Union and Merit Contracts

Why does the approval of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) take so long?

Union employees working under an expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is inexcusable and is something which needs to be corrected. For example, the Nashua Teachers’ CBA expired August 31, 2006 and had been in negotiations between the Nashua Teacher’s Union and the Board of Education long prior to my being inaugurated onto the Board of Aldermen in January 2006. The first time the Teacher’s CBA came before the Board of Aldermen in my term was July 2007 – 19 months after I was elected. This delay is inexcusable.

I would like to share with you the process of introducing a CBA to the Board of Aldermen:

  • First, the Union and the Employer Board (i.e. Board of Education, Fire Commissioners) negotiate and agree to the terms of the contract;
  • The Employer Board requests an Alderman to sponsor the Resolution (CBA).
  • The Resolution will go through a fiscal analysis by the City’s Financial Services Division and then appear on the full Board of Aldermen’s Agenda.
  • It will receive its first reading beginning a 30 day period in which the Aldermen must either approve or reject all or some of the cost items.
  • The Resolution is discussed in the Budget Review Committee and the committee provides the full Board of Aldermen a recommendation (approve or reject all cost items; or reject some of the cost items).
  • The full Board then votes at its next meeting, or calls a Special Meeting, within the 30 day period.
    • If the cost items are approved then we have a binding contract.
    • If all the cost items are rejected the negotiations begin again between the union and employer board.
    • If some of the cost items are rejected the contract goes back to the union members to decide if they accept the removal of the items; and if so, we have another case which results in a binding contract.
    • However, if the union members reject the removal of the cost items the negotiation between the union and employer board begin again.

I hope this helps to explain the process in which we, the Board of Aldermen, work.