Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Hampshire Legislature "Pulls A Wisconsin"

After passage of an amendment to a pending budget bill that strips public sector unions in New Hampshire of so-called “evergreen” rights, meaning state and local municipal workers would become employees-at-will should their labor contracts expire without renewal. This means they could be fired or have their pay or benefits reduced should their labor contracts expire before new contracts are ratified.

I first heard of this move when I received a phone call last night just past 7PM - a robo-call from the SEA (State Employees Association), the state worker's union. (My wife works for the state and is, therefore, a union member.)

If I recall the monologue correctly, the voice on the other end (I believe it was the union president) stated the legislature had “pulled a Wisconsin”, referring to Wisconsin's removal of collective bargaining rights for pensions and benefits from most of the state and local workers unions. The caller went on to exhort the SEA members to protest the move, something perfectly within their rights to do.

On the other hand, I have the right to not give them any more of my hard earned dollars than I absolutely have to, particularly if those dollars are funding both benefits and pension packages that are far above my own. I haven't received the kind of pay raises or increase in benefits the state workers have, nor do I expect to. I am and have been an employee-at-will for a long time and frankly I prefer it over the 20 soul-deadening years I spent in a union shop.

Welcome to the real world.

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