For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 15, 2018
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.
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.
As spelled out in the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors Policy, the following are members of the Collective Bargaining Senate:
You can find the most recent Board Policy Manual here.
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:
Richard de Seve
Ray Gordon III
Terry Locke Jr
Elmer Sevier Jr
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:
Carl Harris Jr
Robert Walsh Jr
Staci Van Curen
Vicki Lynn Simonds
Justin Litchfield Dole
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
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: