Convention

Convention 2014: Amendments and Resolutions

Director John Amrol presented two amendments and one resolution to convention delegates.

Director John Amrol presented two amendments and one resolution to convention delegates.

On Sunday, convention delegates considered two proposed constitutional amendments and one resolution.

Amendment 1

Amendment 2

Resolution

After brief discussion, members ultimately adopted Amendment 1 and the Resolution, while rejecting Amendment 2.

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Convention 2014: Candidate Nominations and Winners

Nominations for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Officers and Directors opened promptly at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

There were no nominees for Director for Private Sector.

The next nominations were for Director (three year term).

Germano Martins, Chapter 45 nominated Judith Brideau, Chapter 20 for Director (three year term).

John Hattan, Chapter 45 nominated Cindy Perkins, Chapter 19 for Director (three year term).

Peg Smith, Chapter 17 nominated Jim Nall, Chapter 9 for Director (three year term).

Linda Huard, Chapter 19 nominated Marie Elaina Guthro, Chapter 19 for Director (three year term).

The next nominations were for Secretary.  Tammy Clark, Chapter 45 nominated Shelley Elmes, Chapter 4. There were no other nominations for the position. Shelley Elmes was elected by acclamation.

The next nominations were for the position of Treasurer.  John Amrol, Chapter 1 nominated Ralph Tilton, Chapter 44.  There were no other nominations for the position.  Ralph Tilton was elected by acclamation.

The next nominations were for the position of Second Vice President. Cheryl Towne, Chapter 9 nominated Tammy Clark, Chapter 45.  There were no other nominations for the position. Tammy Clark was elected by acclamation.

The next nominations were for the position of First Vice President.  Kristen Marabella, Chapter 16 nominated Ken Roos, Chapter 16.

Betty Thomas, Chapter 37 nominated Peter Brunette, Chapter 41.

The next nominations were for the position of President.  Kevin Myars, Chapter 37 nominated Diana Lacey, Chapter 45.  Jim Nall, Chapter 9 seconded the nomination.

John Amrol, Chapter 1 nominated Rich Gulla, Chapter 17. Cindy Sanborn-Dubey, Chapter 41 seconded the nomination.

Following the close of nomination, each candidate was given the opportunity to addresss the delegation.

The polls were open between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Sunday, October 6.  The results of the election follow:

Director 3 yr term – elected Jim Nall, Cindy Perkins, Judith Brideau

Secretary – elected by acclamation, Shelley Elmes

Treasurer – elected by acclamation, Ralph Tilton

Second Vice President – elected by acclamation, Tammy Clark

First Vice President – elected, Ken Roos

President – elected, Rich Gulla

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Convention 2014: Guests Get Members Fired Up

The convention was packed with appearances and presentations from many of New Hampshire’s most esteemed legislators – all of whom expressed their gratitude to SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members and all public employees for their outstanding and often unappreciated efforts in delivering critical services to NH residents and visitors.

A Visit from Carol Shea-Porter

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter

Joan Hamblet, Chapter 41, introduced U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter to the delegates and guests at the 2014 Annual Convention.

Shea-Porter, who is fighting to defend her seat from challenger, Frank Guinta, said “I am honored to be the voice of the middle class, the rest of us.”  She said that despite signs of economic recovery it is “still a bad deal for the middle class – we need to work on fairness.”

“People complain that so many people are collecting benefits,” she said. “But, they won’t increase the minimum wage.  You can’t have it both ways.” She also spoke of a social contract in America that is being ignored by the uber rich – “when you succeed, you reach behind you and bring the group behind you forward.”

Former Governor and Current Senator Jeanne Shaheen Stopped By

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Diana Richard introduced an old friend to the delegates and guests – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

The senator asked the delegates to focus on politics over the coming weeks.  She quipped that when she thinks about the labor movement and unions, she always goes back to “the folks who brought you the weekend.”

“Doesn’t that just say it all?” she asked.

She then spoke of her concerns of slipping backward in time if her opponent, Scott Brown or gubernatorial challenger, Walt Havenstein are elected.  She vowed “I will always fight to protect your ability to collectively bargain.”

