Last Thursday evening, over 80 SEA/SEIU Local 1984 councilors from 24 chapters participated in the second Quarterly Council meeting to receive important updates and elect two new SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board members.
Highlights from the meeting include a standing ovation for the DOT members present for the outstanding service they have provided during this multi heavy storm winter and the installation of a new Board of Directors Secretary.
President Rich Gulla called the meeting to order and introduced three of four members who had recently attended an SEIU sponsored member leadership conference called “Ignite.” All three members were fired up (no pun intended) from the experience and shared some of what they learned with the Council. Jeremy DuPuis, Chapter 20; Jen Cheney, Chapter 41; and Jonathan Hallet, Chapter 21 encouraged all members to become more engaged in our NH state challenges presented by the current budget process as well as a national movement to “Fight for 15.” The Fight for 15 is picking up momentum from coast to coast and has been a contributing factor in the wage increases that Walmart and McDonald’s have recently announced. The premise is simple – in order to be self-sufficient, a worker needs to earn a minimum of $15 an hour. For years, the cost of living has increased and wages have not kept up. You can read more about the Ignite conference in a previous SEA/SEIU Local 1984 News story here.
Executive Branch Collective Bargaining Committee Chair, Jim Nall, Chapter 9, provided members with an update on the CBA progress. The master contract has been ratified but has not yet been funded by the legislature, which is the next hurdle to cross. Nall reported that sub-unit bargaining is progressing well.
External Counsel, Glenn Milner presided over the elections and explained the nomination and voting process for members. Council members voted anonymously by paper ballot after listening to nomination speeches and each candidate’s remarks.
Kristen Marabella, Chapter 16, and Jennifer Hunt, Chapter 39, ran for the vacant Secretary position. In an extremely close contest (two votes), Marabella was elected. Frank Wike-Clerk was uncontested in his bid for the Private Sector Board seat. Wike-Clerk was unable to be present due to a family emergency. Congratulations to our new Directors!
Following the election, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Political Dept. members, Jay Ward and Brian Hawkins provided a political update centered on the current state budget process. Members were engaged, and enraged by what they heard. Despite the myths of public employment detractors, public employees are dedicated and take pride in the services they provide for the state’s residents and visitors. The budget cuts in the House budget will cause agencies to not be able to deliver the services at the core of their mission and employees are understandably outraged.
To add insult to injury, many members of the NH House have made it crystal clear that they do not value public employees in the least by removing the funds from the budget that would pay for the 2% raise for state employees included in the collectively bargained contract with the Governor. It is important to note that the dollars needed to cover the raise amount to less than .001% of the overall state budget.
Council members agreed to help get out a call to action for members at large to call their NH state Reps prior to the full House vote; and to gather at the state house the morning of the House.