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About NH Labor

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

Oct. 23 2014 Weekly Summary Of Communication Positions Posted At UnionJobs

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For more information go to UnionJobs.com

AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
Development Manager, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Strategic Campaigns Coordinator, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Safety and Health Fellow, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department  District of Columbia
Corporate Research Analyst, Office of Investment  District of Columbia

AFSCME (Council 3)
Database Analyst and IT Coordinator, Baltimore  Maryland

AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
Communications Director, Local 400, PFT (Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers)  Pennsylvania
Human/Civil Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department District of Columbia
Senior Associate/Writer, Communications Department District of Columbia

California Labor Federation
Communications Specialist  California

CNA/NNU (California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses United (NNU) AFL-CIO)
Web Editor, Oakland  California

CPD (Center for Popular Democracy)
Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator, New York City,  New York

FEA (Florida Education Association)
Director of Information Technology, Tallahassee, Florida  (National Posting)

IFPTE (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21)
Communications And Research Specialist, San Francisco Bay Area California

LIUNA (Laborers International Union of North America)
Media Outreach Manager, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

NNU (National Nurses United)
Video Specialist, Oakland  California
Educator – Immediate Opening, San Francisco Bay area  California
Communications Specialist, Oakland California

NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union)
Media Specialist (Posted: 9/24/2014) District of Columbia

NYHTC (New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council)
Video Communications SupervisorNew York

Public Citizen – Global Trade Watch
Communications Officer  District of Columbia
National Field Director  District of Columbia

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)
Video Specialist – Communications & Marketing Department, Los Angeles  California

SEIU (1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East)
Communications Specialist, Boston  Massachusetts
Web-Graphic Designer, Baltimore  Maryland

SEIU (Local 32BJ)
Communications Specialist: Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia based Pennsylvania
Regional Communications Manager: New York  New York 

SEIU (Local 721)
Communications Specialist  California

SEIU (SEIU Healthcare 775NW)
Communications Specialist, Seattle  Washington

UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union)
Senior Strategic Targeting Coordinator, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

UFT (United Federation of Teachers)
Digital Content Specialist, New York  New York

United NY
New Media Associate, Manhattan New York

Wisconsin Jobs Now
 Online Campaigner  National

Working America (a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Communications Director  District of Columbia
Health Care Outreach Associates, Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Greensboro, NC; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Orange County, CA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC  (National Posting)
Writer  District of Columbia

Congresswoman Kuster Receives the Endorsement of the Sierra Club

Kuster Endorsed by Sierra Club

Kuster Endorsed by Sierra ClubLebanon, NH – This afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster was proud to accept the endorsement of the New Hampshire Sierra Club, which offered its support because of Kuster’s work to protect the Granite State environment and conserve our natural resources.

“As a life-long Granite Stater and an avid outdoorswoman, I recognize that our natural resources are among New Hampshire’s most valuable assets,” Kuster said. “I’m honored to have the support of the Sierra Club and their many members here in the Granite State. In Congress, I have fought to protect our natural resources here in New Hampshire and across the country, and understand the need to address the effects of climate change in order to protect our state’s crucial tourism jobs. Meanwhile, my opponent is funded by billionaire oil magnates, and she continues to deny humanity’s role in global climate change. I look forward to continuing to work with the Sierra Club to protect the environment and conserve our natural resources in New Hampshire and all across the country.”

“The Sierra Club endorses Annie Kuster because she is an environmental champion,” said Jim Allendinger, Chapter Political Committee Co-Chair. “She has supported our outdoor recreation economy, passenger rail, and investments in renewable energy and weatherization that would create local jobs while addressing climate disruption. We are proud to endorse her in her bid for re-election.”

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Kuster has voted repeatedly to conserve the New Hampshire environment and its natural resources, and help our local farms grow and create more jobs. She’s worked with businesses across New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District to discuss ways to address the harmful effects of climate change, which are already taking a toll on the state’s second largest industry, tourism and recreation.  Kuster has also supported bipartisan energy efficiency legislation to reduce the cost of energy for New Hampshire families.

