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State Workers "Put a Human Face" on Contract Impasse

May 2, 2007

Contract talks have reached an impasse between the state and 11,000 of its workers. Workers and their families will rally on the State House lawn today to show the governor and Executive Council that their decisions affect real people. State Employees Association chief negotiator Diana Lacey hopes tomorrow's rally will help to break the logjam.

“We hope that when the governor hears how important a good contract is to state employees, that he may be able to inch his way towards the middle ground as we are planning to do.”

The state says it can't afford to pay the full cost of rising health insurance premiums. But union representatives point out the state's per worker cost of almost $1,900 a month is artificially high, and nearly twice as high as what other states pay for workers in similar jobs.

Although the sides have made progress on wages, Lacey believes they must be viewed in combination with health care costs.

“The wages by themselves aren't a bad deal; however, in the context of what they want us to do with health care, it's a pretty scary situation for us, and we just can't go there at this point.”

Other issues in dispute include outsourcing state work to private contractors.

Today's rally begins at 11:30 a.m. The State Employees Association hopes to draw 1,000 people.

John Robinson/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NH