Union launches TV ads to address budget-related job cut threat

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HARTFORD — One of the largest state employee unions is launching a television ad campaign to address the threat of more than 1,000 job cuts amid Connecticut's budget shortfall.

SEIU District 1199 represents 7,600 state workers, a group that includes nurses, direct care workers and others.

In a 30-second spot dubbed "One Connecticut," employees describe themselves as parents, siblings and neighbors who provide key public services, such as caring for veterans and children with mental illness. The ad begins running Monday.

"This is not just an ad. This is not just me talking about my job. It really is about the child that I see or the family that calls me or needs to sit down and needs that support that they haven’t had or they’ve been needing for some time. That's not something that we really want to continually negotiate on the backs of, those children and those families," said Darnell Ford, a children services worker featured in the ad.

The ad's message speaks to losing the services these jobs provide, not just the jobs themselves.

"My thoughts are: What’s going to happen to these people? So it’s not so much about my job," said Sonja Morton, a clinical social worker also featured in the ad. "The work that we do is very important to the people of Connecticut."

The ad comes weeks after Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy offered a revised $19.8 billion state budget for the new fiscal year which reduces the state workforce by more than 1,000 employees to help address the state's deficit problems.

A spokesman for Governor Malloy declined to comment on the ad.