Letter Writers Support Union
July 9, 2008
We read with interest a recent “editorial” in Foster’s Daily
Democrat that referred to UNH staff who are organizing for a union as interlopers.
We are not interlopers. We are UNH staff working with other UNH staff to form
a union. Forming a union is a legally regulated, legally protected right, supported
by NH state statutes passed by NH legislatures past and present and signed
by our governors.
We are proud UNH employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years of service. We
have received degrees at UNH, both undergraduate and graduate. We are members
of the UNH alumni association, and donors of UNH. We have served on university
committees, staff councils, and presidential commissions; we have chaired presidential
task forces and staff councils. We are community volunteers, both at UNH and
in our home communities. We are fully committed to the mission of UNH; we are
woven into the fabric of the UNH community and our local communities. And yes,
we want a staff union.
A staff union and a negotiated contract. Ratified by USNH and the staff. How
is this different from the countless arrangements that are transacted all around
us via contractual agreements? Our country runs on contracts.
The UNH faculty have a union and a contract and the faculty average higher
annual increases and pay less for health insurance coverage than their non-union
We want a union and a contract so that we have a say in our compensation and
our benefits. Looking around, we see many health care cost containment strategies
where the primary objective is not to shift the financial burden to employees.
Premium contributions might be linked to income, annual increase, or capped
at a mutually agreed upon maximum. The point is that unionized employees get
to have a say, their opinion has to be equally considered and in the end a
contract is delivered that BOTH sides have agreed to.
Our process engages UNH staff in conversations about these topics. We listen;
we encourage discussion. We work in the open. You can see us around campus
at lunchtimes – at picnic tables, in the MUB and elsewhere. We sign our
comments and opinion pieces and we certainly don't hide behind "editorials" in
Our employees' campaign to form a union at UNH is just that: our campaign.
The non-UNH organizers aren't here to sell us anything. The only thing that
the AFSCME union "peddles" is information and an opportunity to join
together and improve our workplace. We can take it or leave it. From our perspective,
there are ample reasons to take it.
Joyce Perkins, 30 years, CEPS Business Service Center
Suzanne Huard, 26 years, Office of Sponsored Research