Connecticut Police & Fire Union

State Union Coalition Hails Court Decision on Rowland Layoffs

State Union Coalition Hails Court Decision on Rowland Layoffs

Former Connecticut governor John G. Rowland

Attorney Daniel E. Livingston, chief negotiator for the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) today commented on the Second Circuit ruling that former Gov. John Rowland violated 2,800 unionized public employees’ First Amendment rights when it targeted them for layoffs in 2003:

“After nearly a decade, the Second Circuit Court’s opinion invalidating John Rowland’s layoff of nearly 3,000 state employees is a tremendous victory for the free speech rights of all Americans. The court held that when a governor punishes people because of the group to whom they belong – whether it’s a union or a political party, or a religion – he or she violates our Constitution’s most cherished provisions.

“The case is now being remanded to the district court to craft appropriate equitable relief, and to consider the case for damages against the former governor. “The Second Circuit Court’s opinion shows that Rowland’s treatment of public service workers as the enemy is costly and destructive – to the workers and the vital public services they provide, and to every taxpayer.

“Instead, it is mutual respect – for the law, for public service workers, and most importantly the public we all serve – which will move us forward towards a better future. Our country and state simply function better when top officials work with and for working families, instead of against them.

“Ultimately the Court’s decision is a welcome reminder to the John Rowlands of Connecticut, the Scott Walkers of Wisconsin and the Koch brothers of everywhere that in America it’s not just the powerful, the rich and the big corporations that have free speech rights. Ordinary Americans, whether they work for the government, private industry or their corner drug store, have rights, too.”

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