First let me reiterate my respect for Moises Padilla. This letter is about fairness. This was the equivalent of calling the 2000 presidential election before all the votes were counted. This letter isn't about the Union losing dues because of layoffs, it's about saving jobs. Until you have taken phone calls from Correctional Staff that are agonizing about being laid off, worried about their mortgage, providing for their families, or just plain surviving in a CT economy with 9.1% unemployment, please cut me some slack. This letter was also about SAFETY in our facilities. They are going to cut posts in the facilities. We all know what is going to happen if they cut posts, prisons become even more dangerous. Anyone that has read my blog knows it's all about safety, period.
Prison Union Official Asks Outspoken Moises Padilla To "Stop Talking To The Press About SEBAC'' - Padilla Says Yankee Institute Is A Scapegoat In Ongoing Union Battles
on June 30, 2011
The chief steward at the state's toughest prison is asking a fellow union official to tone down his criticism of the savings-and-concession deal reached with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Kevin Brace, the steward at the Northern Correctional Institute, wrote a letter to Moises Padilla, an outspoken union leader in Cheshire, to say that he should not have made critical comments before all of the correctional officers had voted in all union locals around the state.
"I believe our union made a huge mistake by voting the SEBAC agreement down,'' Brace wrote. "It was our members' self-imposed ignorance that kept them away from the informational meetings that we held. Meetings that if you had attended might have put your apprehensions to rest.''
Brace specifically complained that Padilla talked about the deal before the correctional officers in his union, Local 391 in northern Connecticut, had a chance to cast their ballots. As such, Brace said, "We never got a chance for a fair vote in our local.''
Brace added, "I am pleading with you to please stop talking to the press about SEBAC, and to let things work themselves out. I am not censoring your right to free speech. I am just pointing out to you that sometimes the best intentions don't always produce the best results. I shudder to think about all of my co-workers who are going to be without jobs and the impact that it will have on all of our safety. I am dreading the days that I will have to spend at Johnson Memorial Hospital comforting the victims and the families of these assaults. Because at the end of the day, what good is the money if you don't make it home to spent it?''
Padilla could not immediately be reached for a response to Brace's two-page letter, but he remained outspoken in a recent interview with Capitol Watch by ripping the SEBAC leadership for blaming the failure of the deal, in part, on the conservative Yankee Institute.
"The Yankee Institute had nothing to do with it,'' Padilla said. "I knew all along they were looking for a scapegoat, and they found one in the Yankee Institute. It's the joke around the institution. We blame everything on the Yankee Institute. It's a running joke now.''
Padilla says it is "an insult'' to the correctional officers to believe they could not make an independent decision and instead were being swayed by a small, conservative thinktank in Hartford that many of them had never heard of.
When asked if he believes that the SEBAC leaders had done an inadequate job in explaining the details and selling the agreement to the union members, Padilla said, "This is why they have egg all over their face. I would call it a miserable job at trying to portray what was in this agreement.''
He added, "In the end, shame on the governor and the legislature for passing the budget with a big unknown in it.''
Padilla continued to criticize the proposed changes in healthcare benefits for union members. He and other union members raised concerns about the state employees' healthcare being merged into the SustiNet healthcare plan, which was mentioned repeatedly in e-mails that were circulated around the state.
When told that Malloy had explicitly and strongly denied that the state employees' plan had anything to do with SustiNet, Padilla said, "The members don't believe it. I personally don't believe it. I'm not calling the governor a liar. We don't want it.''