With the current cost of government largely tied to the salaries, benefits and pensions of public sector employees and most state contracts being awarded to more expensive unionized contractors, an Executive Councilor Robert Burns would get directly involved in union negotiations to ensure reasonable contracts and make sure non-union companies get the same opportunities for state jobs as unionized companies, the candidate said today.
“There’s an attitude in government right now that the Executive Council should simply accept any contract that the unions negotiate with the governor or that a union company should always get the government contract, and this business-as-usual mentality has got to change for the good of New Hampshire taxpayers,” said Robert Burns, a candidate for the District 4 Executive Council seat. “Traditionally, the governor is the chief negotiator in union or contract discussions, and then he brings the result of his negotiations to the Executive Council to approve. There’s no reason executive councilors should wait for the result of those negotiations before they take action.
“If entrusted by the people to serve as their executive councilor, I will personally get involved in union negotiations and bring common sense back to the negotiating table so the final result of these negotiations will be a contract that I can feel comfortable supporting,” Burns said. “I will also do the legwork to make sure the state is awarding contracts to the least expensive, highest quality contractor, regardless of whether they are a union shop. No longer will union shops get the nod to overcharge taxpayers for work that could have been done much less expensively by another firm.”
As Hillsborough County Treasurer, Robert Burns has worked with public employees who do a great job for much more reasonable pay and benefits than those at the state level. County workers do not get automatic pay increases, and more importantly, their pay is merit based, Burns said. County employees do not get step increases, they contribute to their health insurance, they don’t accumulate sick time or vacation days and they don’t get bonuses when they leave early, he said.
“Clearly, I think Hillsborough County does a better job managing the compensation packages of its public employees than the state, and my experience at the county level will help when I sit at the negotiation table in Concord,” Burns said. “One of the things I’ll advocate for is merit-based pay in contracts, and if that requires a change in the law, I’ll work with legislators to make that happen,” Burns said. “No employee should get a raise simply for showing up to work every day for a year. Pay increases should be earned, just like they are in the private sector. And as an added benefit, the taxpayers will get state workers who put more effort into their jobs.
“Additionally, I will insist that state workers make concessions on health insurance, which is one of the greatest costs of employment today,” Burns said. “Executive Councilors have a lot more power to rein-in excessive spending than they use, and as executive councilor, I will work for the people to make sure their public servants are actually serving them at a cost they can afford.”
While Right to Work requires a legislative change, an Executive Councilor Burns would be a strong advocate of changing the law so that employees can opt-out of union membership, decline agency fee payments as non-union employees and negotiate with their employer on their own behalf.
“Unions are great when employees freely choose to become members and work together with their employer to develop work-place policies that reward good effort and help the employer deliver necessary services or bring home a healthy profit—depending on whether the employer is public sector or private sector,” Burns said. “I have a problem when a union has to force people to either become members or pay agency fees to survive, because it means the union isn’t really serving the best interest of the workers or the employer. That’s why Right to Work makes sense.”
Thanks for your support,
The Burns campaign is on the radio with its first ad, take a moment to listen: