SEA loses a devoted leader


Ken Roos leaves a lasting legacy of public service, activism

On Sunday morning, as news of Ken Roos’ passing began filtering out, the tributes came pouring in. From his fellow SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members to U.S. senators, the message was the same: what a tremendous loss.

Ken died Sunday at the age of 64 after a brief illness. He leaves behind his wife, Jodi, a daughter, Alexa, and a son, Nathaniel. Our thoughts are with the family in this difficult time.

It’s not possible to overstate the impact that Roos, the longtime First Vice President of the SEA, had on his union and in his community. Ken was a fearless warrior for what was right, unafraid to roll up his sleeves and get involved. He was a volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Relief and regularly donated blood. He was also deeply involved in Democratic politics, even serving as a delegate for Bernie Sanders.

Related: Photos of Ken Roos from his time in SEA/SEIU Local 1984  |  Tributes pour in from across the internet

Ken joined the union nearly 20 years ago and gradually got more involved as time went on. In her many years as Business Administrator, Kathy Desjardin worked with Ken as much as any SEA staffer.

“Ken was just always there doing the right thing, whether anybody asked him to or not,” Desjardin said. “Ken was the first one to spot a problem and try to solve it. He was the one who was going to right an injustice and it didn’t matter how hard that was going to be or if it was impossible – he was everybody’s champion.”

SEA President Richard Gulla remembers Ken as a trusted confidant who helped him navigate the political scene with his light-hearted spirit. One of the earliest political memories they shared took place at the Puritan restaurant in Manchester.

“Ken managed to position the both of us like we were part of the receiving line for Sen. Shaheen and Secretary Clinton and we got to shake their hands,” Gulla said. “He was never camera shy and we were certainly in the newspapers and news that night.”

In addition to serving as First Vice President, Ken was active with his chapter and many committees, including Finance, Convention Arrangements and Political Education. Mary Fields, one of Ken’s co-workers at the Department of Health and Human Services, said his passion for service stretched far beyond the union.

“He was a humanitarian before all else,” Fields said. “He was about human rights, period. Not the 1 percent – the people who need it. And he never wavered. He just never stopped.”

Activism was nothing new for Ken Fellow SEA member and high school classmate Beth Campbell recalled protesting alongside Ken against the Vietnam war – an unpopular stance in a small town.

“He just had a fire in him,” Campbell said. “A fire to do the right things. He knew the causes he took up were the right causes and he knew he had to do something.”

Campbell hopes that Ken will continue to inspire people to take the action that’s needed.

“I’ve heard people saying that we need to continue the fight for Ken,” she said. “People loved him so much, they want to do more because of him. He inspired people and I think he can continue to do that. We need to make sure people know what he did, what one person can do.”

Going forward, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 and its members will work to honor his legacy.

“Nobody is going to fill his place, because he didn’t have just one place,” Fields said. “He was so many things to so many people. There will never be another Ken.”

In lieu of flowers or thoughts and prayers, please donate to Everytown for Gun Safety, The American Heart Association, or give blood by contacting the American Red Cross. You can find Ken’s full obituary here.

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Tributes pour in for Ken Roos

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 First Vice President Ken Roos died Sunday after a brief illness. The impact of his loss is immeasurable and since his passing the tributes have been steadily arriving from members, community partners and politicians.

Here are some of those tributes:

“Ken was the personification of ‘The Union.’ He was always the first to stand up for those in need, always very generous. To so many of us, he was a steady leader, a union brother, a great friend.”

– Germano Martins

“Ken Roos was a great guy and a fighter for worker rights and justice for all. He was dedicated to making the world a better place by working as an advocate for all workers, I will miss his kindness and dedication.”

– Owen David

“Ken was my hero. He was a gentle, yet powerful, advocate for all things good. I knew Ken best as the longtime leader of the SEA Political Education Committee. Because of Ken, I got to meet, listen to and shake hands with Barack Obama and many other candidates for public office. Ken was an inspiration for me. I am deeply saddened that he is gone and I will miss him dearly.”

– Joan Hamblet

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of my former colleague, Ken Roos. Over the course of a decade at DHHS, I had many occasions to interact with Ken. In a few words: passionate, creative, perseverance, kind, thoughtful, great humor, and a hard worker. Whatever he stood for was based on principle and always had the needs of others above himself. While his life has been cut short and denied the opportunity to relax and spend more time with his family, they, and we, can take comfort in a man who leaves an enduring legacy in our State. Rest in peace my friend.”

