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State reaches contract agreements with 4 unions

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 23. 2018 8:46PM

CONCORD — State officials announced Monday that tentative contract agreements expected to cost $13.5 million were reached with four state employee unions. Gov. Chris Sununu announced details of the contracts, saying the tentative agreements recognize the tremendous work of state employees and the interests of taxpayers.

“We have an excellent collective bargaining process in place, and that process worked,” Sununu said. “While neither side got everything it wanted, both sides kept faith with the process, negotiated in good faith, and achieved a fair compromise that delivers a true win-win for the State and its hard working employees. This is truly the New Hampshire way, and I extend my sincere thanks to all involved for their hard work in getting us to this point.”

The agreements provide cost-of-living increases for union members, while making changes to policies that “will reduce the administrative burden on the state and better align work incentives,” said Sununu’s spokesman, Ben Vihstadt, in a news release.

Employees represented by the State Employees Association (SEA), the New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA), and the New Hampshire Troopers Association (NHTA) will receive a 1.5 percent raise effective the first pay period after execution of a final contract, and another 1.5 percent raise in January of 2019.

State corrections officers represented by Teamsters Local 633 will receive a 9.1 percent raise effective July 1, 2018, with the larger increase for corrections officers reflecting a market adjustment to better align pay in New Hampshire with other states, according to a release from Sununu’s office.

In exchange for pay raises, employees agreed to changes in sick leave and bonus leave policies, allowing the state to reduce administrative costs.

The four contracts are expected to cost about $13.5 million in general funds in fiscal year 2019. The agreements must still be ratified by each union and by the Legislature.

NHTA President Marc Beaudoin said “the New Hampshire Troopers Association is pleased to have reached an agreement with the state that is fair for the troopers while being fiscally conservative for the state.”

“The SEA is pleased to announce that they have reached the terms for a tentative contract settlement with the state, ” said Jim Niall, chairman of the SEA Master Bargaining Team.

The SEA and state officials are working to finalize the language of the agreement, and the SEA has scheduled a meeting of its bargaining senate on Thursday to review the tentative agreement.

“Teamsters Local 633’s negotiating committee wholeheartedly supports this contract settlement,” said Jeff Padellaro, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 633 of NH. “The brave men and women of the NH Department of Corrections work long hours in a very dangerous environment, and I am glad that the state has recognized the need to become more competitive in order to attract and retain corrections officers through this agreement. We now call on the legislature to support and fund this contract.”

“After a long and arduous journey we are happy to finally get an agreement with the state of NH that shows some respect for the hard work, dedication, and loyalty to the critically needed law enforcement personnel of the state of New Hampshire,” said NEPBA Chief Negotiator Ronald Scaccia. “Hopefully going forward the state recognizes that to retain its qualified law enforcement personnel who risk their lives for the citizens of New Hampshire they must offer competitive wages and benefits.”

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Thank you, Sununu