State strikes tentative deals with four unions to grant pay raises
State workers would get their first cost-of-living raises in 4½ years under new contracts that have been tentatively worked out with four public employee unions.
“After the elimination of 1,100 positions, five straight years without a cost-of-living increase and numerous other sacrifices made by state employees, the tentative agreement is a fair deal for employees and taxpayers that will help working families make ends meet and provide important health care savings to the state,” said Marc Goldberg, spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Tentative two-year agreements have been struck with the State Employees’ Association, the New Hampshire Troopers Association, the New England Police Benevolent Association and the Teamsters, said Matt Newland, the state’s manager of employee relations.
Newland told state budget negotiators yesterday that the contracts, which are in the process of being ratified by union members, would give workers across-the-board raises of 1.5 percent July 1 this year, 2.25 percent July 1, 2014, and 2.25 percent Jan. 1, 2015.
State workers represented by the SEA, the largest union representing state workers, haven’t had an across-the-board pay raise since January 2009.
Newland said the new deals would, for the first time, introduce a deductible for state employee health plans: $500 for an individual and $750 for a family in fiscal year 2014, with the family deductible rising to $1,000 in fiscal 2015.
In addition, Newland said, the contracts maintain premiums, include a wellness program, contain incentives for workers to use lower-cost care providers and require, for the first time, a contribution from employees for dental coverage.
Diana Lacey, the SEA’s president, declined to comment on the tentative deal. She said it will go before the union’s Collective Bargaining Senate tomorrow night, which could clear the way for a ratification vote by members.
The raises and other conditions of the contracts mean budget writers will have new expenses to absorb in the state budget for the biennium that begins July 1. In all, the deals will cost the state nearly $34.9 million over the next two years, including $16.9 million from the general fund.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)