– Nick Toumpas

“Very sad to learn of Ken’s passing. He was and will remain an example of total dedication to Family, fellow workers everywhere, and his life’s work with NH SEA/SEIU1984. On behalf of the hundreds of members of the Department of Safety, State Employees Association, Chapter 40, I wish to express our deepest condolences to Ken’s family and fellow workers. Rest in Peace good friend.”

– James Kowalik – President

“Ken Roos taught me how to stand on lines and take up causes and to fight. Diligently, sign after sign, picket after picket. The patience of if you don’t succeed you just keep picking up a sign, standing on a line and fighting for what you believe in. And his legacy is not only in the love and pride he had for his wife and children but in the inspiration as carry on his legacy fighting injustice.

But I also called Ken my friend and the man was funny! Oh was he funny! The last interaction I had with Ken was a text he sent me at the end of June. Ken sent me a picture of the name “Brenda” tattooed on a man’s upper back in many times and in many fonts– with the message from Ken “U have a secret admirer!” – my response – “I love ya Ken! That is pretty awesome!” That was Ken. Always making all of us smile. I hope he knows how much he meant to so many and that every once in a while we made him smile.”

– Brenda Thomas

“Ken Roos personified public service and worked tirelessly towards helping people especially by empowering working people everywhere through strengthening organized labor and our Union the New Hampshire State Employees Association. He was a great leader both as First Vice-President and on the SEA’s Political Education Committee and I’m proud to have served with him on that committee. Ken will always be my friend and even though I’ll miss his wit and wisdom everyday he’ll continue inspiring us all in the fight towards making this a just society for everyone.”

– John S. Hancock

“While working for BEAS, I periodically sat with Ken in his little office to discuss budget issues. His office was filled with memorabilia and meaningful photos. He was most proud of his family and the activities they did together. During the 2016 election, I met up with him and Jodi at St. Anselm’s. Ken’s commitment to workers, their right to organize and the importance of the SEA was unwavering. Rest In Peace, Ken…your presence here meant so much to so many.”

– Donna M. Mombourquette

“Ken and I not only worked in the same unit but our cubbies were next to each other’s and with that came a wide grinned greeting from Ken every morning holding a cup of coffee and mostly a muffin from the cafeteria. We shared lot of stories in between our work breaks, his sense of humor and his passion for social justice made me admire Ken so much. Today as I work I am staring across his cubby where his daughter’s picture with same smile like Ken’s facing me. Ken has few other beautiful family pictures on the shelves to which I keep walking across to look at. I will no longer see Ken in real person. Ken poured his heart out with support when I lost my mom two months ago in a similar situation. As my mom’s loss is fresh in my heart, I can’t believe, Ken who offered me so much support and checked on me so often is no longer here with us. You were a special person, a great soul and will always remain very special. Miss you Ken.”

– Aparna N Bhattarai

“I will always remember Ken’s courage, standing forth at all our cause. Your memory will always live
when there is justice to be done, Ken. Rest in peace.”

– Thea Aloise

“Only in this past year did I have the pleasure to begin working with Ken Roos. And although this opportunity was fleeting I was impressed with Ken’s dedication to “the cause” and the amount of knowledge and aptitude he brought to the table. He will be missed.”

– James Weaver

“I met Ken when I ran for State Rep from East Concord and I knocked on his door. I ended up getting endorsed by the SEA, but more importantly I made a good friend. I loved running into him on election day … And at the grocery store. It was always great to spend a few moments with Ken. He fought for things that really mattered and I will miss him.”

– Ben Venator

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Ken’s passing. He was a very dedicated public servant who gave all he had to promoting the Union and working for the rights of all members. Rest in peace Ken.”

– Carole Totzkay

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SEA’s First VP Ken Roos dies

We are devastated to share that Ken Roos, our beloved first vice president, died Sunday after a brief illness. Ken was a dedicated public servant, union leader and community activist. Ken’s loss is immeasurable, in the community at large and here at the SEA. We will miss him dearly.

Above all, our thoughts are with his wife Jodi, his daughter Alexa and his son Nate in this difficult time.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Temple Beth Jacob on Broadway in Concord (get directions here). Members are asked to wear their SEA purple.

Donations in Ken’s memory may be made to Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the American Heart Association or Temple Beth Jacob.

If you’d like to share a memory of Ken, click here to send a quick email.

