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Rockingham commissioners approve pay raises for county workers in new contracts

BRENTWOOD — After more than two years of negotiations, Rockingham County commissioners this week voted to ratify three union contracts that will give pay raises to corrections supervisors, legal assistants and engineering and maintenance service workers.

Under the three-year contracts that expire in 2016, the employees will receive a 3 percent raise for the first year followed by 2 percent raises in the second and third years, according to Theresa Young, the county's finance officer.

The county will also pay 100 percent of short-term disability coverage for full-time workers.

The contracts will require employees to pick up the additional cost for health insurance through Northern New England Benefit Trust if increases exceed 7 percent, Young said.

This is the first time the three groups of county employees have had a contract; they are represented by Teamsters Local 633 of New Hampshire.

The county is still actively negotiating with four other bargaining units that represent corrections officers, sheriff's deputies, sheriff's supervisors and dispatchers, Pratt said.

The newly ratified contracts will now be sent to the Rockingham County delegation for funding approval. A public hearing is expected to held soon and the contracts will likely be voted on by the delegation on March 5.

"We're pleased that we're getting these wrapped up and we're hoping that we may have a couple more to bring to the March meeting," said Commissioner Kate Pratt, chairman of the board.

In some cases, employees have been working under contracts that expired several years ago.

For instance, corrections officers have worked without a new contract and pay raises for more than four years.

"We're optimistic about where we're at at this point with the corrections officers. Things have moved along and we've been doing some negotiating. We'll see if we can get some more movement in the near future," said Steve Church, superintendent of the Rockingham County jail.

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