State, SEA appear close to tentative deal on a new contract
The state government and its largest union yesterday appeared close to a tentative agreement on a new contract.
Workers represented by the State Employees’ Association have been without a contract since July 1, and talks between the SEA and Gov. Maggie Hassan’s negotiators have been deadlocked for months. After mediation failed last month, a “fact-finding” session with a neutral third party was scheduled for yesterday.
But that meeting was called off “because there has been some very encouraging and positive dialogue between the Hassan administration and our bargaining team, to the degree that a settlement proposal was reached,” said SEA spokeswoman Beth D’Ovidio.
No details were released yesterday. D’Ovidio said there was no tentative deal in place and the language of a possible deal was “still being shaped and finalized.”
But enough progress had been made for the SEA to call a meeting of its Collective Bargaining Senate for Tuesday evening. If the Senate approves a tentative deal, it would then go to SEA members for ratification.
“There have been ongoing constructive discussions between the parties,” wrote Hassan spokesman Marc Goldberg in an email.
The state in June announced a tentative agreement with the SEA on a two-year contract that included across-the-board pay raises of 1.5 percent this year, 2.25 percent in July 2014 and 2.25 percent Jan. 1, 2015.
But the deal also included changes to health care benefits, including the introduction of a deductible. The SEA’s bargaining Senate rejected the deal, 56-48, sending negotiators back to the table.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)