SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Working With Members to Identify Solutions
On Wednesday, DHHS workers at the Manchester District Office learned that the lease for their work location will not be renewed, and they have less than one month to relocate.
In a memo to workers, Associate Commissioner Mary Ann Cooney said the Manchester office will have to relocate by Sept. 13. She said the DHHS was not able to reach an agreement with the landlord.
“While this is, of course, a major disruption for all of you, we are making every effort to limit the impact of this move on your clients, too,” Cooney wrote.
Brad Asbury, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Organizing Administrator and DHHS Steward Demetrios Tsaros went desk to desk today at the DO to speak with the employees about this situation.
Understandably, the employees who facilitate social services for thousands of individuals and families in the greater Manchester area are concerned for themselves and the clients.
Having less than a month to find a new location is challenging and disconcerting to the employees. They do not know where they will be temporarily working and questions about childcare, elder care, and commuting costs hang over them.
The Manchester District Office is one of the largest in the state. Many of the clients are refugees who require interpreters; others may have transportation issues – the current location is easily accessed by public transportation. Employees are worried that services will be disrupted and some of NH’s most vulnerable population will be adversely affected.
Impacted workers should send their concerns and suggestions to Demetrios, who will then forward them along to SEA/SEIU Local 1984. This should take place prior to two scheduled meetings with management taking place next week, Wednesday, Aug. 26 at their facility.
One meeting is set for 8 a.m. and the other at 9 a.m. Representatives from the union will be there to ask the questions and communicate some of the suggestions for an alternative worksite the employees have brought forward.
Mary Ann Cooney assured Mary Fields, a DHHS Steward and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Director, that the office was not permanently closing and there would be no layoffs, which have been major concerns for many of the impacted workers.
We will be able to identify the appropriate action once we have heard the department’s explanation of a plan to move forward next week. Stay tuned.