Do you remember the day when someone’s word or a handshake was all you needed for an agreement to be honored? People took pride in keeping promises they made and those who did not were the exception and shunned.
Sadly, it is no longer the case. We are seeing a troubling trend among local and state politicians reneging on labor contracts reached through good faith negotiations between employees and management. We have heard a lot about this lately through news coverage regarding the state employees’ contract not being funded by the NH state legislature.
This has also been the case for numerous other SEA/SEIU Local 1984 bargaining units. Employee bargaining teams and management bargaining teams spend hours meeting, negotiating and coming to agreement on reasonable employment contracts that allow for the continuation of benefits and cost of living wage increases. It is a process that has worked well and been honored for decades in this country.
State and local politicians are now, in alarming numbers, overriding the hard work of negotiators and flat out refusing to fund any wage increases and are lobbying for fewer benefits for public employees. This is reprehensible and should not be allowed to continue.
The way we fix this is to recruit, support, and vote for political leaders who believe in keeping their word regardless of their party affiliation; who believe that public employees have value; and believe they should be afforded the same courtesy and respect as private sector constituents.
Here is a list of the contracts that have been derailed because of politicians ignoring negotiated contracts and going back on their word:
- Ashland Employees, 2015 (Selectmen refused to send TA to Budget Committee)
- Belknap Nursing Home, 2013 and 2014
- Belknap Corrections, 2013
- Belknap Sheriff’s Dept., 2013
- Derry Police Supervisors
- Hampstead Hospital, 2015 (CEO refuses to sign and fund agreement)
- Hampton Employees, 2010 (Selectmen refused to fund steps under an evergreen provision)
- Merrimack County Corrections, 2010
- State of NH, 2015 (Both chambers failed to include dollars for a 4% cost of living increase over two years in the state budget)