At least 3,000 state workers will receive pink slips next month unless their unions agree to major contract concessions, Gov. John G. Rowland said Thursday.

Rowland made the announcement a day after union representatives rejected a proposal for an early retirement plan and said they planned no further contract discussions with the governor.

Rowland has said concessions are needed to help tackle this year’s $500 million state budget deficit, and for the next two-year budget, which could be as much as $1.5 billion in the red.

Dan Livingston, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition’s chief negotiator, said talk of layoffs will not help the state find a “constructive solution” to its fiscal problems.

“His callous threat of 3,000 state employees layoffs is aimed not just at state workers, but at all of Connecticut’s citizens,” he said in a written statement. “It will simultaneously damage lives, worsen Connecticut’s economy and hurt the most vulnerable in our society who are most dependent on state services.”

Rowland said layoff notices would go out by Dec. 1. He said it would take between four to eight weeks for employees to begin losing their jobs, depending on individual union contracts. Rowland said once laid off, the employees will not be rehired.

“We are left with no other alternative than to begin the layoff process,” Rowland said Thursday. “This is not a threat, this is reality.”

The administration has not determined which state agencies will be affected. That would help to gauge how much revenue the state might save.

–Associated Press