Public hearings start next week for budget

Regional hearings on Monday; hearing in Concord is March 13

The next major steps in the House budget process are coming up in the next few weeks, with public hearings set. The House Finance Committee has been meeting with agencies over the past few weeks to prepare its own version of the budget. The public hearings are the next step in the process.

There will be two “remote” public hearings this coming Monday, March 6, and a hearing at the State House a week later.

Monday, March 6

  • Derry: 4:30 p.m. at Derry Town Hall
  • Plymouth: 5:30 p.m. at Plymouth State University’s Silver Center

Monday, March 13

  • Concord: 3 p.m. at Representatives Hall in the State House

Gov. Chris Sununu’s budget largely funded many priorities – although it included language that would increase health care costs for retired state employees – but his proposal was built on an early set of revenue projections. This week, the House Ways and Means Committee set new revenue estimates nearly $60 million lower, and the Finance Committee’s budget will need to reflect that.

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Congrats to winners of CARS giveaway

Didn’t win? You can save on SEA 5K registration by signing up before March 15

The 24th SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk is now a little less than a month away, on Saturday, April 1. Over the weekend, the Road Race Committee announced a giveaway for three free entries to the entire Capital Area Race Series (CARS). With the drawing completed, we can tell you the three winning members are:

  • Amy O’Brien, Chapter 10
  • Matthew Cahillane, Chapter 16
  • Thomas Flynn, Chapter 16

Congratulations to the winners. If you didn’t win, all is not lost: you can still join us for the 24th running of the SEA 5K, and if you sign up soon you can save some money. Race entry for SEA members is only $20, one of the most affordable road races around. But you’ll need to act fast; entry fees climb to $25 on March 15. You can sign up for the SEA 5K here.

Sign up today and get training. We’ll see you at the starting line on April 1.

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New chapter learning ins, outs of unions

Chapter 73 preparing to hold elections this month


Members of Chapter 73, OPLC, listened in during a Union 101 learning session on Wednesday.

For the members of the SEA’s newest chapter, getting to where they are now has been a step-by-step process, and an education on unions.

Last month, the Board of Directors officially approved the formation of Chapter 73 at the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC). That came after a couple of years in which the various small boards were consolidated, then organized under the SEA, and eventually included under the Executive Branch contract. On Wednesday, members took part in a Union 101 training that will be followed by training on how to run a chapter and, finally, chapter elections.

union101b“It’s been interesting to see (the formation of the chapter) at the ground level,” said Chapter 73 member Alfio Torrisi, a field inspector for the Electricians Board. “Seeing the process through to fruition, attending these kinds of meetings, seeing us admitted as our own chapter, for me, it’s been good in the sense that I’ve been educated in the process.”

At the Union 101 training on Wednesday, SEA staffer Maddisun Barrows started by going back — way back to the 1850s — to give a history of unions. That led into a discussion of the collective bargaining law, personnel rules, CBAs, and reaching informal resolutions for workplace issues. Torrisi said he was excited and eager to learn more.

“That’s why I’m going to be volunteering to fill one of the chapter positions,” he said.

Kinny Corthell, an investigator with the Real Estate Commission, was also there Wednesday to learn more about what unions can do.

“I worked for agencies that didn’t have unions for much of my career, so this is a new experience for me,” Corthell said. “I’m interested in learning more about it. I think it’s a good addition to this agency.”

After the training on Wednesday, Corthell talked about what he hoped being part of a union would bring to OPLC.

“I’m hoping it will bring enhanced communication, more opportunities for support and training, and give people the avenue to better understand the demands on the agency,” he said.

Next week, members at OPLC will get a bit more education, this time on running the chapter, including background information on the number and nature of elected positions. Then, finally, on March 15, members will cast their ballots in a special chapter election.

Congratulations to the members on their new chapter, and thank you to those who’ve worked to get to this point.  

