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One of the critical challenges you will face as a new school board member will be to deal with the labor relations process. Decisions your local board makes in this area will significantly affect both your local budget and your decision-making options.

Most employees of New Hampshire school districts are covered by RSA 273-A, the Public Employee Labor Relations Act, which was enacted in 1973. Since the passage of RSA 273-A, most school district employees have organized into local bargaining units, which are commonly affiliated with state and national unions. These employee organizations are very sophisticated, both in terms of staffing and ability to influence bargaining outcomes, and are strong advocates in assisting local employees in labor relations matters. Therefore, it is imperative for you, as a new school board member, to have a good understanding of the labor relations process, as well as having a place to which you can turn for general assistance.

Toward the goal of assisting school board members and their administrators with the collective bargaining process, NHSBA maintains a comprehensive labor relations service. This service assists school district management in three general areas: (1) ready access to, and professional interpretation of, information relative to salary and contract language issues, (2) statewide and regional training workshops which focus on relevant labor relations topics, and (3) general assistance in helping school districts prepare themselves for formal bargaining (including the mediation and fact-finding processes), handling employee grievances, (including preparation for arbitration hearings), and PELRB hearings.

The NHSBA labor relations program offers the following services to its members as a part of regular NHSBA dues:
  • Access to, and interpretation of, comprehensive files regarding PELRB decisions, contract language, fact-finding recommendations, salary settlements, and arbitration awards.
  • Access to, and recommendations regarding, comprehensive files of mediators, fact finders, and arbitrators.
  • Attendance (with a nominal registration fee) at NHSBA labor relations workshops.
  • Availability to have general questions regarding labor relations topics answered.
  • Representation, on behalf of NHSBA, before House and Senate Committees considering labor relations legislation.
NHSBA Labor Relations Service offers representation in mediation, factfinding, and arbitration to individual school boards. This service is offered on a for-fee basis.

For more information, please contact Executive Director Ted Comstock at sklesq@aol.com or 603-228-2061.

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