City Dems Pay Back the Unions at Town Expense

Senate Bill 88.

Welcome to get every possible public employee into a union time here in NH. This is the CHANGE Democrats were selling during the election. Remember all the phone calls firefighters made from their Union Hall for Democrats in Manchester? That is what the phone jamming was about. Well its pay back time.

SB88 will lower the amount of public employees it takes to start a union fro 10 to 3. This means the Public Employee unions will get a burst of new members from town road crews and fire departments, plus the right to demand new safety measures and evergreen clauses. That's if things go as planned.

SB88, which is an unfunded mandate from Concord to towns, may have some unintended consequences.

I was a selectman once and was also on a school buildings and grounds committee at SAU 34 back in 1996.

We had back then a union custodial crew of 11 members who were supervised by a guy who could not supervise himself let alone anyone else. So custodial services were constantly falling apart. Even teachers were writing letters to us about how bad things were.

Our B&G Committee inspected once a month.

Windows on the second floor had broken screens that let kids hang out on the ledge. Toilets did not get flushed before the weekend. Urinals could be smelled 8 feet away. The floor of the boy's locker room in the Middle School was so full of abandoned clothes I walked across it without touching the floor. I left empty milk containers on a ledge to find them a month later. We would write on glass at the nurses office and find the writing a month later.

So we privatized. We laid off the entire crew at the end of the contract and hired a private company.

With school costs spiraling up and student populations plummeting I would imagine taxpayers will be looking at this option statewide for cost savings in their municipalities.

As a former selectman in a town with 4 man road crew I would love an opportunity to have the excess labor costs associated with full time employees traded for real crushed gravel, not clay and mud, along with hired engineering services to form a legitimate plan for avoiding the annual wash-outs our crew thinks are a badge of honor.

With mostly three person boards of selectmen in NH the towns would be required to have an attorney just to handle negotiations with a handful of employees. I took 50 hours of road management courses at the UNH T2 Center. I know we would be better off.

I would think it more productive to bargain with local contractors and get roads paved and plowed than spend all day in court losing pitiful argument after phony claim with the Public Employee Labor Relations Board. Been there - done that.

The city senators who sponsored SB88 to pay back unions for election help know little about local government.

This bill is like HB 676 and HB 377 the ones that tried to gut the Right To Know Law. I almost wish it would pass just so it would teach them a lesson. But on principal CNHT has to oppose it.

As would any sane taxpayer or selectman.