The Janus case and what it means to us

So-called right to work case goes before the Supreme Court

Update (June 25): As the Supreme Court term comes to a close, we’re still waiting on an opinion in the Janus case. The post below gives some background on the case and how it will impact working people. 

On February 26th, the US Supreme Court heard oral 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

  • Decreased wages

  • 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.

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Press release: The State of State Employees

For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Media Contact
Melissa Moriarty
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.

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The legislative session is in full swing, and we have numerous bills up for consideration by the Legislature. You can easily take action on these bills as they come up using our new online action forms.

To use our forms, you’ll need to enter some basic information, then you’ll be able to customize a message to be sent to legislators we’re targeting. When filling out your information, please use your home email address: we should not be using work email addresses to lobby lawmakers on bills.

You can find regularly updated online action forms on this page.

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Chapter 70 wins contract campaign

Members of Chapter 70, joined by field representative Neil Smith, held a visibility event outside Hampton's deliberative session on Feb. 3 in support of their contract (warrant No. 12 on the Town Meeting Day ballot).

Members of Chapter 70, joined by field representative Neil Smith, held a visibility event outside Hampton’s deliberative session on Feb. 3 in support of their contract (warrant No. 12 on the Town Meeting Day ballot).

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.

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Who’s in the Collective Bargaining Senate?

As spelled out in the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors Policy, the following are members of the Collective Bargaining Senate:

  • state unit Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee members
  • state unit Chapter Presidents
  • state unit Stewards
  • state Master Bargaining Team members
  • SEA Board of Directors
  • the chairperson of each state sub-unit bargaining team
  • state unit Chapter Councilors
  • staff as ex officio members.

You can find the most recent Board Policy Manual here.

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Thank you to our member organizers

In 2017, we saw our union continue to grow and new members take the lead in all parts of the organization. One of the parts we’re proudest of seeing members take the lead is in bringing new members into the organization. We want to thank the 67 current members who recruited new members in 2017:

Erika Anderson

Denise Bergeron

Anna Biron

Garrett Boes

Robert Bowen

Daniel Brennan

James Brown

Edward Bugbee

Evelynn Camaione

Michael Cheever

Marcia Chin

Jennifer Chislett

Kathleen Cintavey

Carrie Corneau

Daniel Coughlin

Avis Crane

Darlene Davis

Richard de Seve

Melissa Delorey

Carole Dennis

Michael Derderian

Joel Dinsmoor

Tamara Feener

Eric Ferren

Mary Fields

Denise Froton

James Gardiner

Norman Girouard

Ray Gordon III

Natch Greyes

Jonathan Hebert

Paula Hennessey

Philip Inwood

Amanda Johnson

Traci Knieriemen

Eli Krause

Kearston Laferte

Joshua Landry

Linda Lassonde

Terry Locke Jr

Germano Martins

Kathleen Mayo

Burrett McBee

Leah McKenna

Kevin McMahon

Denise Michaud

John Morin

Jessica Morton

Tammy Nagle

James Nall

Jeremy Nicol

Joseph Pelchat

Sylvie Pratte

Catherine Raymond

Jason Rella

Ken Roos

Ann Saltmarsh

Andrew Seibert

Elmer Sevier Jr

Shelley Sheehan

Patrick Shultz

Alan Soucy

Joy Tardif

Katrina Taylor

Cheryl Towne

Melissa Valyou

Frank Wike

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Welcome new members from December

We know there is strength in numbers, so it’s important that as a union, we continue to grow. Last month, 161 members joined our union. We welcome them and look forward to their involvement.

Here are all of our new members from the month of December:

