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December 08. 2012 9:11PM

State Employees Association files unfair labor practice against Liquor Commission over part-time hours issue

CONCORD - The union representing state employees has filed unfair labor practice charges against the state Liquor Commission, alleging the commission is improperly classifying part-time workers to reduce their pay.

Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees' Association Service Employees International Union Local 1984, said the commission is classifying about 1,200 part-time employees as temporary workers not covered by the union's collective bargaining agreement with the state.

By doing so, she said, the commission has altered employee schedules, costing part-time employees an average of $2,500 annually.

"These are the lowest-paid workers and they just took another 10 percent of their pay," Lacey said.

The union filed its charges on Thursday with the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board after the union spent four months exhausting "all attempts at diplomacy," she said.

Schedule changes

Lacey is alleging that the Liquor Commission has also adjusted schedules to ensure workers are on the clock less than 30 hours per week to keep them from being able to access the state's health-care plan or retirement benefits.

She compared the Liquor Commission to the retail giant Walmart, which has recently seen its part-time workers complain about their treatment.

"They're at the front line of a $300 million business," she said of the Liquor Commission's part-time employees. "This has been a Walmartization of their work force."

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Tim Buckland may be reached at tbuckland@unionleader.com.


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