Letter to the Editor: UNH Police Union Supports PAT Unionizing Efforts
July 6, 2011
University of New Hampshire is protected and served by its own force of sworn police officers. We are sure you have seen us patrolling in our police cruisers, motorcycles, bicycles and, yes, even Segways. However, what a lot of people do not know is that the patrol officers of this department are represented by the Teamsters - Local 633. The UNH Police Officers' Union is currently the only non-faculty union in the University System (a mantel that we would gladly surrender). We recognize and support the effort of the PAT staff in the effort to unionize.
It is unfortunate to read in the April letter from President (Mark) Huddleston that he feels the presence of a union immediately causes relationships to become adversarial. In our two previous contract negations, the relationship between the union and management has been nothing of the sort. A mutual respect between both parties allowed us to create a contract that was beneficial to both the police patrol officers and the University.
Contracts are how business is done in these days, and the university is no exception. The university has contracts with the companies constructing the new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics building; the university has contracts with the legal firms that will undoubtedly be called in to inform you of the evils of unions; contracts dictate which brand of soda is sold on campus; even some higher-level UNH employees have contracts. So, why not a labor contract for the PAT staff?
We understand why the university would resist the PAT's movement to organize a union; it is a pretty good deal for university to not have a PAT union. As it stands now the University System can change your benefits at will. The first page of the USNH Personnel Policies is the clause that states "the Board of Trustees reserves the right to amend or terminate components of the USNH's benefits program at any time."
Image a scenario where you are in the market for a new car; however, the car salesperson has the ultimate authority to name the price and options you can purchase. Also for the purposes of this scenario, you have no choice on whether or not you can purchase this car. Once you stepped into the dealership the purchase is required. You can make requests and suggestions but the salesperson can disregard all of those and force you to pay what they say you need to pay. It's not the car you wanted or the options that you could use; but, you are lucky to at least have a car.
Of course, this scenario is ludicrous and business isn't conducted this way; no one would stand for it. However, this is essentially how non-union employees are being treated.
The members UNH Police Officers' Union stand by the PAT staff and their effort to unionize.
The Members of The UNH Police Officers Union