AFT Connecticut leaders endorse candidates to preclude 'Wisconsin moment'

The executive committee of Connecticut’s 29,000-member American Federation of Teachers union endorsed Connecticut’s current delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other Democratic incumbents for statewide elected offices Thursday night, according to a press release.

“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” said Stephen McKeever, who was a Middletown High School science teacher for 17 years and now serves as AFT Connecticut’s first vice president. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”

The remark is directed at Connecticut Republican Party-endorsed candidate Tom Foley, who said in July 2013 that he wanted to know when “the Wisconsin moment” was going to happen in Connecticut, according to the press release. In 2011 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that stripped away many public workers’ collective bargaining rights.

“The stakes are too high to make the wrong choice,” said Jean Morningstar, who recently retired after 27 years of service as a public employee at the UConn Health Center in Farmington and is AFT Connecticut’s second vice president. “We understand that we need a voice at work and a seat at the table with elected officials to advocate for ourselves, our families and our communities.”

The candidates endorsed include the state's five members of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty; and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Treasurer Denise Nappier, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

j.somers@theday.com

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