August 8, 2008
Seacoast Online

GREENLAND — Forming a union is not going to be a cakewalk for the town’s police department.

The Board of Selectmen has filed an objection to the move, meaning there will be a hearing before the Public Employee Labor Relations Board. It will be the PELRB that decides whether to accept the Police Department’s petition.

Selectman Paul Sanderson said that, other than confirming that this action had been taken, there wasn’t much he could say for legal reasons.

“We have retained counsel and we did file an opposition to a request to certify this bargaining unit,” Sanderson said. “At this point, we await the response of the union representative and the Public Employee Labor Relations Board.”

Sanderson said he could not discuss the reasons for the board’s decision.

“It’s because it is a legal matter,” Sanderson said. “When dealing with labor relations, you have to avoid unfair labor practices.”

Selectmen had until Friday to file their objection, 15 days after the petition was received by the PELRB.

In July, 10 Police Department employees, through Teamsters Local 633 of New Hampshire, petitioned the Labor Relations Board asking to unionize.

The police chief and one administrative sergeant are not included in the petition.

Thomas Noonan, business agent for the Teamsters, is handling the department’s petition. In an earlier interview, Noonan said unions offer better job security.

“There are many reasons why people want to unionize but primarily it’s to have a collective bargaining unit, to spell out their benefit package,” Noonan said.

In addition to having a collective bargaining unit, Noonan said the Teamsters local would represent any officer with a grievance.