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AFSCME | New Hampshire Rejects Right-to-Work (for Less)

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New Hampshire Rejects Right-to-Work (for Less) BY PABLO ROS  |  FEBRUARY 14, 2013 Union members in the packed New Hampshire House gallery stood and loudly applauded the defeat of a right-to-work-for-less bill. Working families in New Hampshire scored a major victory this … Continue reading

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N.H. House kills latest right-to-work legislation on 212-141 vote

By BEN LEUBSDORF Monitor staff
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
(Published in print: Thursday, February 14, 2013)

read more… via N.H. House kills latest right-to-work legislation on 212-141 vote | Concord Monitor.

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Right to work losing steam at Statehouse

Article published Feb 1, 2013 Right to work losing steam at Statehouse CONCORD — What a difference a couple of years — and an election — makes. Right-to-work supporters, including former House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, may be as … Continue reading

GOP pension-reform effort scrambled by Democratic House takeover | Concord Monitor

David Campbell of Nashua listens during a House study committee meeting to review how to reform the state pension system at the Legislative Office Building; Thursday, November 8, 2012.

GOP pension-reform effort scrambled by Democratic House takeover | Concord Monitor.

Manchester Water Works union told times have changed, no deal | New Hampshire NEWS06

By BILL SMITH  New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER — One of the public employee unions that balked at making labor contract concessions last spring now wants the same deal other unions got, but the city’s aldermen have taken the proposed deal off the table.

In June, the union representing workers at the Manchester Water Works turned down an agreement similar to deals taken by other unions, but recently they signaled an interest in getting the same package.

“We’re trying to negotiate something similar to other city unions,” said Mike Roche, president of United Steelworkers Local 8938. “We did have a package that was presented to the membership.”

But for Mayor Ted Gatsas, it’s too late when it comes to the deals the city reached with other unions.

Contract concession talks opened last winter, after it became apparent that a voter-approved property tax cap would mean city revenues would not keep pace with the increasing cost of municipal services.

Gatsas said that because months have passed since the proposal was first offered, the potential savings to the city are lower.

“They need to give me some sort of presentation that will change the minds of the aldermen who are not prepared to agree to the same deal that the other unions did in July,” Gatsas said. “They were offered the same that every other union in the city took.”

With the exception of the water employees, police department support staff and the unions representing school district teachers and principals, all of Manchester’s public worker unions agreed to the contract changes, in part for an unwritten agreement that it would save jobs.

Rejection of the contract concessions by the unions representing school teachers and principals has been controversial in light of teacher layoffs as the new fiscal year began on June 1. The Manchester Education Association, representing the teachers, rejected a proposal that Gatsas claimed would save $4.5 million and scores of teaching jobs.

The unions that took the deal got a two-year contract extension with one percent wage increases in each year and an additional week of vacation after 20 years of service in return for accepting reductions in health benefits. There were also some changes based on working conditions in individual departments.

Concessions on health care included higher premiums and higher co-payments.

The revised contracts did not include language prohibiting layoffs, but negotiators reached an understanding that savings from the revised agreements would save jobs.

Roche, the dean of city labor leaders with more than 30 years at the helm of the Steelworkers, said his union’s contract runs out next June and members are interested in working out a two-year extension.

No bargaining sessions are scheduled, and Gatsas said he will be willing to sit with the union any time, a position he has also taken with the teachers union.

Roche said he wants to be able to present something “very similar” to the proposals the city’s other unions accepted.

But Gatsas said for a contract to win approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it’ll need to be different from the deal the water works employees rejected four months ago.

“Everybody needs to come to the table with new ideas and new hopes,” the mayor said.

via Manchester Water Works union told times have changed, no deal | New Hampshire NEWS06.

Attorney: Librarians are ‘miserable’ working under Thomas

By Daymond Steer

CONWAY — Two Conway Public Library employees unleashed a barrage of criticism on their boss, library director Tara Thomas, at a heated meeting last Thursday.

Four librarians have filed a grievance against Thomas and the trustees after a proposed staff reorganization threatened the librarians’ jobs. The grievance letter states that the librarians were subjected to “ongoing unprofessional, hostile and abusive treatment” by Thomas, which “culminated” with the proposed reorganization that was announced on Sept. 17.

The reorganization plan has since been rescinded.

At last Thursday’s meeting, the librarians’ lawyer Ed Alkalay called for trustees to put Thomas on administrative leave. Alkalay also submitted more of the librarians’ complaints into the record. Alkalay gave trustees 10 days to respond to the supplemented grievance but he also urged them to work quickly.

“There are four librarians, Olga Morrill, Janis Minshull, Betty Parker and Kate Darlington, who are miserable,” said Alkalay. “They have been miserable for a long time.”

Trustees made no decisions in public, but they had two non-public sessions last Thursday night.

Minshull and Morrill forcefully described some of their complaints against Thomas before an audience of about 50 people in the library’s Ham Community Room.

“I don’t know how you think we can come into work and feel respect for Tara,” said Minshull. “Why do we have to go through all this? Can’t we realize what’s wrong and fix it?”

Minshull accused Thomas of frequently being late to work, neglecting to keep the book collection current, failing to keep the library facility clean, failing to pay vendors on time and using tablecloth covered in dog hair at a library display in Northway Bank.

“There’s nothing professional going on here,” said Minshull.

Morrill said she agreed with what Minshull had said. Morrill waved documents in the air as she spoke. She said the documents outlined more complaints against Thomas.

“She is not a professional,” said Morrill. “As I said last week, she is a programmer who lucked into a director’s job.”

