter posted Wednesday on one union website.

State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition spokesman Matt O’Connor declined to discuss any meeting dates or proposals under consideration. But a source said the coalition’s governing board hadn’t settled yet on one specific alternative to the bylaw that requires unions representing at least 80 percent of SEBAC membership to endorse any concession plan before it can be ratified.

Union leaders announced two weeks ago that they were exploring bylaw changes after a tentative concession package negotiated with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy failed despite winning approval from 11 out of 15 unions and 57 percent of SEBAC members casting votes.

That vote failed “due to the stringent SEBAC bylaws even though the majority of SEBAC leaders and members voted in favor of ratification, Laila A. Mandour, president of the Administrative and Residual Employees Union, wrote on the union’s website.

The labor leader added that SEBAC’s 15-member governing board would meet July 18 “to consider changing its bylaws for any future agreements that may be reached,” though she didn’t refer to any specific proposals.

O’Connor said Wednesday that while individual union leaders might choose to discuss the bylaw review with members, “the coalition is not announcing meeting dates or releasing further information,” adding that SEBAC leadership announced the bylaw review and “we’re trying to respect that process.”

SEBAC officials also haven’t discussed whether the union leaders can decide bylaw changes on their own, or whether they must cast ballots as directed by a preliminary vote of the rank-and-file–a process they do follow when it comes to considering concession proposals. But a source said no rank-and-file votes have been conducted on bylaw matters to date, and there would be little time to do so before Monday’s meeting.

O’Connor did say that while the bylaw review work continues, coalition leadership is working hard on two other fronts: trying to reach another tentative concession plan with the governor, and closely monitoring the roughly 6,600 layoffs the Malloy administration has planned in response to the rejected first deal, which reportedly was worth $1.6 billion over two years.

“We’re committed to a mutual settlement and we’re confident we’ll get there,” he said.