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Thursday, October 15, 2009

State workers take a stand; choose layoffs over furloughs

The Nashua Telegraph editorial page looks at the aftermath of the State Employees Association rejecting the new contract put before them.
With a spread of 59 percent against the deal, the message is clear: “Let’s get back to the bargaining table,” said Gary Smith, president of the State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1984.

Unfortunately, there’s not much more to bargain for. Gov. John Lynch and his bargaining team have already rejected the alternatives the union is proposing. Voluntary furloughs, early retirement incentives, four-day work-weeks, and allowing unfilled positions to stay vacant are all good ideas, but won’t get the state the $25 million in savings needed quickly enough.

There is no alternative now except layoffs, which will be somewhere between 500 and 750 depending on the state’s revenue receipts in the months ahead, and the outcome of a lawsuit over a medical malpractice insurance fund that has been raided to balance the budget.

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