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State Officials and Unions Point Fingers After Breakdown in Contract Negotiations

The State Employees Association, the largest public sector union in the state, is filing an unfair labor practice complaint against the Governor’s office for what it calls a “refusal” to negotiate.

Earlier this month, talks between state officials and unions representing public employees broke down after two unions, including Teamsters Local 633, which represents corrections workers, declared an impasse. The parties are attempting to hammer out the next two-year contract, with the current agreement set to expire this summer.

The SEA, which represents approximately 10,000 state workers, says it wants to continue negotiating for its members, and accuses the Governor’s team of violating state law by not engaging in talks.

“It boils down to this fact: we’d like to continue negotiations on our next contract,” said SEA President Richard Gulla in a statement. “The position Governor Sununu’s administration has taken is unprecedented. Our bargaining team is eager to return to negotiations to continue to fight for the rights of New Hampshire workers.”

The Governor’s office, however, says their side never walked away from negotiations.

“The unions are arguing with themselves,” said David Abrams, spokesman for Governor Sununu. “Our team has never left the bargaining table. As soon as the unions decide how they would like to proceed, we are ready to engage.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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