Prior to 1970, there was no Union for State Police Officers. Working conditions and benefits were dictated. We had little input in how Troopers’ jobs and compensation were determined. This meant low pay, no overtime for long hours of work, frequent changes to our shift schedules, poor medical coverage, and an unfair disciplinary process. Basically, Troopers had no rights at all.
In the early 1970s, Troopers joined Chapter 174 of the Connecticut State Employees Association (CSEA) to improve these poor working conditions. Through CSEA, a shortened work week to 40 hours, enhancement of medical benefits, and improved working conditions were established. However, Troopers were still being disciplined without just cause, transferred to undesirable work assignments and locations, in addition to being paid low wages. Troopers were still dependent “on the kindness of strangers” – the Governor, Legislature and Management.
In the late 1970’s Troopers finally won the right to collectively bargain. Troopers could bargain with the State of Connecticut over pay, benefits and working conditions. But Troopers felt lost inside a large State Employee Union of some 40,000 workers with only 800 Troopers represented by CSEA. In addition, Troopers have unique careers, problems, and working conditions. An independent Union was needed to devote more time and energy to the unique character of law enforcement, and to the challenges of having a labor Union inside a paramilitary organization like the State Police, which is also insulated from many of the innovations in personal and labor relations.
On July 1, 1981, Troopers broke away from CSEA and formed the Connecticut State Police Union. The Union became the exclusive collective bargaining representatives for State Troopers and Sergeants. Five collective bargaining agreements were negotiated. The Union has made great strides in improving Troopers’ working conditions through tough negotiations at the bargaining table, and lobbying at the State Capitol. The Union will continue to attain better benefits and working conditions.