An open letter from Richard Gulla,
President SEA/SEIU Local 1984
On behalf of the thousands of state employees who daily give their best efforts to providing necessary services for the citizens and visitors of our state, I register our disappointment with the NH Senate Finance Committee for not including funds to provide a contracted cost of living adjustment for the employees in their budget. Although included in Governor Hassan’s budget, the NH House of Representatives and the Senate did not include these funds in their respective versions of the state budget.
Several months ago, the state’s bargaining team and the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 team reached a mutual agreement that provides for a modest salary increase over the next two years. This contract was negotiated in good faith by both parties. In not including the funds necessary to meet this contract obligation in their budget, the NH House of Representatives and the Senate have revealed their disdain and lack of appreciation for the services these committed public servants provide.
Two years ago we heard loud and clear from Senator Morse that he was displeased with the state workers’ contract not being settled in time for consideration prior to the end of the budget process. This time, we worked diligently to begin negotiations early so that the contract could be included sooner in the budget timeline. The state’s and the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 bargaining teams put in long hours of research, discussion, and negotiations to arrive at this mutually agreeable and reasonable contract. And what is the result of that effort – first, the funding is stripped from the Governor’s budget by the House of Representatives. And, now the Senate has completely ignored the contract. They did not even discuss the contract with the employees who help deliver many of the services they restored funding to, such as Service Link, Meals on Wheels to name a few.
In not even discussing the merits or concerns they may have with the small cost of living raise for thousands of workers across the state, the Senate Finance Committee acted irresponsibly and state workers lose out. This is quite a message the Senate Finance Committee is sending to thousands of dedicated workers who have long been “doing more with less,” handling impossible caseloads, doing the jobs of two or three people, fueling the state’s economy, going the extra mile to serve the state’s citizens and visitors.
We call upon the full Senate to act responsibly when they meet next week to discuss and vote on the budget. We are hopeful they will do the right thing – recognize the contract, talk about it and approve it.
President, SEA/SEIU Local 1984
Senator Lou D’Allesandro Comments on Failure to Include State Employee Contract in Budget
Concord, NH – As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Lou D’Allesandro made the following comments today following the completion of the committee’s work on the state operating budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017:
“I’m disappointed that in formulating the Senate budget, one item that was completely left out was the already negotiated pay raise for state employees,” said Sen. D’Allesandro. “The state’s collective bargaining team had come to an agreement with the State Employees Association on a modest 2% cost-of-living increase. The House removed funding for the increase from its budget and the Senate failed to address the issue. This creates unfinished business. What kind of a message does it send to our workforce that we take the time to develop tax cuts for big corporations but don’t fund a modest wage increase for our hard working NH employees?”