Shaheen also presented some statistics that came as a surprise to many in the room.  First, she said that childcare is now a family’s second largest expense after the mortgage or rent payment. “This needs to be addressed,” she said.  She also informed the audience that New Hampshire has lost the highest number of jobs to China than any other state in the union. This is a trend that needs correcting.  However, if her opponent is elected, she is sure this will continue to be the case, alluding to Brown’s massive special interest groups and corporate support. “New Hampshire is not Scott Brown’s concession prize,” she said alluding to Brown’s loss in Massachusetts and recent move to New Hampshire politics.

The audience rose, giving Senator Shaheen a standing ovation.

Commissioners George Copadis and Chris Clement Share their Thoughts

NHES Commissioner George Copadis addresses delegates.

NHES Commissioner George Copadis addresses delegates.

Sunday’s program was brightened by two NH department commissioners joining the delegates and sharing their appreciation and gratitude for all that the state employees do.

Commissioner Copadis shared that he hopes the private sector learned something from the recent Market Basket situation – that the workers were willing to put everything on the line for the leader who had treated them fairly and well.  As a result of the month long “strike of sorts,” over 1,500 Market Basket employees filed for unemployment benefits. Copadis complimented the employees at NH Employment Security who took care of those claims.

He also shared that in 2013, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate was lower than 18 Right to Work States and that the highest poverty rates in the nation are in Right to Work states.

He had worked hard on legislation last session that did not pass. It was HB 1499 that was meant to increase benefits for the unemployed. There has not been an increase in 12 years. The Commissioner asked for support for this legislation as it is planned to be reintroduced this session.

Commissioner Clement also shared his gratitude to the employees at the NH Dept. of Transportation citing instance after instance of their herculean efforts to keep the transportation infrastructure up and running on a very limited budget.

Last year, the gas excise tax was increased for the first time in over twenty years. However, the funds were restricted to go to capital expenditures, such as completing the Interstate 93 expansion.  No funds will be going to the operations of the department, which if not addressed will certainly result in the reduction of staff (layoffs) and ultimately sacrifice the quality of our roads and bridges.

Commissioner Clement will be advocating for additional funds to go to the operating budget of his department, which will likely be an uphill battle in view of last year’s tax increase.  Members pledged to assist the Commissioner in his crusade.

U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster called on the delegates on Sunday morning, as did our beloved NH Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.  They each spoke respectfully of the work that is produced by public employees ad expressed their loyalty and appreciation.

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Convention 2014: Governor Helps Get Things Underway

Gov. Maggie Hassan

Gov. Maggie Hassan

Diana Lacey, President, pounded the gavel to open the 74th Annual SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Convention promptly at 9 a.m. last Saturday.  Second Vice President Betty Thomas led the delegates and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a moment of silence to remember our fellow members who had passed away over the previous year.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas introduced Gov. Maggie Hassan as getting New Hampshire on the right track after the disastrous agenda of Bill O’Brien and company. He said that public workers now have an ally and friend in the corner office.

The governor commended all public employees “for working day in and day out for people you don’t even know.”  She also said she was pleased and honored to have proclaimed Oct. 1 as State Employee Appreciation Day, but people should appreciate public employees every day of the year.

Early on in her remarks, she addressed her vetoes of two bills that were important to SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members. When discussing HB 591, she acknowledged that workplace bullying is a real issue in state government that needs to be addressed.  She reiterated that there were elements in the language of HB 591 with which she did not agree. However, she promised to work with us on any proposed legislation going forward to effectively address this issue.

Regarding SB 391, she referred to the Executive Order she issued last week that calls for the creation of a commission to review and advise on services to the at risk adolescents at Sununu Youth Services Center.

Gov. Hassan also thanked the many hard-working employees who helped enroll thousands of New Hampshire citizens who were newly eligible for Medicaid.  The newly enrolled are now receiving coverage for healthcare.  She mentioned this as one of the major accomplishments of her administration and mentioned those from the extreme right who remain focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act instead of focusing on the thousands of people who have been helped by its adoption.

