Reassurances Regarding State’s Employee Relations Manager’s Message

Some of you may be aware that earlier today, Matt Newland, State of NH Employee Relations Manager, issued a Collective Bargaining update to Human Resource Directors within the Executive Branch. In this email, Newland stated that all unrepresented employees will be receiving a raise in the check they receive on July 12.  He also identified links to the contracts that have been ratified by the NEPBA and the Teamsters. He closed his message by stating that any item that has a sunset provision in the 2011- 2013 CBA’s of the SEA and the NHTA are no longer in effect including layoff provisions and procedures and COBRA benefits upon layoff.

“Mr. Newland was simply doing his job as the State’s Employee Relations Manager to alert the HR professionals,” said Diana Lacey.  “While it is true that any items with a sunset provision are no longer in effect in our contract, the provisions having to do with layoffs remain in effect with the state’s Personnel Rules.”

The SEA had negotiated layoff protections in the 2011-2013 contracts to be certain workers would be covered in the event the LEGISLATURE removed the provisions from the Personnel Rules.  However, the LEGISLATURE did not make any modifications to these PARTICULAR provisions.  THE LEGISLATURE DID SUSPEND THE BUMPING PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE PERSONNEL RULES BUT FOR THOSE WORKERS REPRESENTED UNDER THE SEA AGREEMENT, PERMANENT MODIFIED BUMPING RIGHTS REMAIN IN PLACE REGARDLESS OF EVERGREEN STATUS.

“Our protections regarding layoff procedures, such as time of notice, etc., are still in effect and workers should not be disturbed by Mr. Newland’s message,” Lacey said.  “Sadly, though, the sunset rule does apply to the COBRA benefits upon layoff. We are working very hard to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

It is also true that certain state employees will soon be seeing a raise in their paychecks.  As you know, the SEA Executive Branch Bargaining Senate voted to send the bargaining team back to the table because the state’s proposal was unacceptable without further consideration and alterations.  The chief areas of concern were dramatic changes to both the health plan and the sick leave plan, as well as changes to wages. You can read more about this here.

What Does Being in “Evergreen” Mean?

Many of the contracts the SEA negotiates contain what is commonly known as an “evergreen” clause.  An “evergreen” clause applies when a contract reaches its expiration date and no new contract (agreement) has been reached. In such cases, the existing contract provisions remain in place until a new agreement is executed.  The employer must honor the current contract. The Executive Branch Collective Bargaining Agreement contains an “evergreen” clause:

The actual contract language in the Executive Branch CBA is found in Article 21, section one (21.1.)

Duration:

This Agreement as executed by the Parties is effective upon its execution and shall remain in full force and effect through June 30, 2013 or until such time as a new Agreement is executed.

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