At Saturday’s quarterly Council meeting, Mikayla Bourque, Chapter 37, won a special election to join the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors. Mikayla is has been an SEA member for 13 years and is a leader both in her chapter and union-wide. In addition to her union activism, she’s been active at the State House in fighting for transgender rights.
Mikayla, we thank you for your continued state service and activism on behalf of your union and community. Please join us in congratulating Mikayla and welcoming her to the Board of Directors.
SEA/SEIU Local 1984 announced this week the hiring of Melissa Moriarty as communications administrator.
Moriarty, who joined the organization in January, has a background in corporate and nonprofit communication and video production. She will lead the union’s communications department – managing member communication and political messaging.
“I’m really excited to be part of an organization that represents workers and their families,” said Moriarty. “Our members keep New Hampshire state running and it’s an honor to represent their interests and serve them.”
Prior to joining SEA, Moriarty worked for WMUR, the state’s leading news station, and Boston-based nonprofits in media production and project management. She attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, earning a B.A. in both political science and later a masters degree film production from Boston University’s College of Communication.
“Melissa’s personality and natural affinity in communication strategy have already been a huge asset to our organization,” said SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Rich Gulla. “The last few years have seen an increase in anti-labor legislation. I’m excited to see her thoughtfulness and insight in leading our union through this era of misinformation.”
Bargaining team negotiated liberal leave clause
When inclement weather strikes, businesses and schools may close, but state offices rarely do. Several years ago, we worked within the collective bargaining process to negotiate a liberal leave provision for state employees that applies in such situations.
The exact language is below and can be found in Article X 10.8 of the Executive Branch CBA:
Inclement Weather: The Employer shall not arbitrarily or capriciously withhold approval of annual leave requested due to and during periods of severe inclement weather. When the Governor or his/her designee determines that inclement weather is severe enough to close or delay opening State offices, employees who are not already on leave and who are relieved of work due to such a determination, will not be charged leave for the period of closure. Employees who do report to work during periods of closure shall only be entitled to their normal rate of compensation and shall not receive additional leave or compensatory time.
We appreciate that some agencies have made this information readily available to their employees. With more storms possibly on the way, we want to ensure you know your rights and work with your supervisor to communicate your leave time use.
Valerie Morgan, who works at the Department of Health and Human Services, suffered a terrible accident in August, leaving her paralyzed. After surgeries and months in intensive care, she was moved to a rehabilitation facility in Concord. Insurance funds for that facility recently ran out, though, meaning Valerie and her husband must pay out of pocket.
Her colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to assist Valerie with home renovations to make her home accessible by wheelchair. If you can help, we encourage you to click here to make a donation.
Despite a driving snowstorm, voters headed to Town Meeting polls in communities around the state on Tuesday. To those who voted, we thank you. SEA/SEIU Local 1984 had several contracts on the ballot and at least two of our members were running for town office. Stan Freeda, Chapter 44, won election to the School Board in Farmington. In Hampton, voters approved a new contract for Public Works employees by a comfortable margin.
Last year (also during a snowstorm), voters rejected the Hampton contract, so this time around members there organized, held visibilities and built support for their contract. Sadly, voters in other communities didn’t approve the contracts we had on the ballot. This is a pitfall of the Town Meeting process, in which we must first negotiate a contract with the town, then win the approval of voters.
Another member running for office, Director Germano Martins, sadly didn’t win election Tuesday. He was running for Budget Committee in Hooksett, and fell around 60 votes short. We thank him and Stan Freeda for stepping forward to serve their communities. We already know they’re dedicated state employees, but this effort shows their dedication to public service knows no bounds.
So-called right to work case goes before the Supreme Court
On Monday, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME case. Similar to the Friedrich’s case from two years ago, the Janus case is part of a long line of special interest attacks on working people’s right to organize. Remember that just last year, Gov. Sununu made right to work his top legislative priority, and, thanks to the efforts of our members and allies, we were able to defeat the bill. However, right to work advocates are representing Janus and legal experts believe that given the current political leanings of the Supreme Court they will likely find in favor of Janus. This would create a national right to work environment for public sector unions and be a devastating blow to working families.
This case could leave us a right-to-work nation within just a few months. What could this mean for you?
Loss of negotiating power
Increased healthcare costs
Decline in advocacy for critical services
We know this can happen because we’ve seen it in Wisconsin. In pushing for right to work and fighting the state employee contract tooth and nail, it’s clear that our governor wants to copy Wisconsin’s attack on working families. In fact, after Gov. Sununu lost the right to work legislative fight, he told our bargaining team “No wage increase for you.”
The answer to these attacks on unions is to stay united. Union membership needs to be an active sport: sign up your co-workers, join committees, become a leader and reach out to us on ways that you can become involved.
If Janus succeeds, we are STILL compelled to represent non-members. This means non-members will continue to receive union benefits, even if they are no longer contributing. We will be forced to do the same amount of work with less resources. Make no mistake: this is an attack on workers and their families through an assault on unions.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to destroy unions, the goal is to take power from the working class. Please stand with us.
Here’s what you can do:
If you’re not a member, join today.
Help us build political power by contributing a few dollars a week to SEAPAC.
Make sure you stay connected by updating your contact information.
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.
Members of SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s Chapter 70 (Hampton Public Works) took their contract campaign to the people and won. On March 13th, Hampton residents passed Warrant Article 12 by 56% of the vote to approve funding in wage and benefit increases.
Members had held visibility events outside the town’s deliberative session at Winnacunnet High School to remind residents that a “yes on 12” was a show of support for Hampton’s Public Works employees.
You can get a look at the day to day work of our Chapter 70 members on their Facebook page.
As spelled out in the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors Policy, the following are members of the Collective Bargaining Senate:
You can find the most recent Board Policy Manual here.