78th annual SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Convention recap

President Rich Gulla swears in the newly elected members of the Board of Directors at the close of the 78th Annual Convention.

President Rich Gulla swears in the newly elected members of the Board of Directors at the close of the 78th Annual Convention. You can find a gallery of photos here.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, the member leaders of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 met in Plymouth for the union’s 78th annual convention. The jam-packed one-day convention included the election of several members of the board and votes on numerous proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions.

The venue, the newly opened Barn on the Pemi, gave the proceedings the feel of a town hall meeting, with all the debate and political calls-to-action you’d expect at such a gathering. Elections were uncontested, though there was much thoughtful debate on the nine proposed amendments and six proposed resolutions. There were also some tears shed in memory of all those we’ve lost in the past year, including Ken Roos.  

Call to order and moment of silence

From the start, former First Vice President Ken Roos’ absence was felt. Roos, who died this summer after a brief illness, had served as the emcee – and chief planner – of the SEA’s yearly conventions. This year, Second Vice President John Hattan filled in ably at the lectern and directors chose to leave the late leader’s customary seat at the head table open.

Directors left an open seat at the table and placard for the late Ken Roos.

Directors left an open seat at the table and placard for the late Ken Roos.

Roos was one of many members to pass away in the year since the last convention, and all were honored with a moment of silence and video memorial.

Among the guests in attendance was Jodi Roos, Ken’s widow. A bit later in the day, President Rich Gulla presented Jodi with a posthumous award for Ken, for SEA’s outstanding member.

President Rich Gulla hugs Jodi Roos as he presents a posthumous award for her late husband, Ken.

President Rich Gulla hugs Jodi Roos as he presents a posthumous award for her late husband, Ken.

Elections

With no contested races for the Board of Directors, all candidates were officially elected by acclamation. Germano Martins and Mikayla Bourque were re-elected to the board, joined by Mike Derderian and Laura Drew, who were elected for the first time. Current Director Mary Fields was the sole candidate for first vice president and will serve the remainder of the term, which expires next fall..

There will be a special election in the coming months to fill the remainder of Fields’ term on the board (expiring next fall) as well as the private sector position on the board, for which there were no candidates.

Amendments and resolutions

The most lively debate of the day centered on proposed constitutional amendments. Of nine proposed amendments, four were approved, including one to create an associate membership. Here is a quick rundown of amendments, with links to the language as proposed:

Five out of six resolutions were approved on a single vote, as all dealt with retirement. The final resolution, dealing with collective bargaining policy, was rejected. Here is a rundown of resolutions, with links to the language as proposed:

Special guests

Senate candidate Bill Bolton, a longtime SEA member and Plymouth resident, welcomed delegates to the 78th Annual Convention.

Senate candidate Bill Bolton, a longtime SEA member and Plymouth resident, welcomed delegates to the 78th Annual Convention.

Members were treated to three special guest speakers, including one of our own members Bill Bolton, who’s currently running for Senate. Bolton welcomed delegates at the start of the day and his remarks focused on how his career as a state employee will make him a strong advocate for workers.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was among the guest speakers.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was among the guest speakers.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, visiting from Washington, D.C., was our second guest speaker. Henry noted she was making stops around the country to help get out the vote. Her stay in New Hampshire also included writing postcards to members who haven’t voted in recent elections and canvassing with Bolton on Sunday.

Former Sen. Molly Kelly, the SEA's recommended candidate for governor, addressed delegates.

Former Sen. Molly Kelly, the SEA’s recommended candidate for governor, addressed delegates.

Our final guest speaker was our endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Molly Kelly, who pledged to fight for workers’ rights and slammed the lack of leadership that left state employees without a contract for nearly a year. The common theme across all three speeches was simple: we need a state and a nation that works for all, not just the rich and powerful.

Awards

Chapter 44, the Department of Education, won chapter of the year.

Chapter 44, the Department of Education, won chapter of the year.

In addition to the outstanding member award, three other pieces of hardware were handed out. Dan Coughlin, of Chapter 70 (Hampton), won the Charlie Stevens Award for chapter president of the year. Dennis Etchells, of Chapter 47 (Department of Fish and Game), won the Ray Proulx Award for Political Action, and the members of Chapter 44 took home the award for chapter of the year. We congratulate all of our award winners and thank them for their service to their union.

Closing

President Rich Gulla asks for a "second" on the motion to adjourn convention.

President Rich Gulla asks for a “second” on the motion to adjourn convention.

After delegates voted on resolutions in the afternoon and the newly elected directors took the oath of office, President Rich Gulla gaveled the 78th annual convention to a close.

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