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Your questions about Janus answered

1. What is Janus v AFSCME?

The Supreme Court ruling in Janus ended fair share fees and now former fee-payers are no longer required to support the costs of their representation.

2. What is the immediate impact of an adverse decision on our union?

The immediate impact is that the union would no longer be allowed to collect what are called fair-share fees, which are assessed to non-members of our public sector bargaining units to help cover the cost of negotiating and defending the collective bargaining agreement. This fight over fair-share fees is the crux of so-called Right to Work initiatives that aim to weaken unions and the working families they represent. 

3. When will we know the long-term impact of this decision?

While we immediately lose fair-share revenue, our union has prepared diligently for this decision: building membership and engaging members. We are in a strong position to withstand the loss of this revenue because this decision will not stop dues-paying members from organizing and fighting for their rights. Members’ dues will continue to be deduced per the contract, and your membership status will remain intact. In states where membership and organizing has remained strong in the face of Right to Work laws, unions have flourished.

4. Will our contract remain in place?

Yes. The Janus case is about the fair share portion of our bargaining agreements. All other provisions remain in effect. Only if our membership drops will this adverse decision threatens our ability to maintain our contract and our ability to negotiate new gains. If we can continue to grow our membership, our negotiating power grows with it.

5. Will we be having a special meeting or phone call to discuss this?

Yes. We are planning regional union meetings across the state (and across bargaining units) to discuss this case and its implications. We expect to start rolling out meetings within a few weeks after the decision.

6. Why should I stay in the union when I can quit and keep the benefits?

Without members, there is no union. In states where Right to Work has been legislated (like in Wisconsin), and membership has dropped, employees have seen significant drops in take-home pay over 4 – 5 years. In states where membership has held strong or increased, employees have been able to maintain their wages and benefits. If you choose to leave the union, there is no union. Those hard-fought benefits — including wages, health care, pensions, workplace safety — will be left to the employer’s discretion. In other words, you will have no power. Remember that there is strength in numbers: we have more bargaining power when we have more members.

7. What are some differences in benefits between member and non-members?

Non-members cannot give input or vote on SEA’s contract proposals and negotiations or serve on negotiating committees. They also do not receive any of the growing number of regional discounts or the national SEIU member discounts that members continue to enjoy, including free college tuition offered through Eastern Gateway Community College and a discounted college program offered through SNHU. 

8. Is SEA/SEIU Local 1984 still the exclusive representative between state employees and the State ?

Absolutely. The Janus case does not change this fact. We remain committed to exclusive representation and to the duty of fair representation. As the old union saying goes “united we bargain, divided we beg”. We expect to start negotiations for the 2019-2021 contract this fall.

9. How does this impact non-government (private) employees? 

The Janus decision applies only to public sector unions, so any unionized employees working for a private business will still have fair share fees deducted if the CBA provides for such fees.

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Grievance filing against New Hampshire Liquor Commission

Due to unfortunate events that transpired on June 19, 2018, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 has filed a grievance today with the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Board against the New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) on behalf of the association and its members. SEA Internal Organizer Andrew Capen was on a routine site visit with President Richard Gulla when he was pulled aside to take a call from Jim Richards, Store Operations Administrator from the NHLC. Richards informed Capen that he had just sent him an email which he proceeded to read aloud:

“It has come to our attention that the SEA president is visiting stores…his presence is disruptive to the workplace…Therefore, the Commission is rescinding its grant of permission to visit stores effective immediately.”

When Capen pressed further about the origin of these false allegations, Richards told him he had simply “received this instruction from Newland and the lawyers.” Matt Newland is Governor Sununu’s Manager of Employee Relations, and Capen and President Gulla were asked to leave immediately. Within the hour of the phone exchange between Capen and Richards, the SEA was also notified that the July 26 Labor Management Committee would also be cancelled. At a time when member concerns are at an all-time high, we cannot find a plausible reason to explain why state officials would choose to cancel this very important opportunity for dialogue.

The SEA has made good faith efforts to raise employee safety issues to the Commission for years – concerns that were substantiated in Councilor Volinsky’s report issued in February to the governor’s office. Today, the Chairman of the NHLC Joseph Mollica, filed a grievance against your union, asking that President Gulla be barred from any liquor store for a minimum period of six months.

The SEA has long known that the Commission bullies and intimidates its employees into silence, else they be fired. Now the Commission is trying to do the same to your union, but with your support we will fight this. It’ll be a long fight, but now that the Commission is re-enacting its bullying practices in the public arena, we are confident that they will be exposed. Our end goal is simple: the NHSLC needs to implement clear policies that are consistent with IRS reporting practices and protect employee safety.

Our institutions have long flourished because of the checks and balances in place and it is our goal to restore a checks and balance with the NHLC.

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The SEA Board’s actions re: NHLC issues

Dear Members:

As First Vice-President of the State Employees Association’s Board of Directors, I want to remove confusion surrounding issues involving the NH Liquor Commission generated by recent news stories, social media posts and email chains initiated by a handful of misinformed individuals.