In contrast, Kuster’s opponent is the hand-picked candidate of the billionaire oil titans the Koch Brothers, does not believe climate change is man-made, and if elected, will push the Koch’s philosophy of climate-denying on the Granite State.

Information for NH Residents on 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace

Healthcare Gov ACA Obama

NH Insurance Department Issues First in a Series of Consumer Guidance

Concord, NH ­– The New Hampshire Insurance Department offers information to state residents who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market for 2015, including plans offered through the state’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov).

“As the November 15 open enrollment date approaches, we want New Hampshire citizens who plan to buy health insurance through the Marketplace to be aware of their options as consumers,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “The Insurance Department regulates all insurance offered to individual consumers in the state, including health insurance.  While we are not involved in enrollment for the Marketplace, we can offer guidance that will enable residents to make informed choices.  Our Consumer Services staff is also available to assist with issues that arise after people are enrolled in coverage.” 

More choices for New Hampshire residents and businesses in 2015:  

Just one company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, offered health insurance plans on the federally facilitated New Hampshire Health Marketplace in 2014, its first year in operation. However, in 2015, New Hampshire residents using the Marketplace will have five health insurance companies – and many plans and health provider networks – to choose among:

  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant (Time)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Maine Community Health Options
  • Minuteman Health

All but Assurant also plan to offer health insurance on the federally-operated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for New Hampshire, available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

For more information about these companies’ health provider networks, go to: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/legal/documents/pres_updated_network08.25.14.pdf.
More detailed plan comparison information will also be available soon on www.CoveringNewHampshire.org 

Another new option: New Hampshire Health Protection Program:

The New Hampshire Health Protection Program, New Hampshire’s new health program for low-income residents, began offering coverage on Aug. 15, 2014.  People whose income is below certain levels (about $16,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a family of four) can qualify for no-cost or very low-cost health coverage.  More information is available from the NH Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/ombp/nhhpp/.

People who are eligible for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program may not continue to receive federal tax credits in 2015. They should go to www.HealthCare.gov between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 to cancel any 2015 Marketplace coverage and tax credits. 

Open enrollment – be sure to check your options, even if you’re already covered:

For 2015 individual plans, open enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. These dates apply to all individual health insurance plans, regardless of whether they are purchased through the Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov). New Hampshire residents buying individual market coverage will not be able to buy 2015 coverage or change their 2015 plans after Feb. 15, 2015 unless they have a change in circumstances, such as changing jobs, getting married, or having a baby.

Coverage for 2015 plans can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2015 (for those who sign up by Dec. 15, 2014).

Open enrollment is a resident’s opportunity to check the Marketplace to see whether there is a new plan that costs less, has a more suitable network, or has better cost sharing or prescription drug coverage.

New Hampshire residents who had coverage in 2014 should watch their mail for a renewal letter from their insurance company that explains their options and timeframes for renewal. People who bought health coverage in 2014 will be renewed on their current plan, or one that is similar, if they take no action.

Those who bought 2014 coverage on www.HealthCare.gov also will receive a notification from the Marketplace about their specific options, including information about any tax credits.  For most people receiving tax credits, the credits also will continue at the same level if they take no action.

Automatic renewal may not be the best choice, especially for people receiving tax credits:

  • Tax credit amounts are based on income and family size, but also on the pricing of plans available for that calendar year (2nd lowest cost silver plan).
  • Those residents receiving tax credits should check their options to be sure they are getting the assistance for which they are eligible, and that their tax credit amount is based on the most current information.

COMING SOON: Where can I get help with renewal and enrollment questions?