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House Finance budget work for the week of Feb. 27

Monday, Feb. 27

10:00 a.m.
Department of State
11:00 a.m.
Boxing and Wrestling Commission
11:30 a.m.
Community Development Finance Authority
1:00 p.m.
New Hampshire Liquor Commission


10:00 a.m.
Budget work session – DHHS

Tuesday, Feb. 28

1:00 p.m.
Executive Council
1:30 p.m.
Governor’s Commission on Disability

work on bills only

1:00 p.m.
Budget work session – DHHS

Wednesday, March 1

10:00 a.m.
Public Employees Labor Relations Board
10:30 a.m.
Land and Community Heritage Investment Program
11:00 a.m.
Department of Revenue Administration
1:00 p.m.
Department of Labor

Budget work sessions:
10:00 a.m.
Community College System of New Hampshire
12:30 p.m.
Department of Safety

11:00 a.m.
Budget work session with DHHS

Thursday, March 2

10:15 a.m.
Adjutant General
11:00 a.m.
Judicial Council
1:00 p.m.
Judicial Branch

10:00 a.m.
Budget work session – Department of Safety

9:00 a.m.
Budget work session joint w/ Div. I – DoIT & DHHS
10:00 a.m.
Work session – DHHS

Friday, March 3

10:00 a.m.
Budget work session – Office of Professional Licensure and Certification

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NH House Rejects So-Called Right to Work

Bipartisan vote dismisses the issue for two years

A short while ago, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against SB 11, the Senate’s so-called right to work bill, then took it one step further and “indefinitely postponed” the bill, meaning the issue can’t come back for the next two years.

This is a massive win for working people and a rejection of this tired, recycled idea pushed by out-of-state special interests. Thank you to all of our members who worked so hard, phone banking, writing letters to the editor, calling their legislators and taking part in lengthy hearings on this bill. This bipartisan rejection of SB 11 proves what we already knew: that we’re stronger together. 

The following is President Rich Gulla’s statement, which we released just moments ago:

“Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted SB 11 Inexpedient to Legislate. We are proud of the legislators for standing with Granite State workers today and putting the so-called Right to Work bill behind us, where it belongs. The New Hampshire House recognized that there was no constituency supporting this legislation and proved out-of-state special interests have no place in our politics. It took courage to stand against the constant stream of pressure from outside funding – and Granite State families can now celebrate this accomplishment.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our elected officials for continuing to stand up for what is important. We look forward to working with Governor Sununu and the legislature to continue helping New Hampshire families.”

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PSU Tentative Agreement Includes Wage Hikes

Ballots Have Been Mailed Out to Members of Chapter 30 for Vote

The bargaining team of Chapter 30, the Plymouth State University Teaching Lecturers, recently reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the college. This week, ballots were sent out to chapter members.

The tentative agreement comes seven months after their previous agreement with PSU ended in June. The agreement includes pay rate increases of $50 per credit for the current semester, to $1,250. That number gradually increases to $1,350 per credit by the spring 2019 semester.

Chapter President Philip Inwood said news of the tentative agreement’s wage increases has been met warmly.

“I think people will be happy to get an extra $50 a credit, which seems small but for adjuncts who live off slender means, it’s actually a lot,” Inwood said. “Wages were our focus, and we did improve things, but it’s still off as wage equity is concerned. It’s a step-by-step process.”

Inwood said he’s hoping the tentative agreement will also be a step in the process of growing membership in Chapter 30, and getting those members active in the union. As part of that campaign, the chapter will again be holding an Adjunct Awareness event on March 8.

Beyond the campus, Inwood said he’d like to see his chapter get more involved in state politics through the union and SEAPAC, the union’s voluntary fund that helps expand our voices at the State House.

“What we need to do is start working with the legislature, start talking with representatives about the money that’s apportioned for the university system,” Inwood said. “I think this is important to do before we start to look ahead to our next contract negotiations.”

Ballots for this current tentative agreement were mailed on Tuesday, and must be returned by mail with a postmark no later than next Thursday, Feb. 23.

If you’re not yet a member of the union and you’d like to join, you can do so by filling out a membership form.

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PSU Member’s Win Brings Her Full Circle

Some wins, like a new tentative agreement, cover lots of people. Other wins, like the one that affected PSU Teaching-Lecturer and Chapter 30 member Kristin Stelmok, have a smaller reach. Whether it’s one or a hundred, though, any time workers win when asserting rights in the workplace, it’s worth celebrating. And for Kristin, being able to be a part of the union brings her full circle to where she was before this all started – trying to help bring a union to PSU for teaching lecturers.

Kristin’s story started last year when she sought to be a part of the PSU Teaching-Lecturer bargaining unit. The contract language defining eligibility was initially misinterpreted by PSU administration. After human resources told her she wasn’t eligible, Kristin checked with chapter president Philip Inwood and fellow-member Burrett McBee. As it turned out, they’d seen the exact same situation before. Philip got involved and after back and forth with the college, was successful in demonstrating the correct interpretation of the language.