The governor also stated she will always stand with us on the Right to Work issue and concluded by saying, “You make me proud every day.  I am grateful for everything you do. I have the utmost respect for your public service.”  Delegates and guests provided the Governor with a standing ovation.

Following her remarks, Governor Hassan called Richard “Dick” Molan to the front of the room. She then read a commendation she had prepared honoring Dick for his 40 years of service dedicated to NH labor issues.

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Convention 2014: Photo gallery

Members of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 gathered Oct. 4 and 5 at the Radisson in Manchester for the 2014 Convention. Guest speakers included Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, Gov. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Reps. Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.

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Don’t Miss Convention 2014

Save the dates Saturday, October 4 and 5, 2014 to attend the annual SEA/SEIU Local 1984 convention.Raddison Manchester

This year the event is taking place in the Queen City, Manchester, at the Radisson, 700 Elm Street. And the theme is quite fitting, as we are well in this new century – “Organizing for the Future.”

You will find  registrations forms here.  Hurry and register – the deadline is coming up.

We look forward to seeing you at this yearly meeting where our union makes its most important governing decisions through a democratic and transparent process.  Plus, we have a whole lot of fun!!

All delegates are encouraged to attend, stay the night, contribute to the decisions made, and have a ball!

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Recap of Convention 2013

Convention Pano

The 73rd Annual Convention of the State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire, SEIU Local 1984, was held Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Executive Court in Manchester. The day was jam-packed full, from the illustrious guest speakers at the beginning of the day right up until the awards were presented at the end of the day.

Rather than try to fit that all in one giant story, we’ve broken up our convention recap into eight stories:

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Delegates Approve Amendment, Two Resolutions

The SEA, SEIU 1984 Convention which occurs each fall, is the highest governing body of the organization.  It is there that the work conducted by the Constitution and By-laws Committee and the Resolutions Committee in preparation for each convention is considered for vote.  This year the members of the Convention considered, discussed and voted on one Constitutional Amendment and two Resolutions.  All three were passed.

The first item, C#1, had to do with the election of officers. It called for amending Article VII of the Constitution, which stated that the Association’s election of officers must take place in even- numbered years.  It was noted this event competed with biennial political elections, causing conflict for many members – leaving them to choose between attending Convention or engaging in political activism.  The Committee recommended this amendment ought to pass. Following discussion, the Convention voted to amend the Constitution to read as follows:

(b) (i) On the first day of the 2014 Annual Convention, nominations shall be made from the floor for a President of the Association, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer who shall serve three (3) year terms.

(ii) Commencing with 2017, oOn the first day of the Annual Convention in even-numbered odd-numbered years, nominations shall be made from the floor for a President of the Association, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer who shall serve two (2) year terms.

You can read the full amendment here.

The first of the two resolutions, R#1,  had to do with discussing and researching the possibility of rejoining the NH AFL – CIO and to bring findings derived from that study and recommendations to the March 2013 Council meeting. The Resolutions Committee voted this item ought to pass. After lengthy discussion this resolution was accepted by the Convention. You can read the full resolution here.

The second of the resolutions, R#2, actually resulted from the first. While reviewing the Constitution in consideration of rejoining the NH AFL0CIO, the committee discovered possible areas of the Constitution that may conflict with current day-to-day operating policy (the Board Policy). The resolution calls for instructing the Constitution and Bylaws committee to review the Board of Directors Policy in conjunction with the Constitution over the coming year; then making recommendations for changes in the Board of Director’s Policy and/or the Constitution no later than the next Annual Convention.  The Committee recommended this resolution ought to pass. The resolution was adopted.

You can read Resolution #2 in its entirety here.

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President’s Report Reflects Optimism

Each year at convention, the SEA President provides the delegates with a report of the activities, achievements, and challenges of the past year.  This year, President Lacey’s report had overtones of optimism as she compared the previous years of relentless attacks by radical legislators bent on blaming public workers for all the woes of the time; with a much better place today.

