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Letter to the Editor: PAT's Not for a Union

April 27, 2011

We think it is important to let the university community know that many of us are against the efforts being taken by some of our colleagues to form a union.  We do not need to win the right to bargain for pay, benefits, working conditions and job security.  We already have a great place to work.  Forming a union will not raise everyone up.  It would put us in a position of starting with nothing and having to negotiate from there. 

We think we have excellent pay, benefits, working conditions and job security.  Could these points be better?  Maybe, but let’s consider what is happening around the country.  Unions are on a decline.  Their memberships are dwindling.  Why, because they can no longer deliver any value to their membership.  We are not willing to risk this all and pay a fee (1.25 percent of your pay) to start over.  A PAT staff union will do nothing but put us at a disadvantage. 

In its FAQ, the union organizers speak to job security and protecting the benefits once a contract is signed.  UNH is required to bargain with “us” regarding wages, hours, benefits and working conditions.  But keep in mind we start with zero when it comes to negotiation.  Are you willing to risk what we have and pay a fee for it?  Many of us say NO.  I hope you read the letter the president wrote in UNH Today, April 11, 2011.  We have a serious problem.  $31 million is a big number.  Forming a union will not solve the financial problem.  In many ways, it will make it easier for the university to get the savings.

Will my health benefits improve if I am a member of a union?   Notice they used the words “more likely”.  That does not seem very definitive.  It sounds vague.  Are you willing to take a gamble on what you have based on the words “more likely”?  We are NOT.

Will the cost of my health benefits go down if PAT staff unionize?  We can agree that staff should not be paying more for healthcare than the faculty.  We believe the trustees are good to their word that they will level the playing field.  Are you willing to risk what you have for the words “could” or “unless we agree to the changes”?  Who are we?  Not us that are against the union.  They are correct in saying that health care benefits are increasing everywhere.  Can you be so naive to think it won’t or shouldn’t happen at UNH? 

How will the PAT staff union protect my retirement benefits?  They can’t because we will start with nothing with the negotiations.  Do not allow them to trick you into thinking that they can stop the 1 percent reduction.  That is a done deal.  Are you willing to risk more and pay 1.25 percent as a fee to get you something less than you have now?  We are not.

What will a PAT staff union at UNH do for me?   Where will the better wages, better health care benefits, better working conditions and better retirement come from?  UNH has a $31 million dollar budget problem.  For one, the retirement plan, even with 1percent going away is a fantastic benefit.  Where on the outside would you get 10 percent for every 6 percent you put in?  Nowhere!!  We really do have great working conditions.  Where else do you get paid for a snow day and not have to use vacation pay?  Nowhere!!  People, you cannot get blood from a stone.  Sure, we’d all like to get paid more for the job we do.  To be honest, if you are not happy with pay, go out and find something better.  PAT’s against the union think things are OK based on what is happening in the State of NH and across this great land of ours.

Please think before you sign an authorization card.  Please know you can ask for it back if you change your mind.  Refer to David Proulx’s letter on how to do this.

In closing, notice what the unions take credit for.  All things in the past.  Child labor, eight-hour day, helping create Social Security as examples.  As we said earlier, the union movement is on the decline.  Why would you want to risk all that we have for “words’?  Words of promise with no guarantee. Many of us are against this initiative.  Unfortunately, we do not have the Web site resources it appears the union organizers have.  If you are against this movement, please speak out and let others know why.  If we band together, we can defeat the union effort.  Thanks for reading this.

Sincerely, David May 


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