A committee of House and Senate lawmakers voted Monday to accept a fact-finder’s report on state employee contracts rejected by Gov. Chris Sununu.
In November, following months of impasse between the Sununu administration and seven bargaining units representing state workers, the fact-finder recommended workers get a 4 % raise over two years, almost twice what Sununu had indicated he would support.
Typically, a fact-finder’s report would be put to a vote by the Executive Council. Sununu has yet to put it on the council agenda, which he controls. The State Employees Association, the largest state workers union, has filed an unfair labor practice against Sununu because of that.
House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, who chairs the Joint Committee on Employee Relations, said state workers deserve better.
"Not to have the governor go forward and present this to the Executive Council, for an up or down vote, and to literally have a pocket veto by not bringing this topic up, is an injustice to our state workers,” Shurtleff said Monday.
The committee voted Monday, along party lines, to send the fact-finder’s report to the full House and Senate. Democrats supported the move, while Republicans were uniformly opposed. But whether the action is anything other than symbolic isn’t clear.
In a statement, Sununu spokesman Ben Vihstadt called it “a P.R. stunt,” and said the committee should have allowed testimony about sexual harassment charges against State Employees Accociation President Rich Gulla.
A federal judge ruled earlier this year that a harassment lawsuit filed against Gulla by a former union employee could move forward.