NH unions upset by bill to end union bargaining

March 24, 2011

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CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and state union leaders say a proposal contained in the state budget would effectively end collective bargaining for public employees in the state.

The provision passed Tuesday night by the Republican-controlled House Finance Committee would give public employers authority to determine wages, benefits and terms of employment once a labor contract has expired.

The proposal would apply to 70,000 public employees, including teachers, police officers and firefighters.

David Lang of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire says the provision would allow employers to wait out negotiations and then pay workers whatever they like.

Republican Rep. Neal Kurk from Weare says employers would be unlikely to change wages, but it could lead to the reduction of "overly generous" pension and health care benefits.