DHHS Labor Management Committee Needs Members’ Help

LMCs Can Help Resolve Worksite Issues,
but Members Must Bring Problems Forward

When collective bargaining is finished and contracts signed, communication between union members and management doesn’t have to stop. Labor management committees, or LMCs, provide an avenue for labor and management to keep an open dialogue throughout the life of a contract.

The state master contract, which covers most state workers, provides for an overarching LMC for the entire Executive Branch. The contract also allows for unit-level LMCs, which can work on localized, agency- and worksite-based issues. Much more than just tackling issues, though, LMCs can help improve the overall labor relations climate. For this to work, of course, both sides need to buy in, which requires flexibility and openness to the other side’s roles and responsibilities.

The Department of Health and Human Services actually has several LMCs — one at NH Hospital, another at the Sununu Youth Services Center and an agency-wide committee; in addition, another is being formed at the Glencliff Home. The agency-wide LMC has been working recently to revamp the way it works and bring more awareness to what an LMC can do. Diana Richard, the vice president of Chapter 16, is one of the members of that LMC.

“We’re trying to put the information out there to DHHS employees that there is an LMC that is active, and give them a little background on how long we’ve been in place and some of the issues we’ve covered,” she said.

“We want to put the information out there so people know they can contact us with questions that can be discussed,” Richard said. “We’re trying to solve issues before they become grievances.”

Ahead of the next quarterly LMC meeting in October, the members of the DHHS committee are seeking items that can be discussed. Richard provided an example of such an item that came up at the committee’s most recent team meeting.

“HR employees have not had an annual evaluation in years,” she said. If there’s a reason the state hasn’t given reviews, she said, the LMC is a great place to find out why.

“If not and it’s been an oversight, we need to resolve that,” she said.

Peter Brunette, another member of the DHHS LMC and the president of Chapter 41, encouraged workers to come forward with issues for the LMC to discuss.

“If they don’t tell us what to talk about at these meetings, we can’t make sure individual’s voices are being heard,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for management and employees to sit down in a non-confrontational setting and talk about a workplace-specific issue. But we’re not going to be productive as a committee if we don’t have specific issues to address.”

He said that LMC members are really hoping to make members aware that this is their opportunity to have a voice in how their agency is managed.

“The employees of this agency need to know they have a right to be heard on these management issues,” he said. “It may not trump management’s prerogative, but we have a right to be heard.”

Here are the names and contact info of members of the LMC at DHHS: 

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