Like many large cities, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau hosted the annual State of the City address. The local media organizations were quick to mention that Mayor Lozeau went right for the unionized workers at the Nashua Police Commission.
The Nashua Telegraph (NT) editorial board talked about this in their article, Two takeaways in mayor’s State of City address.
“The mayor called out the Nashua Police Commission and its five labor unions for being the only ones that have yet to approve a new contract that contains employee concessions for health care.” (NT)
Do you know why they have not accepted a new contract with the city? They are not willing to shoulder another pay cut, in the form of higher health care costs.
“This not only is unfair to their colleagues in other city departments, Lozeau said, but it has cost the city $438,415 in health care premiums that should have been shouldered by Police Department employees.” (NT)
What Mayor Lozeau is not saying is that all of the other Nashua unions she mentioned agreed to a 10% hike in healthcare costs. Now she wants the remaining five departments employees to take the additional $438,000 in healthcare costs.
“The five police unions, which all have contracts that expired in July of 2011, include a supervisor union, patrolmen union and three civilian unions consisting of a Teamsters group, communications union and United Auto Workers union. (UL)”
The five unions represent 250 employees, and why should they pick up the $430,000 dollar tab.
Today the NH Union Leader (UL) ran the article, Police chief blasts Nashua mayor’s union remarks.
“Ten other unions have found a way to do that with their employer boards. There is no reason for the Police Commission and their unions to fail to do so,” said the mayor.”
“I believe it was a little uncalled for, and a little unprofessional,” Chief John Seusing said on Wednesday”
“We certainly believe we are making a good-faith effort and have been for almost two years,” said Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas on Wednesday, adding that he has personally attended numerous mediation sessions. “We are trying hard. We are taking this very seriously. I can understand the frustration, as we are a bit frustrated ourselves.”
Why should they accept a bad deal from the Mayor if it will only hurt the members. It is obvious that the unions do not feel they are getting a fair deal in these negotiations, which is why they have not come to an agreement. Since the details of the negotiations are supposed to be confidential, I have no knowledge of what the city is offering in return for a 10% hike in healthcare. Given that the city seems to be in a money crunch and is trying to force employees to pay more for healthcare, I highly doubt they are offering any pay raises in the contract. Without a pay raise the city is trying to chip away at the pay of the workers and that is wrong.