The SEA has a new contract
Today volunteers from SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Chapter 1 tallied ballots for the Executive Branch tentative agreement. Thousands of ballot envelopes were received and members voted to ratify the agreement by an overwhelming majority.
We want to thank the members of the Master Bargaining Team, whose extraordinary efforts for over nearly two years brought about this agreement. We want to thank the Bargaining Senate for the thoughtful dialogue provided during last month’s meeting, when they voted to send this TA to our members for ratification. And finally, we want to thank all of our members. Your active participation and commitment to our union are what makes us strong. Regardless of how you voted, the State of NH has received yet another strong confirmation that SEA members are engaged and they VOTE.
The next biennial contract negotiations will start around October – November and we intend to go back to the negotiating table with whomever the next elected governor may be. Under normal circumstances, the negotiating process should yield us a contract by early 2019. In light of the unnecessary duration that these past negotiations underwent, it is our expectation that the next administration does not use a 300 day impasse before finally agreeing to a contract for state employees.
To learn more about the tentative agreement, please visit our FAQ page.
To read the tentative agreement in full, please access it here. Please note that the individual dates listed on each article reflect the culmination of the past year and half of negotiations.
To read the factfinder’s report, please click here.
To find a list of site visits and regional meetings on the tentative agreement, please click here.
Please note: This Fact Finder’s report is being provided for reference only. The fact-finding process acted as the catalyst that led the governors office to realize that offering no cost-of-living adjustments was an untenable position. This report was used as a tool by the bargaining teams to reach a Tentative Agreement, and at this point, the report has no legal significance, even though it is an important footnote in the history of these negotiations. At this stage, regardless of the action taken by the members on the ratification vote of the Tentative Agreement, the report is not subject to a vote by the members, and cannot be imposed by the Union or the State unilaterally.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding our Tentative Agreement with the state.
1) Article 9.4 – Holiday Pay
How does this affect me?
This article ensures that all full-time employees get a full day’s wage for a paid holiday, not to exceed 8 hours.
2) Article 9.4.1 – Part-Time Holiday Pay
How does this affect me?
If you are a regularly scheduled part-time employee, you will be paid the number of hours you are normally scheduled on the day of the week that a holiday is observed.
3) Article 9.6 – Floating Holidays (will become Article 9.5)
When do I have to use my floating holidays?
Floating holidays must be used in the fiscal year in which they are earned. For example: we will receive 3 floating holidays between July 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. All three must be used no later than June 30, 2019, which is the last day of the fiscal year. Current floating holiday accruals on the books must be used by June 30, 2019, if the contract is ratified.
4) Article 10 – Annual Leave
Where in the current contract does it require 5 days’ notice to request annual leave?
Article 10.3.b states “the employer agrees to indicate approval or rejection of the requested leave within one week after receiving a properly executed application for leave.”
The one-week timeframe is understood to mean 5 work days. Therefore, the proposed language in Article 10.3.f. which states “nothing contained in this section or under the terms of the application for leave shall be construed as preventing the employer from granting requested leave without a five (5) day notice” is mere clarifying language.
5) Article 11 – Sick Leave
What happened to the proposal on part-time sick leave benefits?
In response to SEA’s proposal, the State said they would discontinue the annual payout benefit provided in the Personnel Rules, meaning that part-time employees could lose over a thousand dollars per year. SEA will continue to negotiate the inclusion of part-time employee sick leave benefits in future bargaining rounds.
6) Article 11.1 – Bonus Leave
Please explain the additional floating holiday and the removal of bonus leave.
One-third of employees currently receive some amount of bonus leave. Under this tentative agreement, two-thirds of employees would see an additional day of leave that they weren’t getting before, and 100% of employees would receive a guaranteed day as opposed to a potential amount of bonus leave. Upon retirement, sick leave payout is 50% of total days whereas annual is 100%. It benefits employees to keep annual leave on books.
7) Article 11.1.1 – Bonus Leave
When do I stop accruing bonus leave?
Employees will accrue current fiscal bonus leave through June 30, 2018, and will be available for use through June 30, 2019.
8) Article 11.1.1 – Bonus Leave
What happens to bonus leave that I currently have?
All employees will be able to keep “old bonus” accrued before July 1, 1995, with no expiration.
