SEA members in the full-time employee bargaining unit at the Community College System of NH represented by the SEA have ratified a new two-year contract with the college system that includes cost of living adjustments in each year and health care plan changes.
The SEA member negotiation team and the CCSNH reached a tentative agreement at the end of June, and bargaining unit members later voted to ratify the agreement by mail. When the votes were all counted, 81 percent voted in favor of the new agreement. Some of the highlights of the agreement include:
- Faculty receive two 5% cost of living adjustments and staff receive two 3% cost of living adjustments, one taking effect last week and the other taking effect a year from now.
- Starting next year, the college system will replace the HMO health plan it currently offers with two new plans. One, the New England Lumenos plan, has lower premium contributions but requires copays on prescription drugs. The other, the National Lumenos plan, has higher premium contributions but doesn’t require copays on prescription drugs.
- All shift differentials were increased.
Dana Mosher, a professor of building construction at Manchester Community College and an SEA member, was part of the bargaining team.
“I think it’s a pretty good deal,” Mosher said. “With the wage increases, I think the administration here looked at bringing all the members of the bargaining unit closer to the level where we should be. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Faculty received larger cost-of-living adjustments, Mosher said, because data showed they were near the bottom of the nation in pay, and the college system wanted to remain competitive.
“It seems to me as though they needed to bring the faculty up like that so they could continue to attract and maintain high quality educators,” Mosher said.
On insurance, he said the negotiating teams for the union and college collaborated well.
“I think we all did a great job on health care,” he said. “I think health care is a win for us. Both sides worked to craft something that would be a win for everybody.”
Mosher said the bargaining team worked well together.
“I think the team was great, and we worked well with the administration,” Mosher said. “We had our disagreements, but we were able to come to a consensus. It’s important that people don’t come in convinced that their point of view is the only way to do something.”
SEA President Diana Lacey was also quick to praise the work of the bargaining team.
“This is the result of a lot of hard work on their part,” Lacey said. “We congratulate them and the rest of the SEA bargaining unit members at CCSNH on reaching this important agreement.”
The other members of the SEA’s bargaining team were Becky Clerkin from Great Bay Community College, Wendy Parent from Lakes Region Community College, Mike Burnham from Nashua Community College, Irene Aubut and Steve O’Donnell from New Hampshire Technical Institute, Lynn Birmingham from River Valley Community College, and Jeff Schall from White Mountain Community College. SEA staff member Chris Long was the chief negotiator.