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance

Jeanne Shaheen Releases New TV Ad and Three New Digital Ads

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New Shaheen Campaign TV Ad Highlights Clear Choice For New Hampshire

Latest Ad Highlights Shaheen Record Working For NH Small Businesses,
Brown Record Siding With Big Oil, Big Banks and Out-of-State Corporate Interests, Not New Hampshire’s

Today, the Shaheen campaign released a new television ad titled Clear Choice,” which highlights the contrast  between Senator Shaheen’s work making a difference for New Hampshire small businesses and Scott Brown’s record of delivering for corporate special interests like Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that outsource jobs.

To watch the ad, click here

“The choice for Granite Staters is clear: while Jeanne Shaheen has helped countless New Hampshire businesses grow and create jobs, Scott Brown has spent his career delivering for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that outsource jobs. Scott Brown is not for New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.

The ad discusses how the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act Shaheen championed and the Small Business Innovation Research Program she fought to expand have both helped New Hampshire businesses grow and create jobs.

“Her Small Business Jobs Act cut our taxes,” says Aaron Bagshaw, Owner of WH Bagshaw, in the ad.

“Jeanne Shaheen championed innovation grants; we’ve hired 50 new people,” says Jenny Houston, Owner of Warwick Mills.

The Small Business Jobs Act cut taxes for small businesses, increased business’ access to credit and helped New Hampshire companies export their products. The Small Business Innovation Research program gives funding to small businesses to invest in research and development.

In contrast, Scott Brown voted against the Small Business Jobs Act, instead supporting billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil and companies that ship jobs overseas. Scott Brown also secured billions in special breaks for Wall Street when he watered down new regulations on behalf of the big banks.

At a debate on Tuesday, a Concord audience laughed at Scott Brown when he tried to run from his long and well-documented support for companies that outsource jobs; in the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and he’s now personally profiting as a board member of a company that sent jobs to China and Mexico.

Shaheen Campaign Also Releases Three Digital Ads Ahead of Thursday Debate

Ads Highlight Choice Between Shaheen Record Fighting for New Hampshire and Brown Record Proving NH Families Can’t Trust Him

Also today, the Shaheen campaign released three digital pre-roll ads that are running online on websites like Hulu, Youtube, and Pandora, which all highlight the choice voters face in the November election. The ads contrast Jeanne Shaheen’s record fighting for New Hampshire and Scott Brown’s positions that show he can’t be trusted to stand up for our state’s women or middle class families.

“With less than two weeks until the election, New Hampshire voters continue to see a very clear choice between a Senator who has spent decades fighting to make a difference for the people of this state and someone who has shown time and time again that he can’t be trusted to stand up for women or middle class families here in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.

“Whether it’s his votes against equal pay for equal work, his support for legislation that would allow employers to deny women access to contraception or his involvement with shady corporate interests, Scott Brown’s record is clear.  He’s not for New Hampshire,” Kirstein added.

The first ad, titled, Workforce,” discusses the pay gap working women face in today’s economy, the work Senator Shaheen has done to combat pay discrimination, and the Senator’s work to ensure that women should always have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. The ad goes on to discuss Scott Brown’s vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act and co-sponsorship of the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny women coverage for birth control.

The second, titled Equal Rights,” highlights Scott Brown’s support for legislation that would deny women access to contraception and his opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen equal pay protections for women. The ad also discusses Scott Brown’s backward positions on marriage equality, including his past votes to ban gay marriage.

The third ad, titled, Resigned,” highlight’s Scott Brown’s actions following his failed reelection bid for the Senate in Massachusetts that include getting paid $1.3 million in stock from a Florida company called Global Digital Solutions (GDSI), a controversial cosmetics company turned arms manufacturer whose executives have been sued for fraud.