In addition, employees will be able to keep 64 hours of bonus leave to their credit with no expiration, regardless of any amount of “old bonus” on the books.
9) Article 11.1.1.c – Bonus Leave
Will bonus leave be counted towards my retirement calculation?
Bonus leave is considered wages and will still be counted towards retirement calculation
10) Article 11.2 – Sick Leave
Can I use my annual leave for sick leave purposes?
Once sick leave has been exhausted, an employee may apply for any other accrued leave for sick leave purposes.
11) Article 11.2 – Sick Leave
What does the addition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or their clinical representative accomplish?
This addition allows medical professionals other than physicians to provide a note to employers who require one when an employee is out sick.
12) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
What does totally disabled mean?
The term is an industry standard. The STD-IP plan is designed to provide financial support for employees recovering from a non-work related injury or sickness that has left them totally disable and unable to perform the activities of their employment with the employer and unable to perform the functions and duties of a person of the same age and gender. To be eligible for total disability, an employee may not be working at any job.
13) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Is pregnancy a qualifying condition under the STD-IP plan?
Pregnancy, prenatal complications, labor, delivery, postnatal recovery are typically considered disabilities under the Family Medical Leave Act and are therefore covered under the STD-IP plan.
14) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
How is STD-IP plan funded and who runs it?
The plan is funded through Fund 60 (state employees self-insured plan) and there is no cost to employees. The plan is currently managed by Managed Medical Review Organization (MMRO), a third party vendor hired by the State.
15) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Can an employee who would not qualify for STD-IP plan apply for SSL instead?
Employees are not eligible for supplemental sick leave until and unless they have qualified for and have exhausted STD-IP plan.
16) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Do I have to exhaust my leave before qualifying for STD-IP?
There is a 30 calendar day waiting period before STD-IP benefits begin. This means that an employee who has any sick time on the books must use it before qualifying for the plan.
For example, an employee who has 20-22 days of sick leave (which equates to 30 calendar days minus weekends), would be required to use all 20-22 days.
An employee who has less than 20-22 days of sick leave accrued can use other types of leave to supplement the remainder of the waiting period. Note that the use of other types of leave is not required, however, if an employee chooses not to use their other leave, the employee is not in paid status.
An employee who has more than 20-22 days of sick leave accrued would be required to use all of their sick leave before qualifying for the plan.
17) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Are probationary employees eligible for STD-IP?
Yes, probationary employees are eligible.
18) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Who pays for my medical insurance and retirement while I’m on STD-IP?
The employee remains responsible for their current contributions ($20, $40, $60) which will continue through payroll deductions.
19) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
Does the 30-day waiting period count towards my 26 week benefit?
No. Day one starts after the 30-day wait or when sick leave is exhausted, whichever is later.
20) Article 11.8 – Short-Term Disability-Income Protection Plan/Supplemental Sick Leave
If I have any leave accrued, do I have to use it before moving from STD-IP to SSL?
Yes, all leave must be exhausted.
21) Article 19.2.2 – Wages
When am I eligible for a step increase to step 7 or step 8?
Any employee who has more than 2 years at step 7 or will have 2 years by January 1, 2019 will be moved to step 8 effective the first pay period following January 1, 2019.
Any employee who has more than 3 years at step 8 or will have 3 years by January 1, 2019 will be moved to step 9 effective the first pay period following January 1, 2019.
Note that anniversary dates are not affected.
If an employee is not eligible to move to step 8 or 9 by January 1, 2019, their step increase will occur on their anniversary date after fulfilling the waiting periods already in effect.
22) Article 19.2.4 and 19.2.5 – Wages
When are the percentage raises effective?
There will be a 1.5% wage increase effective the first pay period following the execution of the contract.
There will be a second 1.5% wage increase effective the first pay period following January 1, 2019.
23) Article 19.6 – Footwear
What is the difference between over the life of the contract and per fiscal biennium?
The new language guarantees reimbursement up to $200 every two years, even if we are in evergreen status.
24) Article 19.8 – Health Promotion Eligible for $300 in 2018 and $300 in 2019 before July 1.
When will I be able to earn Health Promotion rewards?