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NH represented in national dialogue

President Gulla

President Gulla speaks at the Workers’ Day event held in front of the State House in partnership with faith groups.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is pleased to announce President Richard Gulla’s appointment to the SEIU Public Services Division Executive Committee. The committee is comprised of 15 leaders appointed by SEIU’s Executive Vice President, Heather Conroy, and represents 700,000 members in over 30 SEIU locals nationwide.

“We are thrilled to have New Hampshire represented,” Heather Conroy said. “The Granite State has successfully beaten attacks against labor multiple times and there’s a strong interest from other locals to learn more from New Hampshire’s experiences.“

The Executive Committee is tasked with developing strategic programs that represent and fund the services that public service employees deliver. In addition, the committee works to:  create an economy that works for all; hold elected officials accountable; safeguard the right to collective bargaining; demand a well-funded public sector that creates a safe working environment; and legislative and policy successes that benefit working families. This framework stems from the 2016 Transforming Government for Working Families resolution, adopted at the SEIU convention.

“I am so proud to represent my fellow Granite Staters,” President Gulla said. “With the help and activism of our members, our 2017 legislative wins were incredible feats for our working people and retirees despite the challenging political environment we faced. And in spite of this governor’s attempts, we were still able to bargain a cost of living increase for many state employees. These types of success stories are at the very core of the resolution’s goals.”

The committee convenes remotely every month, and meets in person every quarter.

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FAQ for the Health Rewards program

As of June 7, when the Executive Branch contract went into effect, the Health Rewards program has been reinstated for workers covered by the state employee health benefit. The state has put together the following FAQ on Health Rewards:

What is the Health Rewards Program?

As you recall, the Health Rewards program is an incentive program that enables employees to earn points for completing certain health promotion activities which may be redeemed for gift cards or debit cards in $100 increments up to $300 in a calendar year. The Anthem Healthy Lifestyles Well-Being Assessment (HAT) must be completed prior to receiving any health promotion incentives.

When are represented employees able to earn Health Rewards?

All members covered under the collective bargaining agreements were reinstated as eligible to earn incentive rewards for the completion of certain health promotion activities dated on or after June 7, 2018.   If an employee completed an activity on or after June 7, 2018, their Health Rewards account will be automatically updated provided that the HAT has been completed.

When will I see my points in my Health Rewards Account?

It may take up to 30 days for completed eligible activities to appear in your Health Rewards account.

How do I access my Health Rewards Account?

You can access your Health Rewards by logging into your member account at  For step-by-step instructions on how to access the Anthem Health Rewards program online, go to and click on the Health Rewards Frequently Asked Questions link or click here:  A Step by Step Guide to Trade in Health Reward Points.

What about employees who are not represented by a union?

All employees not covered under a collective bargaining agreement became eligible to earn incentive rewards for the completion of eligible activities dated on or after January 1, 2018. The same requirement applies: the Anthem Healthy Lifestyles Well-Being Assessment (HAT) must be completed prior to receiving any health promotion incentives.

What if I do not see my Health Rewards points in my Health Rewards Account?

If you have questions about the status of a completed Health Reward and it is beyond 30 days from the date of completion, please contact Anthem Member Services at (800) 933-8415.

For more information on the Health Rewards program please go to

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Nominations open for Executive Branch bargaining team

The next collective bargaining cycle for the Executive Branch is set to begin soon, which means it’s time to elect a new Master Bargaining Team. The following information is being sent by email to all members in good standing in the Executive Branch. You can click here to nominate yourself for the bargaining team. To learn more, read on:

Overview of the Executive Branch Bargaining Team:

One of the most important and challenging responsibilities that any union member can undertake is serving on a contract bargaining team. The role of a bargaining team member is to advocate for the issues and concerns that the general union membership wants to see included in their contract agreement with the employer.

All executive branch members in good standing have the opportunity to run for the master bargaining team. There are no prior experience requirements. All elected bargaining team members receive special training on negotiating techniques and the bargaining process. 

Executive Branch Bargaining Team Expectations:

The collective bargaining cycle begins on September 1, 2018. During the bargaining cycle members of the master team can expect to attend bargaining and preparation sessions one to two days a week. Bargaining team members contractually receive release time from their regular work assignments to participate in these sessions. Bargaining sessions are often conducted during regular daytime work hours, but some limited evening hours will be required to attend bargaining advisory meetings and preparation sessions.

Master Bargaining Team Election Process:

The executive branch bargaining team is made up of fifteen state employee members. Eleven of these positions are filled by election. Team elections will be on August 6, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the meeting of the Collective Bargaining Senate (Dept. of Environmental Services, 29 Hazen Drive Concord NH)

State employee members who are interested in being elected to serve on the master bargaining team have to fill out and submit a nomination form. The nomination forms are available online here. Members have the option of completing the form either electronically or by printing the form and returning it by mail. Please note that mailed forms need to be postmarked no later than August 2nd 2018. 

