Beth Roth our endorsed candidate for the District Three Executive Council race provided the opening address. During her remarks, she told the audience that she has been a union member from time to time and thanked them for their endorsement. She vowed to “protect the NH Retirement Fund. You don’t want a lot, but you want to have a peaceful retirement without a lot of stress.” She mentioned that her opponent in the election has opposed the minimum wage four times and welcomes Right to Work. “I am not Right to Work. I am ‘Right with You.’ I strongly support you.” Roth is in a close race and we encourage all members who reside in the District to vote for her for Executive Council.
Heather Conroy is new to her position of Executive Vice President of SEIU. She served previously as her Oregon local’s President and the International Executive Board (IEB). She mentioned she enjoyed working with our President, Rich Gulla during her time on the IEB. “I’ve enjoyed watching the evolution of your political program,” she said.
She was inspiring as she spoke of her local’s work with child care workers. “We looked around and knew we needed to expand our power to unorganized workers. We knew that “to get power; we have to lend power.” Through their focused efforts 22,000 child care workers became organized and now have health care. Through that effort their union grew to 55,000 members and they transformed the bargaining table to be inclusive of community members. “Labor laws are still built on the concept that workers are at large job sites. We need to become a new kind of worker organization,” she said.
Andru Volinsky, our endorsed candidate for Executive Council, District 2 addressed the group. Andru’s legal work, includes the now famous Claremont suit over funding for public schools. He has also represented public employees’ interests involving pension issues, working on the lawsuits the NH Retirement System Coalition filed against the state. He told the group that he did not become a lawyer for fortune or fame, “I went to law school to make a difference.” He took time away from his campaign to “show his appreciation to the people who make our state and municipalities work.” As an Executive Councilor he will advocate to contract with businesses who treat their employees well, pay a living wage, and are local.
The final guest presenter for the day was a ball of energy, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut. She opened her presentation by saying that “I always feel at home when I am with unions. When I first ran for office in 1990, unions took a chance on me. Since then, together we have fought for priorities that put working families first.” She believes that organized labor is the “lifeblood of our struggle to work for working families.” She said with great conviction that “without unions there would be no middle class in the United States.”