Further, Morrill accused Thomas of “immature uncontrolled behavior” and of having an “inability” to manage staff. Morrill also accused Thomas of micromanaging her programs and making unnecessary expenditures.

Trustee Sarah Charles cut Morrill off by saying Thursday’s meeting “wasn’t the venue” to attack Thomas.

Earlier in the meeting, Alkalay and trustee Ted Sares had a heated exchange about the new information that Alkalay wanted to submit. Alkalay’s original grievance letter is dated Sept. 24.

Sares told Alkalay that more information can’t be added once a grievance is started. Further, Sares said the trustees were prepared to respond the the grievance on Oct. 5, which was the day after last Thursday’s meeting.

“It’s too late,” said Sares. “You have filed a grievance. You have used up your procedural time.”

That caught Alkalay off guard because he had anticipated that there would be more of a back and forth between the trustees and the librarians before the trustees rendered an opinion.

“I am containing my anger right now,” Alkalay replied to Sares.

Chair Linda Fox Phillips broke up the ensuing shouting match.

“Gentlemen, indoor voices please!” said Fox Phillips.

The trustees eventually agreed to accept the new information in exchange for the 10-day extension to respond.

Alkalay said the trustees had not attempted to get more information about the grievance from the librarians or their legal counsel.

Charles said they are investigating but they can’t discuss what they are doing.

“I am very committed to making this right,” said Charles.

Patron Andy Davis, of Albany, also called on the trustees to put Thomas on administrative leave so that the library could function while trustees investigate complaints against Thomas.

via Attorney: Librarians are ‘miserable’ working under Thomas.

Utility employees okay union pact | Concord Monitor

A new union contract has been reached for 85 employees of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, averting a possible strike, the Plymouth-based utility announced Friday.

The 5½-year contract was approved Friday by a vote of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837 members, the co-op said in a news release. The agreement will go before the utility’s board Monday for ratification.

The union and utility have been negotiating since April on a new collective-bargaining agreement. On Monday, the co-op warned that a strike was possible but said private contractors would be hired to avoid any interruption of service for the utility’s 83,000 customers.

“This was a long and sometimes difficult process, but I’d like to express my thanks and appreciation to the members of the Local 1837,” said Fred Anderson, the co-op’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “The cooperative spirit demonstrated today will allow us to continue providing our members with high-quality, reliable service.”

Details of the new contract’s terms weren’t released Friday.

The co-op provides electrical service locally to most of Alton, Andover, Gilmanton and Hill, and parts of Allenstown, Canterbury, Deerfield, Epsom, Franklin, Pittsfield and other towns.

via Utility employees okay union pact | Concord Monitor.

Board approves wage increase for some town employees | SeacoastOnline.com

KENNEBUNKPORT — The Board of Selectmen approved a 2 percent cost-of-living wage increase for non-union employees and police lieutenants at its Sept. 27 meeting.

The wage increase affects only non-union employees at this time, who make up 40 percent of the town’s workforce.

Police lieutenants are in a separate union of their own.

The approved three-year contract will include the 2 percent cost-of-living increase in its first year, with a 2.5 percent increase in the second year and a 3.5 percent increase in the third year.

The increases are retroactive to July 1, said Town Manager Larry Mead, as they were originally planned to coincide with a new contract for union employees, which ended June 30 and is in ongoing negotiations. The goal was to pass the changes together, but the proposed union contract did not gain approval from the group last week, Mead said.

“It’s now three months since we’ve gone past and I don’t think it’s fair to wait on the union membership to decide if they are going to approve the contract,” he told the board. “We certainly have adequate funds to cover this for the entire year and we’re hopeful when the union membership settles, we’ll be able to bring it forward for them as well.”

In addition to the wage increase, the board implemented a new health insurance program for non-union employees, the cost of which is 19 percent less than the current plan.

Under the new plan, there will be a deductible covered by the town, but the employee’s share of the costs will increase from the current 7 percent to 10 percent next year, and 15 percent in two years.

The board also renewed a contract with the Cape Porpoise Pier Lobster Company, which now extends for another five-year lease at a rent price of $40,000 a year. The original contract was agreed to in 2007.

via Board approves wage increase for some town employees | SeacoastOnline.com.

Details of janitors’ union contract proposal – BostonHerald.com

A tentative contract deal with a union representing 14,000 New England janitors would convert a minimum of 680 jobs to full-time positions over four years.

Union members have complained that the Maintenance Contractors of New England, an association of commercial cleaning companies, is limiting janitors’ hours to avoid paying benefits.

Under the contract proposal, reached early this morning after the janitors’ contract expired at midnight, any newly constructed building of more than 450,000 square feet in Metro Boston and Cambridge will be staffed by full-time janitors.

Also under the proposal, most wages will increase to $17.85 per hour by 2016 — an 11.9 percent increase. Some janitors in other markets would see a 12.4 percent to 13 percent wage bump over four years.

The deal requires a minimum shift of four hours in all buildings over 100,000 square feet and creates a joint labor-management independent watchdog group to investigate and eliminate unscrupulous cleaning companies.

Union janitors will maintain any health-care, vision and dental benefits they have and, for the first time ever, will get one personal day per year starting in second year of the contract.

Union members will vote on the proposed four-year contract starting Thursday.

Several hundred janitors, who were prepared to strike, attended a candlelight vigil yesterday at LoPresti Park in East Boston and participated in a procession to the Most Holy Redeemer Church.

via Details of janitors’ union contract proposal – BostonHerald.com.