Below are the four main issues that I would like to clarify:

  1. President Gulla’s actions related to the February visit to the Keene liquor store were ratified by the Board on June 21, 2018 in an Emergency Board meeting. His decision to accompany Councilor Volinsky resulted from a chapter meeting where several liquor state employees volunteered to have the large volume cash transactions at their respective stores observed.

The Board wants to send a strong message to the State: after decades of ignoring liquor employees’ safety pleas, their pleas won’t be ignored anymore. Because the Commission has a history of firing employees who act as whistleblowers, the SEA understands that many current members do not want to publicly denounce the NHLC and risk their livelihood.  Regardless, we’ve received many messages of support, asking us to keep fighting. And we will.

______

  1. The SEA has never and will never release anything to the media or public that would place employees in danger.

Attempts have been made to convince members that we released confidential information to the media, such as security footage and sensitive information about cash deposits. This is false. We have no control over stores’ video footage, never released it and the information about bank deposits have long been known and acknowledged publicly.

______

  1. President Gulla has no personal vendetta and his involvement is not a conflict of interest.

President Gulla rose through the ranks from clerk to manager at NH liquor stores during the course of his nearly 20-year career. He is still a state liquor employee and a member while he serves as president. Based on Robert’s Rules of Order, the Board cannot vote to exclude a member from the process. Recently, a member improperly released confidential information about confidential personnel matters relating to President Gulla’s employment. Because members must be able to trust that confidential personnel information will always be held in confidence, the Board has directed our legal team to take appropriate action to address the inappropriate  disclosure of confidential information. The Board holds their ethical and fiduciary responsibility in high regard.

______

  1. We are in this together. The Board has an open door policy with members. You can express your views via emails, letters, in person, or by requesting to be placed on the agenda during the monthly board meetings.

As the SEA publicly expressed in the June 20 article in the Union Leader, “we respect an individual’s right to their opinion.” Members are welcomed and encouraged to express opposing viewpoints. We are a democratic organization and democracy means a plurality of voices and finding unity within that diversity. The SEA also makes regular attempts to connect with members. For example, in an outreach effort to a handful of chapter 54 members he met at the June Council meeting, President Gulla sent a notecard and copies of books that had been distributed at last year’s Convention. This simple gesture was later twisted to cast President Gulla’s act as an attempt to bribe members with gifts. We will not tolerate the intentional spread of lies and half-truths aimed at breaking down the solidarity the SEA has built for the past several decades.

The SEA has long known that the Commission bullies and intimidates its employees into silence, else they be fired. Now the Commission is using the same tactics against the SEA. These tactics include barring the SEA from visiting retail stores, cancelling the July 26 Labor-Management Committee and engaging in blatant union-busting communication with the members and general public. At a time when member concerns are at an all time high, we cannot find a plausible reason to explain why liquor officials would choose to cancel any opportunities for dialogue. This fight will be long but we are ready to use all legal avenues to stomp out the intimidation culture that is pervasive at the NHLC.

On June 21, 2018, the Board passed four motions: to authorize a show of solidarity in support of NH State Liquor Store employees; to ratify President Gulla’s actions at the Keene liquor store; to use necessary legal recourse to remedy the improper disclosure of confidential information; and to communicate with our elected officials and their appointees to address employee safety at the liquor stores.

Oftentimes when one commits to doing what is right, they will face opposition. This opposition has reaffirmed our commitment to continue to  ensure employee safety and push for policy changes and training aligned with IRS regulations. The messages of support we have received from state employees across agencies has furthered strengthened our resolve to this commitment.

We’re all part of one union. We will replace confusion with clarity, not just internally but with the NHSLC as well.

Sincerely,

First Vice President Ken Roos

SEA/SEIU Local 1984

 

To see the original document please click here.

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Members save on tickets to the Monarchs

Monarchs

Discounted Manchester Monarchs tickets are back for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members. Members receive great prices on tickets to selected games from the minor league LA Kings affiliate throughout the season. If you’ve never been to a game, it’s never more affordable and certainly worth checking out.

In addition to the great action on the ice, the team offers fun giveaways and events all season long – including indoor fireworks – and kids can line up post game for high fives from all the Monarchs players.

You can see the selected games and get your tickets by clicking here.

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The Supreme Court decision on unions

The Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME – supported by anti-union special interest groups – is an attempt to rig the economy against workers and their families. By eliminating the right to collect fair share fees, unions will now have fewer resources to fight for their members. This decision is part of a longstanding agenda to weaken unions and claw back hard-earned wages and benefits from our contract.

Thankfully, we’ve spent the past few years working harder than ever. The results? Our membership has never been higher.

These anti-union groups only win when we’re divided, and we’re sticking closer together than ever.  When working people are part of a union, we achieve higher wages and better benefits. This, in turn, fosters a better quality of life for families and communities.

