SEBAC deal: UConn students paying the price

Original article written by Waterbury Rep-Am.

SEBAC deal: UConn students paying the price

On Dec. 9, 2015, this column commented on impending tuition increases at the University of Connecticut.

We made note of increases in UConn’s spending tied to personnel costs, and asserted they highlighted the need for state government to initiate labor reforms.

Unfortunately, reforms were not made and as a result, UConn students and their families may take an even bigger financial hit than originally expected.

The tuition increases UConn trustees approved in December 2015 cover academic years 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Annual tuition for Connecticut students stands to increase from $10,524 in 2015-16 to $13,799 in 2019-20, while out-of-state tuition stands to jump from $32,066 to $36,466 over the same period.

None of these figures include room-and-board and student fees.

Adjustments may be made.

As The Associated Press reported in a story the Republican-American carried June 13, UConn Chief Financial Officer Scott Jordan has informed trustees that, to balance the university budget, the planned increase for 2019-20 may have to be increased further.

A significant variable is “the university is facing steep wage increases and growing fringe benefit costs,” according to the AP.

For this, UConn students and their families can thank Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and all Democrats in the legislature, save for Rep. John K. Hampton, of Simsbury.

Last year, Gov. Malloy reached a “concessions” deal with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC).

It provides for a no-layoff guarantee for most unionized state employees between 2017 and 2021; and annual raises of 3.5 percent in 2020 and 2021.

Most egregiously, it preserves through 2027 the master agreement that protects most unionized state employees’ retirement and health benefits.

The SEBAC package took effect after all legislative Democrats but Rep. Hampton voted to ratify it last July.

Thanks to a UConn policy that dates to 1977, non-unionized university employees are guaranteed raises whenever their unionized colleagues receive them.

With their unwillingness to buck their political backers in Big Public Labor, Gov. Malloy and mostDemocratic lawmakers have cleared the way for more hardship for UConn students and their families, many of whom are Connecticut residents and taxpayers.

That is ironic, given that liberal Democrats frequently make sanctimonious shows of portraying themselves as champions of average people.

Indeed, the “concessions” deal has caused instability at the separate – and already troubled – Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

The UConn situation is yet another reason for Connecticut voters to choose wisely during this year’s state elections.

Indeed, state government’s relations with labor should be the primary issue.

Furthermore…

Still struggling Sometimes, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issues a statement after the release of a monthly employment report, and sometimes he doesn’t. Predictably, he was quick to send one out June 14, when the state Department of Labor delivered encouraging news about jobs. The state gained 4,100 jobs last month, though the good news is tempered by an adjustment of the April data, increasing job losses from 1,400 to 1,900. Gov. Malloy said the May numbers “demonstrate that Connecticut has more private-sector jobs than we did before the Great Recession.”

As Gov. Malloy has noted many times in the past, little meaningful information can be gleaned from one month’s gain or loss, but his record spans more than seven years – a period in which Connecticut, with all its advantages of location, labor-force quality and quality of life, has been eating the dust of every state in New England.

SEBAC deal: UConn students paying the price

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