League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, Sierra Club Endorse Jeanne Shaheen

Sierra Club Logo

LCV and Sierra Club Leaders Cite Shaheen’s Record of Supporting Clean Energy Investments and Working to Combat Climate Change

Energy and Environmental Advocates: Scott Brown’s Energy Agenda is Wrong for New Hampshire 

Exeter – Today, the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and the Sierra Club endorsed Senator Jeanne Shaheen at a press conference in Exeter. The event featured New Hampshire State Director of the League of Conservation Voters, Rob Werner, New Hampshire Chapter Director of the Sierra Club, Cathy Corkery, and Phil Coupe, President of Revision Energy, a local small business. The speakers discussed how Senator Shaheen’s record of working to combat climate change and reduce energy costs stands in stark contrast to Scott Brown’s record of fighting for Big Oil companies at the expense of New Hampshire families.

“I’ve worked hard throughout my career to lower energy costs and combat climate change for people here in New Hampshire because I know that’s what’s best for our environment and our economy,” said Shaheen. “Scott Brown’s record tells a different story. His energy agenda would result in fewer jobs and higher prices for people in New Hampshire while Big Oil would get billions more in tax breaks. That’s just further proof that Scott Brown is not for New Hampshire.”

“Senator Jeanne Shaheen has a strong record of support for action on climate change, energy, and environmental issues that are consistent with New Hampshire values,” said Rob Werner, New Hampshire State Director of the League of Conservation Voters. “The League of Conservation Voters is proud to stand with Senator Shaheen and we urge New Hampshire voters to send her back to the US Senate.”

“The Sierra Club is endorsing Jeanne Shaheen because we know we can count on her to best represent our values to find smart solutions to our generation’s most critical environmental problems,” said Cathy Corkery, New Hampshire Chapter Director of the Sierra Club. “When Scott Brown represented Massachusetts in the Senate, he voted multiple times to protect more than $20 billion in special tax payer subsidies to the world’s biggest oil companies. Big Oil paid for his campaign to send him to the Senate in Massachusetts, and now that he’s in New Hampshire, they’re trying to do the exact same thing.”

Jeanne Shaheen has a long record of working to reduce energy costs and combat climate change, which is already impacting New Hampshire’s economy. As Governor, Jeanne Shaheen took on the big utility companies to lower rates for New Hampshire consumers. In the Senate, she is promoting bipartisan energy efficiency legislation which would cut pollution by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road, create nearly 200,000 new jobs by 2030, and save consumers more than $16 billion a year. Instead of supporting this commonsense bill, Scott Brown personally lobbied against it.

Scott Brown has not only denied the existence of man-made climate change, but also voted repeatedly to give special tax breaks to the world’s richest oil companies, which just last year made over $90 billion in profits. He’s now pushing an energy agenda that could result in higher costs and fewer jobs for people in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Jeanne Shaheen has fought to close those taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil companies and instead has sought to increase investments in renewable energy that will create good jobs here in New Hampshire.

Labor Movement Mobilizes Latino Working Families Ahead of Midterm Elections

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

Latinos in key battleground states rally around worker-friendly candidates

(Washington, DC) – With the 2014 midterm elections around the corner, the AFL-CIO is increasing its mobilization efforts to reach out to Latinos voters in key states across the country. The AFL-CIO is urging voters to support candidates who stand up for the issues that matter the most to working families, not just wealthy CEOs.

Through phone banks, canvassing and community organizations, volunteers are reaching out to Latino voters in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Last week the AFL-CIO circulated fact sheets detailing the significance of the Latino vote in deciding important races in each of these states.

“Latino voters are vital to ensuring that worker-friendly candidates are elected to represent their communities,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “So much is at stake this year – from keeping higher education affordable to implementing a roadmap to citizenship. It is clear that Latinos cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. The labor movement is committed to making sure that the voice of this important community is heard loud and clear on November 4th.”

America’s Latinos are an ever-increasing voting population. According to the Pew Research Center, a record 25.2 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, making up 11% of eligible voters nationwide. However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters has historically lagged that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. The efforts of the AFL-CIO seek to close this turnout gap and support the election of politicians that stand up for middle class families.

