In 2011, Connecticut public employees were being pressured to give up benefits or risk having their jobs eliminated as part of the state budget. With budget negotiations taking several months, AFT Connecticut had time to educate legislators about the work public employees were doing and how important it was to the state.
AFT Connecticut initiated the Work That Matters campaign, interviewing 23 public employees from across the state. Profile postcards were generated containing workers stories and mailed to public officials each week of the legislative session. In addition, legislators were emailed links to videos of workers telling their stories.
Here’s a sample of one of the postcards:
Probation officer Melissa Chin-Hing understands that her job goes way beyond checking in with people on probation.
“Every day we are working to rehabilitate people and reintegrate them into society,” says Melissa. “We connect them with programs that help them get their lives back on track. Most importantly we ensure that the public is safe.”
Melissa works with public agencies and non-profit organizations to coordinate services and programs and make our probation system work.
Melissa is only one of many probation officers across Connecticut whose work is being threatened by state budget cuts.
State employees like Melissa Chin-Hing are vital to Connecticut’s public safety. We need to keep them doing work that matters.
Work That Matters put a face on Connecticut public employees demonstrating how they provide the services that keep Connecticut functioning. Over the course of the legislative session, legislators’ attitude about public employees began to change. Many legislators spoke publicly about the need to preserve public employee jobs.
This weakened the governor’s position resulting in the fewest concessions among public employees nationwide that year.