Usha Chhetri

Juanita Jackson

Robert Sweeney

Mai Courtemanche

Jeff Atwood

Charles Hendrickson

Kearstin Day

Kyle Dow

Patricia Colby

Monique Sherburne

Olivia Bell

Jonathan Saucier

Jessica Goulart

William Moir

Bruce Lavoy

Robert Fratus

Ellen-Marie Wilson

Lukas Thurston

Adam Smith

Rusty Gagne

Connor McCallum

Paul Gourdreau

Donald Adams

Ryan Ferguson

Bruce Owen

Sonya Dupuis

Jessica Leonard

Cody Mock

Allyson Clary

Mary Bauchiero

Patrick Hannigan

Tyler Manville

Jonathan McNamara

Timothy Ford

Christine McClure

James Watson

Caitlyn MacKenzie

Trisha Donadio

Debra Yurcak

Monique Michaud

Karley Colbert

Jennifer Noel

Christopher Marino

Janice-Ann Sinclair

Kelly Lacasse

Charles O’Leary

Denise Robarge

Donovan Burleigh

Peter Boulton

Liam Hurley

Benjamin Eosue

Kerry Giglio

Carl Harris Jr

William Robson

Dana Jennings

Karrie Finemore

Michael Devoe

Frederick Aumann

Jedediah Jackson

Brenda Leonard

Glenn Martin

Dean Fancy

Jocelyn Pike

David Newton

Brenda Merrill

Susan Lambert

Joshua Pellegrino

Mary Holladay

Robert Walsh Jr

JoAnne Murphy

Matthew Willmer

Alan Gaspardino

Ashley Weeks

Ashley Weeks

Barbara Welch

Richard Burbank

Kimberly Camire

Christopher Black

Peter McClure

Robin Heiser

Brianna Proulx

Heather Young

Tyler Spainhower

John Coombs

Cynthia Riley

Adam Schickling

Diego Ramirez

Linda Doucett

Caitlin Scanlon

Emilly Eckert

Diane Grenier

Staci Van Curen

Taylor Zukowski

Korrinne Nickless

Jessica Lessard

Caleb Thompson

Stacey Summers

Courtney Styles

James Peters

Jessica Olen

Jayson Bowes

Leighton Thompson

Vicki Lynn Simonds

Thomas Atwell

Cynthia Stokes

Lisa McInnis

Peter Rowe

Krystal Ordway

Ashley Miller

Annika O’Rourke

Cornelia McCarthy

Patrick Barclay

Thomas Kelly

Michael Anifant

Collin Dagostino

Catherine Herbert

Theodore Guinard

Shawn Looney

Alexandra Stone

Catherine Garland

Nicole Cravedi

Cameron Fazekas

Charis Goujon

Katherine Mercauto

Daniel Bisson

Emily Mazzoni

Larissa Patnode

Danielle Palmer

Savannah Robert

Joshua Staten

Adam Teger

Gabrielle Lahue

Daniel Uribe

Bob Therrien

Danielle Bilodeau

Madden Healy

John Byrne

Kathleen Basanta

Juliet Lord

Dustin Dilger

Brandon Scarborough

Adam Hunneyman

Wayne Desrochers

Tricia Colby

Christian Lassor

Jonathan Byam

Robert Walker

Kimberly Porter

Raymond Waterhouse

John Arruda

Stephen Miller

Tracy Hanson

Paul Sampson

Matthew Wiggins

Justin Litchfield Dole

Joshua Rosselli

Stacy Carter

Gloria Mazzaglia

Catherine Hoffman

Heather Dubriske

Stephen Vitale

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Members — we want you to work with us

We’re seeking candidates for member release program

The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Organization Committee is excited to announce we are seeking candidates for our member release program! We have secured funding from SEIU for release of a member from work for a period of 12 months at the SEA office. The member release position will participate in our internal organizing program to build power and capacity in our union.

Detailed information can be found in the Guiding Principles on our website. Here are a few of the basics:

Who? Any SEA member can apply. Simply go to our website, review the program guidelines and complete an application. Chapter leaders are encouraged to nominate a candidate using the nomination form.

What is the pay rate? The pay rate is $49,147.76 annually. This is a professional, exempt position.

What are the work hours? Hours will vary but will not exceed 40 hours a week. Some nights and weekends will be required. Schedule will be flexible and allowances for adjusting hours will be made.

How does the release work? Depending on the language in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, there may be a release clause. For example, the State of NH Executive Branch allows for release of an employee for two years. Pay and benefits continue to be paid by the employer, reimbursed by the union. The exceptions are leave accrual and retirement payments (which stop upon release.) Note: Individual circumstances will be reviewed and clearly communicated for those interested in applying.

What is the selection process? The recruitment period will be open from January 10 through January 24. Members may self-nominate or be nominated by a chapter leader. In either case, a completed application form must be submitted. The Organization Committee will establish a selection committee to review each application and check on all contractual issues with the applicant’s employer, and conduct interviews. One or more names will be submitted to the SEA president for final approval.

When will this happen? The recruitment process is open through January 24, 2018.  A final selection will be made by February 5. The selected candidate will start once all necessary arrangements have been made with their employer.

Please feel free to nominate members you believe would make excellent candidates.

Contact John Thyng at with any questions.

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Talking points on HB 438

Members of the NH House pulled HB 438 from the consent calendar for an individual vote. HB 438 prohibits all public employers from deducting union dues from paychecks. It received a 19-0 vote in Labor committee as Inexpedient to Legislate and was included in the consent calendar for a routine vote to confirm the committee vote.

This bill creates no jobs and solves no challenges facing the state. Its one purpose is to weaken unions by reducing the dues we are able to collect. Fewer dues equals fewer resources dedicated to gaining and protecting wages and benefits for hard-working public servants. In states where such laws have passed, unions have lost power at the bargaining table and public employers have slashed benefits.

We need members to call their representatives to ask them to reject this bill. Here are some talking points to help get the conversation started:

  • HB 438 is government intrusion into a contractual relationship between employers and employees. This is a clear attack on democratic freedoms and constitutional rights that every New Hampshire legislator should oppose.
  • Payroll deductions are not forced on employees and employers. This is a subject of bargaining and is always negotiated between the employer and members. NH law allows an employee to provide written authorization to his or her employer to voluntarily deduct union dues from the paycheck.
  • HB 438 has no public policy benefit. The bill creates no jobs, solves no challenge facing the state and serves only to hurt public sector employees and unions representing them. This is nothing more than a political attack by majority leadership and a clear infringement of personal liberty of law-abiding citizens of the Granite State.
  • The bill creates no new rights or freedoms for union members to control their paychecks. Union members already have numerous rights regarding how their money is spent, whether or not to join a union, the election of union leaders and the setting of dues amount.
  • The bill singles out public sector union members.  All other payroll deductions for insurance companies, charities and credit unions are allowed. The bill solely targets union members and their employers who have bargained the use of payroll deduction to pay for voluntary membership dues.
  • The bill will not save money. Payroll deductions for union dues impose no costs on the general public beyond the costs of the existing payroll systems. It is all automated and the system already makes deductions for health insurance, taxes, pension plans and other programs for which employees provide written authorization.
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Contact your representative on HB 438 today

Members of the House have pulled HB 438 — the “paycheck deception bill” — from the consent calendar, meaning it will get an individual vote. That vote could happen as soon as Jan. 4 or 11. HB 438 prohibits public employees from having union dues deducted from their paycheck, a direct attack on public employees and the unions they’ve built.

This bill came out of committee with a vote of 19-0 ITL (inexpedient to legislate) and it should be an easy decision for representatives voting on it. This bill is nothing but a blatant attack on public employees: it solves no real problems, creates no jobs and brings in no new revenue.

It’s union-busting, plain and simple.

We need you to contact your representative immediately — preferably with a phone call, as they tend to be more effective. You can find contact information for your representatives here.

You can find talking points on HB 438 here.

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