Local Economy PAC Announces “All About Andy” Campaign to Introduce Voters to the Real Andy Sanborn

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Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.47.53 AM

Campaign will educate Senate District 9 voters about Sanborn’s extreme voting record, money ties, and business dealings 

Peterborough, NH – A new campaign dubbed “All About Andy” will use mail, paid advertising, direct voter contact, and online activities to introduce voters across Senate District 9 to the real Andy Sanborn in the run-up to the November 4 election. The campaign and a related microsite, www.allaboutandy.org, were announced this morning by Strong Local Economies NH, a state political committee formed by New Hampshire residents to advance a proactive local economy agenda for New Hampshire.

“Andy Sanborn wants District 9 voters to believe he’s a bipartisan compromiser. But based on his voting record, he’s the most extreme member of the New Hampshire Senate – and votes don’t lie,” said Molly Cowan, chair of Strong Local Economies NH. “When we scored and graded every senator on local economy votes in our Local Economy Report Card, Sanborn earned an F grade and a score of just 27% – far below every other senator, Republican or Democrat.”

The Local Economy Report Card, released in September, found Sanborn voted against helping unemployed people start small businesses, against expanding access to affordable health coverage for 50,000 uninsured New Hampshire residents, and against multiple bills aimed at combating the corruption of the political process by big money that stacks the deck in favor of out-of-state big business interests at the expense of local, home-grown small businesses, among other things. The full report card is available online at: http://bit.ly/NHLocalEconomyReportCard

“Republicans and Democrats across District 9 are joining in opposition to Sanborn not only because of his failing grades on local economy issues, but also because of serious questions about his values and his judgment raised by his financial ties and business dealings,” Cowan said. “The ‘All About Andy’ campaign will highlight these questions and bring a reality check to Sanborn’s claims about bipartisanship. Because in reality, the only thing that’s bipartisan about Andy Sanborn is his opposition.”

Follow the “All About Andy” campaign sponsored by Strong Local Economies NH here:

Website: www.allaboutandy.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LocalEconomyNH

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StrongLocalEconomiesNH

New Hampshire Working Women Speak Out AFT Pres. Randi Weingarten and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (OCT-24th)

AFT Pres Randi Weingarten 2014 convention (Image by Russ Curtis) -2

New Hampshire Working Women Speak Out

As we head into the final days of this crucial election campaign, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO is privileged to have the opportunity to have two of the highest ranking women officers in the labor movement visiting Nashua, this Friday, October 24th.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler will participate in our New Hampshire “Working Women Speak Out” event to discuss the importance of women in this election, what’s at stake and issues that impact women’s lives such as equal pay for equal work, raising wages, education and paid sick time.

When: Friday, October 24, 2014 from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Where: Elks Lodge 720, 120 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, NH 03062

We have invited and hoped to be joined by Senator Shaheen, Governor Hassan and Congresswoman Kuster.

Please RSVP with the New Hampshire AFL-CIO at 603-623-7302 or you can sign up by CLICKING HERE

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

New Hampshire Citizen Outlines Personal Outsourcing Experience, Slams Scott Brown’s Outsourcing Agenda

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons

In Open Letter to Granite Staters, Ed Cunningham Explains
How “Scott Brown Only Cares About Himself”  

Manchester – Today, the Shaheen campaign released an open letter to voters from New Hampshire native Ed Cunningham, who has lived in New Hampshire his whole life but saw his life turned upside down after his job was shipped overseas. The letter slams Scott Brown for voting for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and for cashing in on the board of a company that outsourced American jobs.

“Scott Brown outsourcing policies have real consequences,” said Shaheen Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. “Ed Cunningham’s story shows firsthand why Scott Brown is fundamentally not for New Hampshire.”

See the open letter below:

My name is Ed Cunningham and I’ve lived in New Hampshire my entire life.  I was born and raised in Danville, and now live in Kensington with my wife Ginger. I’ve worked hard my entire life to provide for my family, and I never expected any sort of hand out. I always thought that if I worked hard and played by the rules I would be OK. I wanted to retire with dignity, and maybe help my kids start off on their own here in New Hampshire.

