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Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Haggling

Kevin Landrigan can usually be counted on to find stories within state government that no one else is covering. In today's column in the Nashua Telegraph, he looks at plans for the state liquor stores to get into the beer business, and tracks the fallout from the stalled contract talks with the SEA.
The latest dust-up in negotiations between Lynch's team and the State Employees Association will ultimately end up being not much more than a hiccup.

But it raised eyebrows when SEA President Gary Smith, a corrections officer, claimed the state had already agreed to give his 500 brethren a 10 percent pay raise to make up for the loss of a 15-minute daily briefing that had given them automatic overtime pay.

House budget writers get credit for spotting that generous benefit and deciding it was worth jettisoning if it meant saving the jobs of more than three dozen prison workers slated to be laid off with the closure of the minimum-security prison in Laconia.

Smith said it isn't fair for the guards to lose that pay along with the 18 days of furloughs that translate to a pay cut of 3.5 percent. Guards are willing to forego hazardous duty pay they get – 62 cents for every hour worked – and longevity pay awarded after decades of service in exchange for the pay hike.

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