By Eric Friedman
Nov. 4, 1998
Connecticut Education Association
Also goes by: CEA
Dislikes: Deteriorating schools.
Impressive statistic: The CEA PAC has more money in the bank ($60,000) than does the People's Bank PAC.
Chief among the issues for the state's educators
is the already tense brouhaha over state funding for public schools.
CEA and other education advocates claim the state has abdicated
its responsibility to the cities.
In fact, there are a number of areas where
the CEA could be lobbying for more public cash for the schools.
The teachers are looking for state money to fix schools that are
falling apart. There are costs associated with integrating special
education children into the mainstream school populations, hiring
aides to assist them. There is money needed to train older teachers
on computers. Then money is needed to train new teachers as the
old ones retire. But before you scoff--it's all for the kids.
Connecticut State Employees Association
Also goes by: CSEA
Likes: Good, secure jobs.
Dislikes: John Rowland, privatization, IBM.
Impressive statistic: CSEA's PAC has spent $10,000 more this year than it did in the 1996 election.
Rick Melita, CSEA's government affairs director,
illustrates the union's greatest concern over the next year: Gov.
Rowland's plan to wrest the state's information systems out of
government purview. With Reaganesque zeal, the governor has taken
a cleaver to the state bureaucracy, and the people who suffer
are the wage-earning class. "Rowland loves to take credit
for cutting the budget, but all he's done is take away state jobs,"
As it is, the CSEA is losing membership,
he says, because people are leaving their jobs for the private
sector, where the paychecks are greener. "The one thing that
made a state job attractive is the job security. It's not the
pay," Melita complains, "and now it looks like there's
no job security either."
The information-systems plan could cost the
union 600 jobs. "We can't be laid off because of privatization.
It's part of the contract with the state," Melita says. But
the CSEA hopes to fortify itself with friends in the right places,
courtesy of $46,000 in gifts this year and another $57,000 in
Connecticut Laborers' Local 230
Also goes by: Connecticut Laborers' Political
Likes: Money and influence.
Dislikes: Reform, the press.
Impressive statistic: The Laborers have the largest labor PAC in Connecticut; as of Oct. 8, they had given almost $50,000, with another $80,000 in the bank.
There's been much controversy swirling around
the Laborers' union, which represents unskilled workers in the
building trades. The national leadership of Laborers' International
Union of North America was a prominent source of soft money for
the Democratic National Committee in the 1996 election cycle,
and it is reputed to have ties to organized crime.
At Local 230 in Hartford, Vice President
Steven Manos is locked in a struggle against his local leadership,
having run an unsuccessful campaign for business manager. Manos
was assaulted by Local 230 business manager Charles LeConche and
later testified before a congressional subcommittee. Along with
other members of the local, he filed a racketeering lawsuit against
his local leadership.
LeConche, who is listed as treasurer of the
Connecticut Laborers' Political League, didn't respond to calls