Bryan Cohen Dec. 10, 2013, 8:14pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen issued a statement Monday on the opening of settlement negotiations with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.

Jepsen said the state filed the case against SEBAC ten years ago without any progress on substantive discussions to seek a resolution. The state alleges SEBAC engaged in unfair layoffs that burdened thousands of families, all of whom have lived without resolution for more than a decade.

Jepsen's office withdrew its petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition v. Rowland after SEBAC requested to open settlement negotiations.

"Withdrawal of the petition is a necessary condition for meaningful negotiations to take place," Jepsen said. "As a practical matter, given the complexity of this case and the other pending related cases, these discussions simply cannot be completed in the time before the Supreme Court would rule upon our petition. At the same time, any such decision by the court on the petition before negotiations are completed would dramatically alter the parties' bargaining positions and impede productive discussions by removing the uncertainty that hangs over both parties today."

Jepsen said the unions and the state acknowledge the potential of many additional years of expensive litigation if the case does not settle. He said he hoped the circumstances will be conducive to productive negotiations.

"I am confident that the petition has brought the unions to the table under circumstances favorable to reasonable discussions, and I'm prepared to meet them there in good faith," Jepsen said. "Should a resolution not prove possible, however, Connecticut taxpayers can rest assured that I will act accordingly with their best interests in mind, as I feel is my ethical responsibility as their attorney general."

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