At the August bargaining senate meeting, nominees will be individually introduced by the SEA/SEIU 1984 chairperson of bargaining and the nominees will be provided a three-minute opportunity to address the bargaining senate members on why they think they would be a good choice for election to the bargaining team. *Nominees are encouraged to be present at the bargaining senate meeting but may have an advocate speak on their behalf if they cannot attend.

If you would like to receive a paper nomination form or have questions, please contact Jim Nall at 764-1042 or by e-mail at

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Join us for a screening of ‘Matewan’


The Campaign for Public Good and Social Activities Committee present a screening and discussion of the film “Matewan” on Friday, July 27, starting at 5 p.m. The film tells the story of a coal miners’ strike in the 1920s in rural West Virginia.

The event is open to members, friends and family. We’ll supply the popcorn, you bring snacks to share. This is a responsible BYOB event. If you’ve got any questions, send an email to

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Lend a hand at Veterans Home’s Cruise Night

The Campaign for Public Good is organizing members to help with the NH Veterans Home’s annual Classic Cruise Night from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2 (rain date Aug. 9). This great event includes doo-wop music by the Bel-Airs, light refreshments and, of course, some great classic cars.

There are two opportunities: arrive at 4 p.m. and help with parking or arrive at 5 p.m. and help transport residents. We hope you’ll join us for what will be a fun, rewarding opportunity. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can send an email to or sign up online here.

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Endorsement: Bill Bolton for Senate District 2

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 endorses Bolton for Senate


Bill Bolton

The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors on Tuesday announced its endorsement of Bill Bolton for state Senate in District 2. The board felt that Bolton, a long-time SEA member and dedicated public servant, is the best choice to represent District 2 in Concord.

“We are proud to endorse one of our own for the state Senate,” said SEA President Rich Gulla. “The Legislature will benefit from Bill’s in-depth knowledge and experience, and he will help make our state government work best for the people it needs to serve.”

Both Bolton and his wife, Denise, have spent many years serving in state government and as members of the SEA. The family has deep roots in Plymouth, where they’ve raised their four children and Bill serves on the Board of Selectmen.

“I’m proud to earn the endorsement of the working people of SEA/SEIU Local 1984,” Bolton said. “I spent 30 years as a state employee and was fortunate enough to serve as a chapter president in the SEA. That taught me the importance of collective bargaining and the strength that unions bring to our communities.”

Senate District 2 stretches from Haverhill in the north to Tilton in the south, and includes Plymouth, Meredith and Ashland among other towns. Bolton said that in the early part of his campaign, he’s spent time all across the district listening to voters.

“We’ve been talking to folks at transfer stations, in door-to-door canvassing and at farmers markets,” Bolton said. “I’ve found we’re all concerned about the same things – supporting our public schools, making sure our families have access to quality healthcare, and returning some civility to our public discourse. These are issues I spent 30 years learning about as a state employee, and I’m excited to take that knowledge and local focus to Concord on behalf of the people.”

You can read more about our endorsement process here.

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Endorsement: Jenn Alford-Teaster for District 8


The State Employees’ Association enthusiastically endorses Jennifer Alford-Teaster (D) of Sutton in her run for state senate district 8. Alford-Teaster, a New Hampshire native, is running to represent the economic interests of Granite Staters in the many district 8 communities.

“We are excited to have Jennifer running for this senate seat,” President Richard Gulla said. “Her personal story of hard work and perseverance shows she will be a voice for worker rights. She understands that unions are becoming the last line of defense for good paying jobs and benefits.”

Trained in public health and the sciences, Alford-Teaster works as a research project director for Dartmouth College.  She also draws upon her personal story to support the causes that SEA/SEIU Local 1984 champion.

“The work of the union holds personal weight for me,” Alford-Teaster said. “As a teenager, I received support from DCYF [Division of Children, Youth and Families] and that experience really helped me understand the essential need for proper staffing standards, which are  often a matter of life and death for New Hampshire children.”

Raised by her mother and grandmother, who both worked multiple jobs to support her and her three siblings, Alford-Teaster understands firsthand the struggles of working families.

“If I’m elected, my focus would be to bring resources to the  communities I’ll be representing. We need more job training and apprenticeship opportunities, for example.”

Alford-Teaster will face Sen. Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard) in November.

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