Right now, our legal experts are combing through today’s decision, and we will bring you more information on its impact. Regardless of the obstacles, we will move forward together, recalling that historic attempts to weaken us have only strengthened us. Today’s decision will be no different.

We need your help:

  • Stay in the union.
  • Talk to your co-workers about the importance of being a member and protecting our union.
  • Get involved. Our union thrives with loyal, active members.

Contribute to SEAPAC or consider increasing your contribution. We can expect more political battles and we can’t fight wealthy special interests without pooling our resources. Click here to contribute and help us fight the big money groups who are responsible for today’s decision.

Workers like you are the backbone of our state, and together we will rise stronger and more united than they could have ever imagined.

Thank you.

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SEA contributes $5k to public works memorial project

check

From left to right: Jon Hebert, Dan Brennan, Tony Paveglio, President Richard Gulla, Director of Operations Dave Rodrigue and Commissioner Victoria Sheehan

On Tuesday, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 proudly presented a check to the state’s Public Works Memorial Committee toward its fundraising efforts to construct a memorial honoring public works employees killed in the line of duty.

“We represent so many public works employees that the decision from the Board of Directors’ to support this project only made sense,” said President Richard Gulla. “When the board made this decision, I had really hoped it would inspire others to contribute as well and I’m really pleased to say that our donation prompted our retirees to donate $500 from their chapter funds. I hope it inspires others.”

NH Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan and Director of Operations David Rodrigue were present to receive the $5,000 check.

“We’re thrilled to accept this check. It gives us the additional boost we need to bring this project to fruition,” Commissioner Sheehan said. “This generous donation really shows the SEA’s dedication toward member safety and remembering those whose lives were taken too early.”

The donation brings the total donations to $44,000 of the $80,000 that the committee needs to raise, with individual donations continuing to trickle in.  “We have every intention of breaking ground in August,” Rodrigue said. “No gift is too small and anyone who wants to support us, please visit the NH Public Works Employee memorial page, which can be found on the DOT homepage.”

The winning proposal for the memorial, shown below, includes four granite slabs to represent the four seasons in which public works employees toil surrounding by 24 shovels to represent the 24 hours they are called to work. The memorial will be built outside of the NH Department of Transportation on Hazen Drive in Concord.

pwmemorial

The SEA represents public works employees from the state Department of Transportation and municipalities including Ashland, Laconia, Hampton, Exeter, Seabrook, Rochester, Franklin, Meredith and North Conway.

Individuals can donate at www.gofundme.com/nh-public-works-memorial.

 

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Need a plan for retirement? Retirewise can help

Program is offered free for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members and their spouses

Do you have a plan for retirement? Whether you’re a few years into your career or a few years from retirement, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re on the right track.

The popular Retirewise workshop series, presented by MetLife and SEA/SEIU Local 1984, is set to return this September in Concord. The four-part series, which is free for SEA members and spouses, will help you create a realistic plan for retirement.

The series begins Sept. 13 and continues over the following three weeks. Space for the workshop is limited to 35, so you’ll want to act quickly if you want to take part.

You can sign up for the series and find more information here.

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Information on change to state retiree insurance

Transition to Medicare Advantage plan will happen on Jan. 1

At its June 20 meeting, the Executive Council approved a change to the insurance plan for retired state employees, shifting the nearly 10,000 Medicare-eligible state retirees to a Medicare Advantage plan. The change will take effect on Jan. 1 and is expected to offer $11.8 million in savings for the state. In the meantime, the state will work with Anthem to get important information to retirees.

The state has provided a frequently asked questions document for the change, which you can find here. The Monitor also answered some of the questions that came up when state officials met with Chapter 1 members at a recent meeting. You can find that Monitor article here.

As a reminder, the SEA has a staffer to help with health benefits questions. You can contact him at cporter@seiu1984.org.  

 

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New Executive Branch contract information

The new collective bargaining agreement between the state and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 covering Executive Branch employees has been signed and is now in effect. You can find information on the new agreement below:

Contract: You can find a signed version of the new contract here.

Short-term disability plan: You can read more about the state’s new short-term disability plan here. You can find a frequently asked questions section here. Please note that question #14 will be changed to show that all leave usage is available, not just annual. This will go into effect Jan. 1.

Health rewards: Anthem’s Healthy Rewards is once again active. You can find information here.

More information: Our informational page on the tentative agreement, which includes frequently asked questions and other information on the TA, has been archived here.

If you have questions on the new contract, or are interested in getting involved in the upcoming round of bargaining, you can email Randy Hunneyman at rhunneyman@seiu1984.org.  ​

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Reminder: June 14th Council Meeting in Concord

Free barbeque dinner starting at 5:30

The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 June Council meeting is set for June 14th at 7 p.m, registration begins at 6:30 p.m. The location for the meeting is the DES auditorium at 29 Hazen Drive in Concord. There will not be a satellite location elsewhere.

Our expected guest speaker is Andru Volinsky.

Chapter 1 members will be hosting a barbeque starting at 5:30 p.m.

 

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