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|UNH Reports $190K+ in Law Firm Payments to Prevent Collective Bargaining|
|Published Thursday, April 13, 2017|
The University of NH in Durham released a partial response to two Right to Know requests from Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), which sought the names of any outside vendors advising management on anti-union efforts, the amounts paid to these organizations and copies of communications with these organizations. In their response, UNH reported spending $193,565.13 on legal fees and expenses with Jackson Lewis Law Firm from June 2016 to March 2017 to prevent employees' ability to collectively bargain.
"I'm shocked to find that UNH has spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to hire outside help to fight university employees who simply want to exercise their legal right to collectively bargain," says Rep. Cushing.
In their response, UNH noted that "this expense is not being paid from any of the following: state appropriation, tuition dollars or operating funds."
"Regardless of where the money is coming from, the University has chosen to spend close to $200,000 on things other than tuition reduction, campus improvements or to help make the salaries and benefits of the dedicated OS and PAT staff more competitive," says Megan Tuttle, president of NEA-NH. "We can assume that there will be additional payments made to Jackson Lewis as the University continues to fight their employees' efforts to organize."
In addition to asking for information regarding management's anti-organizing efforts, Rep. Cushing's request also sought information regarding UNH's outsourcing plans. The University declined to provide any information on these topics.
"We are aware that the University has hired consultants to find ways to save money. Far too often, these savings are balanced on the backs of OS and PAT employees," says Tuttle.
Rep. Cushing stated that he will be looking to determine the source of the funds used to pay Jackson Lewis, and to address the lack of disclosure with the rest of his request for public information.
"I don't see union busting as a line item anywhere in their budget," says Rep. Cushing.
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