Deal Crossed Final Hurdle with Legislators’ Approval Last Week
Last Friday, the Belknap County legislative delegation approved a new contract for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members who work at the county’s House of Corrections. This is the unit’s first new contract in four years.
In the first year of the deal, workers will receive a wage increase of 3 percent and a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.4 percent, as well as a $1,000 stipend; in the second year, workers will receive a 3 percent step increase and a cost-of-living adjustment of between 1 percent and 2.5 percent (the figure is tied to the consumer price index). Those gains in wages came in exchange for concessions on health care that will provide significant insurance cost savings for the county. Patrick O’Reilly, an SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member at the House of Corrections, served on the bargaining team and cheered the vote to approve the contract.
“We are very excited to finally reach an agreement after almost four years of being turned down,” O’Reilly said. “We feel this is a good agreement and the money saved by the county could possibly come back into the facility.”
SEA/SEIU Local 1984 represents workers at three Belknap County worksites: the Nursing Home, Sheriff’s Department and House of Corrections. Each worksite is a separate bargaining unit that negotiates its own contract with the elected county commissioners, and those agreements must then be approved by the county’s legislative delegation. While the bargaining units have reached agreements with the county commissioners in the past few years, the legislative delegation has consistently voted down those agreements.
The delegation was originally scheduled to vote on the funding for the agreement last Monday, but did not have enough members present to vote. The same thing occurred again Wednesday, but on Friday enough delegation members were present to hold the vote. O’Reilly said the result was rewarding to the members of the bargaining team, which included him and Matt Shannon with assistance from SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Field Representative Neil Smith.
“As a bargaining unit, we worked very hard to provide our co-workers with a good contract and we must have, because all voting members approved it,” O’Reilly said.
Please join us in congratulating the members on their hard-earned contract. You can read a news report on the contract vote here.