“Ultimately, the dean agreed,” Stelmok said. “Her email said she wanted to respect my service to PSU and the spirit of the collective bargaining agreement, and agreed I was  eligible.” Kristin said she truly appreciated that response from the dean, Cynthia Vascak.

For Kristin – who teaches English and women’s studies – being included in the bargaining unit means wage increases, but more than that, it means she can contribute to the larger cause.

“The pay is definitely a lot better, especially because I’m teaching so much – four courses a semester,” Kristin said. “But it’s important that I’m able to be a part of the team that’s helping support all of the other teaching-lecturers. I’ve always found a great deal of support from the other teaching-lecturers, and having the union has helped us come together even more.”

Kristin is now in her 11th semester at PSU, although not consecutively – she spent time away at UNH working on her doctorate. That gap was actually what caused confusion over her eligibility. Joining the union, though, has brought everything full circle for Kristin.

“When I was initially at PSU, I was one of the folks working toward getting a union,” she said. “It’s nice to finally be a part of it.”

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House Voting Today on So-Called Right to Work

We’ll Provide Updates as Debate, Voting on SB 11 Take Place

The House is set to vote today on SB 11, the Senate’s so-called right to work bill. We’ll send an email alert once the vote is completed, as well as updates on our social media feeds. If you don’t already follow us, you can get updates by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

For those who’ve made phone calls to legislators, written letters to the editor, or helped us pack the House for hearings, we thank you. Regardless of the outcome of the vote today, we know we are stronger together.

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Special Election for Board of Directors

Vote to Be Held at Next Quarterly Council Meeting on Saturday, March 11

There will be a special election for the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors at the next quarterly Council meeting, on March 11 (please note that this is a Saturday).

This special election will fill the remainder of the term of one board seat, which is up for re-election this fall. Members who met the deadline for submission of self-nomination forms will have their names printed on the ballot. Nominations for write-in candidates can be taken from the floor.

The members who submitted their self-nomination forms by the deadline are:

  • Peter Brunette, Chapter 41
  • Corey Dearborn, Chapter 21

The March Council meeting is on Saturday, March 11, at 29 Hazen Drive, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is scheduled for a Saturday as a trial, a suggestion made by delegates to the annual convention last fall. We’ll be sending out a meeting-specific notice with the complete agenda to all councilors. We hope to see you all there. 

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House Votes Thursday on Right to Work

Call Your Representative and Plan to Join Us at State House for Vote

On Wednesday after hours of testimony, House Labor Committee voted the so-called Right to Work bills (SB 11 and HB 520) Inexpedient to Legislate by a vote of 14-7. While this strong majority sends a powerful message to the full House, the fight is far from over. The bills will be heard on Thursday, February 16, at 10 a.m., and we expect a significant push from the out-of-state interests who are sponsoring this legislation. This is going to be a close vote.

The members of the NH House Labor Committee heard the hundreds of citizens who attended the hearing in opposition to the so-called Right to Work bills on Wednesday. Dozens of citizens rose in opposition to the bills during the Labor Committee hearing, providing compelling testimony on why Right to Work is wrong for New Hampshire. Key points made during the testimony include:

  • Workers in Right to Work states make about $6,000 less per year.
  • Workers in Right to Work states have inferior health and leave benefits.
  • So-called Right to Work forces dues-paying union members to bargain for and represent non-paying workers.
  • NH has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and has the 9th highest per capita personal income in the country.

It became obvious as the hearing went along this so-called Right to Work legislation is being pushed by out-of-state interests and there is no NH constituency supporting its passage. Companies are struggling to attract enough workers to fill thousands of positions across the state. Passing legislation that works to drive wages and benefits down is wrong for working families and wrong for NH.

We need your help. Call your representative today. Tell them to vote NO to these recycled, tired Right to Work bills on Thursday.

Click here to find your representative on the NH House of Representatives website.

Plan to attend the NH House vote at the Statehouse on Thursday, Feb. 16. We are rallying from 9:30-10 a.m. in front of the Statehouse to demonstrate to the representatives that we are against so-called Right to Work.

We are planning to run the shuttle vans from Hazen Drive and South Campus on Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at noon, or whenever the House votes on the bills. The shuttle on Hazen will begin at DES with stops at Fish and Game and DOT. The shuttle on South Campus begins at Main Building, run between Toby and Brown, and then Education. The shuttles will make continuous loops roughly on the half hour.

Please add your voice to the hundreds of union members who will be at the State House in opposition so-called Right to Work.

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