Last month, the Executive Branch Collective Bargaining Senate took its first big step for upcoming negotiations in electing its Master Bargaining Team. In the coming weeks and months we will bring you profiles of members of the team so you can get a better idea of who has stepped up to represent you at the bargaining table. We begin today with Alisa Druzba, who talked with us about her job, her life outside of work and why she got involved with the bargaining process.
Druzba, of Concord, has been an SEA member for nine years. In her work for the Rural Health and Primary Care Section (RHPC) of the DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services, she said she oversees programs that work to foster, build and improve statewide, regional, and community-oriented care systems for the improvement of health. This includes promoting a more comprehensive view of health strategies around the state.
“The RHPC serves all NH residents as a state agency,” she said. “However, it has a greater focus on the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens and families in the state. The most vulnerable state residents tend to be low income, uninsured, or on Medicare or Medicaid. In addition, visitors may be using the health facilities located in the rural areas in which they vacation.”
When she’s not working, Druzba said she loves to read, try craft beers and cheese, and go on date nights. She said she spends as much time as possible with her family, which includes her husband Jeff, stepdaughter Isabelle, sons Keegan and Harper and their Chinook puppy, which she proudly notes is our state dog.
“As a family, we enjoy making each other laugh, cooking, hiking, biking, gardening, being on the water, skiing and taking advantage of everything that New Hampshire has to offer,” Druzba said.
This may be Druzba’s first experience on the Master Bargaining Team, but she said her work experience should serve her well at the bargaining table.
“I have been a state employee for long enough to experience the essential elements of a CBA,” she said. “I have experienced life events and organizational changes that have shown me the importance of having strong protections for employees.”
She said she works in a supervisory role and has experience with contracts and collaborative groups, and said she’s hoping to make an especially great impact on the health coverage side of the CBA.
“I have expertise in health care access, health care systems, and healthcare reimbursement,” Druzba said. “I have experience with mediation and facilitation of groups with diverse interests.”
Druzba hopes to come out of the bargaining process with a better understanding of the needs of her fellow employees, and hopes she can strengthen the team and deliver a great tentative agreement for members’ consideration. She said she’s driven by her strong belief in the idea of equity.
“We should seek to improve the quality of life at all levels and not just focus on those already doing well,” she said. “I am passionate about service and guided by a strong commitment to a set of principles including empowerment, competency building, respect for diversity, and collaboration.”
She encouraged her fellow union members to get involved any way they can.
“Do what you can, even if it is only a little bit here and there,” Druzba said. “Your voice matters: it matters to your co-workers and it matters to their families.”
“We need to change the perception of state employees and show everyone we have a story to tell about why we serve,” she said. “You may not ever need some of the protections we are seeking in the next CBA but others in your community do. Show them your support through action.”