SEA wants more, even though it means layoffs
Many of New Hampshire's state employees are among the best of public workers, and they ought to be rewarded and thanked for their efforts. That said, neither their union nor Gov. Maggie Hassan's forces did them any favors in the last-minute contract proposal that was to be paid for in the state budget agreement.
As it happens, the State Employees Association decided to reject a deal that was in fact much more generous in terms of pay increases (6 percent in two years) than most of the private sector is getting in this economy.
We don't know what Gov. Hassan intends to do now. Give the SEA, which is a big supporter, even more? Knock down the modest health insurance co-pays that had been tentatively agreed to?
There is no more give in the state budget that the Legislature passed and the governor signed on Friday. In fact, to come up with the dough to fund the 6-percent hikes, some of those very state workers are going to be laid off. This may include some of the best workers, but no doubt union seniority will prevail.
The union must have known this when it was hatching this deal. Working "brothers" and "sisters" stand should-to-shoulder, of course, until it's time to get the money.
Then it can also be time to throw some of the brothers under the bus. Perhaps they expect to hold out for more dough and make Maggie the fall girl, if even more layoffs ensue?
We can only hope that state Sen. Chuck Morse, who did much to keep this budget in check, will let the public know if Gov. Hassan does try to give away any more of the store. This is a tight budget, Sen. Morse said the other day. It will take hard work to make it work.