Convention 2014: Panels Highlight Members’ Efforts

Director Kevin Myers fires up the crowd during a presentation from the NHEW ad-hoc committee.

Director Kevin Myers fires up the crowd during a presentation from the NHEW ad-hoc committee.

NHEW Kicks It and Social Activities Committee Creates Sense of Family

Members from New Hampshire’s Emerging Workforce (NHEW), led by Kevin Myers, shared information about one of SEA/SEIU’s newest ad hoc committees.  NHEW members are individuals who are new or younger workers and their mission is to get other new employees into the union.  “We are laying the foundation for the next generation of leadership,” said Alicia L’Esperance.  Kevin energized the audience  by leading everyone in a chant – “Can You Kick it?” … “Yes We Can.”

After we learned we can all “kick it,” Tammy Clark, chair of the Social Activities Committee and Cheryl Towne spoke to the attendees about the camping weekend the committee sponsored this summer. They each spoke to the point that the event created a true sense of community.

“We were one family, and that’s what we’re supposed to be,” said Cheryl.

Executive Branch Contract Campaign Returns to Grassroots

SEA Director Jim Nall, Field Activities Coordinator John Thyng and President Diana Lacey take part in a panel.

SEA Director Jim Nall, Field Activities Coordinator John Thyng and President Diana Lacey take part in a panel.

SEA/SEIU Local Field Activities Coordinator John Thyng; Jim Nall, Collective Advisory Committee Chair; and President Diana Lacey provided an overview of the communication approach that is being used in conjunction with the current contract negotiation.

“We are looking at this bargaining as an opportunity to go big and to go back to basics,” said John Thyng.  He explained that over 90 Executive Branch members have agreed to serve as Contract Action Team (CAT) members.  CAT members will be responsible for two-way communication between the Master Bargaining Team and the members.  The team will be providing information and asking for member feedback so that negotiations are more reflective of what the majority of members want.

“The goal is for you to negotiate your contract, and we are the conduit,” said Jim Nall.

Workers from other Trenches Address Delegates

Kyle King, a fast food worker, shared his story of joining the Fight for 15.

Kyle King, a fast food worker, shared his story of joining the Fight for 15.

A panel of workers from locations around the country shared their real-life stories and struggles to raise the minimum wage.  The audience heard from a worker from California who has worked in the fast food industry for years, but if it were not for his brother, would be homeless.  He said that the wages he and his fellow food industry colleagues earn are simply not enough to support oneself.

Kathy Eddy from SEIU International shared a poignant letter from a young man who has been caring for his ailing mother.  He tells of the struggle he and his brothers have had financially.  His letter addressed the issue of raising the minimum wage, as well, for those who provide home healthcare support.

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