Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

NH Senate President Introduces Bill to Kneecap Bargaining, Make Managerial Policy “the Exclusive Prerogative of the Public Employer”

New Hampshire workers scored key victories throughout 2012 — namely, the continued defeat of “Right-to-Work” — and thought they may have thwarted the anti-union agenda ushered in by the Tea Party insurgency of 2010. Sadly, anti-worker forces are in somewhat of an unlimited ammo situation.

Now, in 2013, Senate President Peter Bragdon has introduced SB 37 which would effectively end collective bargaining for public employees and make the state a thought leader in the Right’s anti-worker affront.

Per the playbook, SB 37 would deceptively end collective bargaining without saying so.  It would change language that allows a union to negotiate over wages, evaluations, reductions in force, and disciplinary procedures.  While this doesn’t take everything off the table it sends the heavy hitters to the bench leaving the bargaining process permanently weakened.  Bill language via Matt Murray of NH Labor News, (emphasis his):

The phrase “managerial policy within the exclusive prerogative of the public employer’ shall be construed to include but shall not be limited to the functions, programs, and methods of the public employer, including the use of technology, the public employer’s organizational structure, [and] the selection, direction and number of its personnel, and the right to determine standards for evaluation, compensation, selection, layoff and retention, discipline, assignment and transfer, and other traditionally accepted managerial rights, so as to continue public control of governmental functions.

These proposed changes to collective bargaining target very specific unions including the big, bad, conservative boogeyman….teachers.  

To me this appears to be going right after our state’s teachers unions.  Restricting their rights to bargain over seniority based layoffs and classroom evaluations.   In going after the teachers this legislation will decimate the collective bargaining process that has worked so well in NH for the last 50 years for all public employees.

At 9AM on Wednesday the first meeting of the committee sponsoring the bill was held and met with union objection.  Given the ability of this bill to degrade the futures of so many New Hampshire families it is likely that each step of the way it will be met with heavy opposition. 

The American Federation of Teachers has created an action page on their website which allows union sympathizers across the nation to show their support for New Hampshire’s middle class and their disapproval of SB 37. From their website:

Our work begins NOW.  We must mobilize ourselves along with our friends and allies in defense of collective bargaining rights and the very survival of New Hampshire’s middle-class.  Let’s start by  sending a letter to the members of the Senate Executive Departments And Administration.  Let’s remind them that extremism is not the New Hampshire way, and that over 60% of the public supports collective bargaining for public employees.


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