I almost lost everything in 2007 when my job was outsourced to another country. I was working at Lucent Technologies in Massachusetts when they decided that outsourcing jobs to increase their bottom line was more important than participating in maintaining a middle class here in the United States.

I can’t begin to describe how it feels to lose your job in the way I did. The range of emotions you go through – from sheer anger, to sadness, to frankly a terrible sense of fear and helplessness – is something I would never wish on my worst enemy. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I was lucky. Eventually I found another job. But others weren’t as lucky and many of my friends struggled to find a job.

Because of what happened to me, it’s very hard to put into words just how angry I was when I found out that Scott Brown not only voted for tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas, but is now personally profiting from a company that outsources American jobs.  It infuriates me – especially because he flat out lied to people during last night’s debate about his record.

Anyone who works for a living needs to know that Scott Brown only cares about himself and his own self interests. There is no other explanation for why he voted the way he did in 2010;  voting against a bill to help small business to create jobs in America. He then turned around and accepted a job from Kadent corporation, a company that plans to outsource even more American jobs. It’s impossible for me to take a word he says about “jobs” seriously. It’s obvious he doesn’t care about our jobs, he only cares about making money for corporations and himself.

Scott Brown symbolizes everything that is wrong with politicians who support the corporate greed that is ruining our country and the lives of our workers because it benefits their own bottom line. I am sending this letter to every newspaper in New Hampshire because I think this is that important. We can’t let him fool voters into thinking he actually cares about us.

Ed Cunningham
Kensington, NH

State Employees and State Enter Contract Negotiations Tomorrow

SEIU 1984 Logo

SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH, October 22, 2014 – The State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984, which represents 11 thousand state employees, announced that negotiations for the 2015-2017 employment contract between the employees and the state will officially begin tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, the employees’ bargaining team will meet with the State’s team for the first time to begin the process of negotiating an employment contract that both sides find reasonable and fair.  Typically, the first meeting is focused on establishing “ground rules,” such as dates, times, frequency, location of meetings; the structure of sessions; the bargaining environment; among other things.

“We are pleased to begin negotiations in October, which is really when we are supposed to begin by statute,” said the workers’ Bargaining Chairman, James Nall.  “It is encouraging that Governor Hassan has agreed to engage in the process before the remainder of the budget process.  We are appreciative of her willingness to begin earlier this time.”

Over the last few cycles, contract negotiations were not complete until late in the budget process; leaving both the workers and the state vulnerable to the ramifications of the legislature trying to fit funding into a nearly completed budget.  “It is great to feel that we are not an afterthought, this time,” said Nall.

The price tag of the current contract accounts for just 18% of the state’s annual expenditures.  “People are quick to assume that this is the line item to slash when balancing the state’s budget,” said Rich Gulla, SEA/SEIU 1984 president.  “In reality, far more is paid to private contractors, who carry out functions that may have previously been performed by state workers.  Interestingly, many of those contractors are from out of state, so when they receive payment from our tax dollars, that money is not spent here; it isn’t placed back into New Hampshire’s economy.  This ultimately hurts our state.”

“Before we begin the bargaining process each time, we send out a survey to all the employees in the unit,” said Nall. “It was not surprising that when responding to what one thing they would change about their job it was not their wages or benefits.  It was to provide high quality service to our citizens.  They want to have the resources to do their job. Our employees strive to provide the services to those in need – whether that’s someone who’s driving on state roads or someone needing assistance with child support.  That’s commitment and dedication.”

“Many state employees are now doing the jobs of two to three employees,” said Gulla.  “This is the result of repeated budget cuts and the elimination of over 1200 positions over the last decade.  Agencies are underfunded year after year.  Management is avoiding more layoffs by not filling vacant positions.  The amount of work to be done doesn’t decrease, though, it increases.  So services for the citizens of this great state are being negatively impacted.  That’s a problem.”

Changes related to workplace safety and wages will likely be included in this round of negotiations.

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