For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Communications Administrator, SEA, SEIU Local 1984
(603) 271-3411 ext. 105
Ahead of Governor’s State of the State, State Employees Association Calls On Sununu to Provide a Fair Contract
The Governor’s #1 job is to run the State of New Hampshire; state employees have been without a contract for 230 days as Governor takes pay raise for himself
CONCORD, NH – The State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1984 held a press conference in Concord today ahead of the State of the State address by Gov. Chris Sununu, calling on the governor to provide a fair contract for public servants in state government. The State of the State marks 230 days that state employees have been without a contract.
“The governor’s number one job is to run the state, but Gov. Sununu hasn’t provided his own workers with a fair contract for 230 days,” said Rich Gulla, President of SEA, SEIU Local 1984. “To date, Gov. Sununu has forced state retirees to pay more in health care costs, rejected basic cost of living adjustments for current workers, shirked responsibility for addressing New Hampshire’s hiring and retention problem, and left state workers like DOT employees without standard compensation for necessities like work boots. The State of the State is not strong if the workers responsible for running it are not treated fairly. It’s time to provide state employees a fair contract.”
When the state contract ran out, so did a work boots stipend for state workers who require insulated steel-toed work boots to do their job. SEA asked Gov. Sununu to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to allow Department of Transportation (DOT) workers to continue to receive reimbursement for safe work boots during contract negotiations, but Sununu refused. The average pair of work boots costs a DOT worker about $200 and need to be replaced yearly.
“On Governor’s Sununu one year anniversary last month, he sent state employees a letter of thanks for our hard work and dedication,” said DOT worker and SEA member Dan Brennan. “The truth is we don’t need thank you letters from the governor. We need real action. We need a governor who cares enough about us to sign a fair state contract. DOT workers have been working hard long before governor Sununu took office and we’ll continue to work hard under future governors, as well. But it’s hard to work well when our work boots are falling apart and we’re not being equipped to do our job safely.”
Attracting and keeping talented public servants committed to providing excellent service to the citizens of New Hampshire is another priority for state workers. SEA is proposing adding four additional pay steps to the state of New Hampshire’s wage scale to stay more competitive.
“We have some staff that have been with us for many years, and they want to continue to stay with us and their patients for many more years. We need to adjust the pay scale if we want to recruit and retain highly qualified staff. It’s a retention and career development issue that Gov. Sununu must address,” said SEA member Jim Nall, a nurse at Glencliff Home, which provides high quality services to those in our community who are developmentally disabled and in need of psychiatric care.
While state employees have been without a contract for 230 days and New Hampshire struggles to attract and retain highly qualified workers, Governor Sununu took a pay raise of his own.