As soon as Anthem reactivates the benefit, employees will be able to begin earning their 3, $100 gift cards through the end of 2018. Between January 1 and June 30, 2019, employees will be able to earn another $300 through this program.
25) Article 19.8.2 – Health Insurance
Are there any changes to my health insurance?
No, there are no changes to any part of the current health insurance plan which includes medical and dental coverage.
Last night, the SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s Collective Bargaining Senate, comprised of members from the Executive Branch, voted to send the tentative agreement to its members for a vote.
“We’re pleased that members will get a chance to ratify this tentative agreement if they see fit, said SEA President Rich Gulla. “Last night’s meeting is a remarkable demonstration of the democratic process working as it should. We look forward to taking this to our membership in coming weeks for them to make the final decision.”
Last night also marked the 300th-day state employees had been without a contract.
Concord, NH — SEA/SEIU Local 1984 celebrates a significant win today as the NH Supreme Court ruled in favor of adjunct faculties’ right to collectively bargain the wage for tutoring services as part of their collective bargaining agreement with the Community College System of New Hampshire’s decision (CCSNH). Additionally, the Court found that the adjunct faculty member who lost tutoring income resulting from his participation in collective bargaining negotiations must be compensated.
Rick Watrous, the adjunct faculty member who was directly impacted by CCSNH’s decision to withhold wages during collective bargaining, welcomed the decision.
“I hope this ruling encourages CCSNH to treat its adjunct faculty more fairly,” said Rick Watrous. “I tutored in the writing center for seven years and can attest to the fact that my colleagues and I dedicated countless tutoring hours to our students. It means a great deal to me that the community system will now recognize tutoring wages as part of collective bargaining and that others will no longer be excluded from being compensated for participating in the bargaining process the way I was.”
“It still amazes me and saddens me that CCSNH spent a great deal of money fighting this case all the way to the NH Supreme Court to avoid paying me $88. That money could have been better spent on CCSNH’s workers and students.”
The NH Supreme Court overturned the PELRB’s initial ruling and cited a previous court case Appeal of Berlin Education Association as a basis for their decision. The case has been remanded to the PELRB so that it may conduct proceedings consistent with the Court’s opinion.
“The Court rightly found that CCSNH failed to bargain in good faith and failed to uphold established case law. This win is for the adjunct faculty and we celebrate their victory,” said SEA President Richard Gulla.
I went to our second Unplugged family game night and it was a blast.
People always say things like how do I get my kids off the iPad and electronics long enough to play board games, or how do I fit a family game night in and still have company over – this is it.
First the company …
I was in a room with a great group of people playing some fun board games. We started the night with a trivia battle, pitting kids against parents. The questions were supposed to be easy for the kids and harder for the parents and visa versa for the parents to the kids – we all managed to answer most of the kids’ questions but had a difficult time on the parents’ questions.
While this was going on we had a game of Life going on at another table. After the game of Life, they decided to take a trip to Narnia while we finished up our game and we had a good time just sharing.
We decided then to play another game of trivia called The Logo Board Game, and this time the competition was more intense with six players competing to guess questions about logos and jingles.
The game night is a great chance to play and learn new games. Have you ever gone to a store, seen a game and said: “I’d like to know how fun that game is before I buy it”? Well, this is a chance to find out. We have lots of games and fun people to share them with.
I’m hoping to introduce a domino game called Railroad to the group one night – my mom shared the game me when she was visiting from Florida.
In addition to the games, there was a great spread of food (including pizza) to share. May 18th at 5pm is our next Unplugged game night. Join us! You need to bring nothing but you will leave with something: A great night of friendship with other people, but I warn you it could become a habit-forming great night of gaming.
Today we signed a tentative agreement with the state. We look forward to presenting you with a detailed outline of the agreement and reviewing our negotiations to date with the state at our Bargaining Senate meeting this Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.
As you weigh the merits of the agreement, it is our job to provide you with the information to make an informed decision. We understand that you may have many questions, and we encourage you to share those with us for discussion on Thursday.
Below are some highlights from the Tentative Agreement:
Total of 3% cost of living increases
The first increase of 1.5% is effective once a final contract has been signed
The second increase of 1.5 is effective the first pay period following January 1, 2019
An additional step in the matrix has been added, effective first pay period following Jan. 1, 2019
Employees will be eligible to move to this 9th step after 3 years at the 8th step
Employees will be eligible for the 8th step after two years at the 7th step (change from the current 3 years at 7th step)
An additional floating holiday has been added to make a total of three floating holidays.
