It was revolutionary for its time. Enacted in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act gave workers in private industry the right to organize and collectively bargain. For public employees, however, there is no such federal right. Each state determines whether to allow its public employees to collectively bargain. For four decades after the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, Connecticut did not negotiate with its employees on issues ranging from working conditions and wages to pensions and health care. The results were disastrous.
The state House of Representatives took a significant step July 24 toward solving Connecticut’s fiscal crisis by ratifying a concessions deal with the state workforce. The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) agreement now heads to the state Senate for further consideration. If passed by the state Senate, the savings achieved by this historic deal are substantial and unprecedented.