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Another View -- Rich Gulla: Sununu needs to come to the bargaining table

December 06. 2017 12:57PM

For the last 165 days, state employees in New Hampshire have worked without a contract. In that time, we have organized campaigns, sent messages, and held signs on street corners across the Granite State — all with the intent to have Gov. Chris Sununu acknowledge the struggles facing state workers.

Gov. Sununu’s refusal to negotiate wage increases for state employees demonstrates he doesn’t know, or worse, doesn’t care about, what’s at stake.

We represent more than 12,000 individuals in New Hampshire and serve as the foundation for workers to unite and take collective action. We work with the men and women who plow our roads, care for our elderly and maintain our parks — people from Pittsburg to Nashua to everywhere in-between.

I’m writing today to remind our governor — and all Granite Staters — that not having a contract has real implications for real people. These are your relatives, your friends, your neighbor down the street.

The men and women who plow the road on your commute? They can’t afford new safety boots this year because the stipend they rely on was discontinued. The nurses who took care of your mother when she was sick? They have to work two jobs because, adjusted for inflation, they’re paid less than they were 10 years ago.

In his budget address in February, Gov. Sununu stated, “When you don’t pay anyone any more money, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us who believe in capitalism that you’re going to have serious shortages, and that’s exactly what we have today.”

Gov. Sununu gave himself a massive raise over previous New Hampshire governors on day one, and gave his attorneys a substantial raise. So why is he refusing it for the very people who keep our state running?

A new contract for state employees isn’t about politics or backhanded games. It’s about people. It’s about working to help the men and women who dedicate their lives to make New Hampshire a better place every single day.

I sincerely hope our governor remembers that.

State employees need a new contract.

Rich Gulla is president of SEA/SEUI Local 1984.

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