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Letter Writers Support Union

July 9, 2008

Dear CJ,

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 co-workers.

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 local newspapers.

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

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