Accrual of Bonus leave will be eliminated effective after this fiscal year.
Boot reimbursement is reinstated, per fiscal biennium (eliminates the “sunset” status of the article and protects the reimbursement in the event we are in evergreen with the CBA.)
The supplemental sick leave plan is modified in this tentative agreement and will be effective after January 1, 2019. It creates a hybrid system using a short-term disability plan combined with supplemental sick leave. For a brief overview of the hybrid plan with more discussion to follow at the bargaining senate, please click here.
Media reports that a tentative agreement had been signed yesterday were premature, and we urge all members to attend the Bargaining Senate meeting at the Grappone Center this Thursday at 7 p.m. We remind members that voting is limited to those in the Bargaining Senate, however if a Bargaining Senate member wishes to designate a proxy, he/she must notify Kristen Cocuzzo at email@example.com, as soon as possible.
In partnership with NH clergy and faith leaders, SEA/ SEIU Local 1984 held a rally at the lobby of the NH Legislative Office Building (LOB) on Wednesday, April 4th in recognition of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s significant legacy of championing workers’ rights and to call for a fair state employees’ contract. Rev. Gail Kinney, who worked tirelessly to make the event possible, ushered the group of about 50 attendees to march from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to the LOB. In unison, President Richard Gulla and Rev. Eric Jackson led the demonstrators into the LOB symbolizing the historic relationship between faith and labor groups.
Speakers included Rev. Gail Kinney, Rev. Eric Jackson, Professor Annelise Orleck and President Richard Gulla. John Corrigan led the crowd in singing Solidarity Forever.
President Gulla spoke to the crowd and said “Today we reflect on the life of an extraordinary leader who led by example like all great leaders do. Dr. King’s last moments were dedicated to supporting city sanitation employees in Memphis who were striking. They were striking for better working conditions and decent pay.”
A letter signed by faith leaders and those of moral consciousness was presented to the governor’s office urging him to negotiate a fair contract with state employees.
“We draw on their grit. They never gave up and ultimately won,” continued Gulla. “We too aren’t giving up on getting a fair state contract for NH state employees. We’re not going to allow Governor Sununu to forget about the thousands of workers who keep our state running. “
The LOB gathering was preceded by a 90-minute gathering at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Concord that underscored the relationship between faith and labor in NH coming together to carry on the legacy of Dr. King. Dartmouth History Professor Annelise Orleck, a prolific writer on worker rights and human rights and author of, We Are All Fast-Food Workers, Now — The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages, was the keynote speaker of the church event.
Your help is needed in preparation for the next round of Executive Branch bargaining. It may sound odd, with the previous bargaining cycle not yet wrapped up, but the Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee has already started its work.
The CBAC advises, assists and gathers information in the collective bargaining process. While the CBAC is not exclusive to Executive Branch members, it is currently focused on the next round of Executive Branch bargaining. The first step the CBAC will take is to begin designing a bargaining survey that will be sent to members. That survey helps the CBAC, and eventually the Master Bargaining Team, to determine areas of focus in preparation for bargaining.
The team meets the first Monday of each month at 5 p.m. at the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 office, and all are invited to join. If you’re interested, you can send an email to Randy Hunneyman at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we’re to deliver a strong contract, we need more voices involved. We hope yours is one of them.
Congratulations to the team from the Department of Health and Human Services, led by Matt Cahillane, which won the state agency team competition at the 25th SEA 5K Road Race, held last weekend in Concord.
The DHHS squad outpaced the team from the Judicial Branch and the perennially tough team from the Department of Environmental Services. Dan Hrobak of DES was the fastest finisher among SEA members, finishing first in his age group and ninth overall. Overall, 230 runners and walkers competed in the 5K, which is part of the Capitol Area Race Series. You can see full race results here.
The race benefits the SEAâs Operation Santa Claus, which provides gifts for thousands of children at the holidays. Thank you to all the runners, walkers and volunteers who took part, and congratulations again to the speedy team from DHHS.