Union workers, leaders protest Supreme Court ruling in Hartford

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HARTFORD -

Union leaders, members and their political allies rallied on the steps of the state Supreme Court in Hartford Wednesday to protest a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court ruling means public sector unions on the state and local level can't require workers to pay dues that go to collective bargaining.

MORE: US Supreme Court strikes blow to union funding

Union leaders say their organizations will now have to work harder to demonstrate their value to workers. Protesters say the ruling will make for weaker unions and create safety issues.

"There is an element of hazard, of violence in working with inmates and people in the prisons," says Shirley Watson, a social worker from Torrington. "Having a union means that I am able to advocate for safer work conditions."

Those in favor of the ruling say if the unions have less pull, cities and towns could be in a better position to control costs.

Republican candidate for governor David Stemerman says Connecticut is at risk of defaulting on debt. He says it's a direct consequence of unaffordable labor agreements.

Ned Lamont, the Democratic contender for governor, says Stemerman doesn't understand that collective bargaining is not what got Connecticut into the "budget pickle" it's in right now.
 

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