“Last year I stood with you at convention and I asked you and the rest of our union family to give of yourselves, your time and your energy,” she said.  “I asked you to share your voice, to make your needs heard; and predicted that together, we could make a difference.  And so we did!”

She went on to tell of legislators from both sides of the aisle, since the 2012 elections, working together more and being more respectful of public employees’ opinions and contributions.  “When we speak, they are listening to us.  And although we won’t always agree, the hatefulness we were living with has been replaced with interest and a desire to understand different perspectives.”

Among the achievements and highlights of the last year, she reported:

  • A bill to privatize state corrections was killed and instead a capital expenditure to build a new, state run women’s prison was approved. This saved hundreds of good jobs held by SEA members; and it was evidence that lawmakers had returned to a committed approach to sound, reasonable and just corrections reforms.
  • Governor, Maggie Hassan, has advanced several of the priorities we adopted in our Granite Strong electoral vision.  She led lawmakers away from their strong opposition to health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, and their numerous attempts to block NH’s participation, to a new direction.  This included an almost late-to-the-finish line state/federal exchange, and hopefully very soon, adoption of Medicaid Expansion.
  • Two strong attempts to address our state’s revenue issue – a bill to expand gaming, and a bill to increase the gas tax to pay for our crumbling roads and bridges. Both of these bills failed; however, both were close enough to success that they will be considered again this session.
  • After two long years, the Community College System Adjuncts won their first contract, and the Plymouth State University Adjuncts aren’t far behind.
  • Many of the county and municipal units are getting new contracts and we are seeing the return of multi-year contracts (reflective of an employer that is seeing more stability on the horizon). Some contracts have been rejected by the last remaining pockets of extreme anti-worker lawmakers, but the public was on the members’ side this time around.
  • A new group, the Rochester Municipal Employees Association, recently joined our local.  It is an established bargaining unit that chose to affiliate with us after researching the local and seeing a lot in common with our large union family.

Lacey added that things are not all perfect. “Income growth has not risen as fast as we would like it to.  Retirees haven’t had a cost of living adjustment in a few years yet their costs increase,” she said.  “We will continue to work on pension and retiree health care issues because it is clear that our seniors need a financial boost in a very big way.”

In closing her report, President Lacey said, “I must take a moment to share with you my appreciation for your support and hard work in getting us all through the recession.  It has been five long years but things are finally starting to turn around.  We have done a tremendous amount of work to keep us all together and driving toward a better future at the same time we had to tread water in the recession.”

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SEA Announces Awards at Annual Convention

Many things happen each year at the annual Convention, but perhaps one of the most exciting events is the announcement of several awards for individual members and chapters who have made significant contributions to the SEA and its mission.  This year was no different and we’d like to share the winners with you.

The first award announced was the John B. Parker Award. This is considered SEA’s highest award and it recognizes the organization’s outstanding member. Betty Thomas, 2nd Vice President, announced Jonathan Hebert, Chapter 3, as this year’s recipient.  When Jonathan is not busy with his job as an engineer at DOT, he is doing one thing or another for SEA with passion and drive. Since joining the organization in 1996, Jonathan has been a jack of all trades; serving as a union steward, chapter president and a member of the Executive Branch Master Bargaining Senate. “I was completely surprised by it,” he said humbly. “I thought afterward I should have said this and I should have said that. I was just so happy to be recognized.” As well he should be for his former and continuing commitment to his union. Congratulations, Jonathan.

Ken Roos, 1st Vice President presented the Ray Proulx Award. This award is presented to a member who has shown extraordinary commitment and involvement in political activism. This year’s recipient is John Hattan, chapter 45. John, who became an SEA member in 1990, has served on the SEA Political Education Committee for over a decade.  He has participated at many levels including phone banking, leafleting, attending hearings, and even performing in a street performance as one of the Marx brothers in a political skit in front of the State House. No matter what the task, John has been game to get the work done to elect legislators who share his commitment to a just and fair economy and a government that is supportive of working families.  Congratulations, John.

The Charlie Stevens award is presented to the outstanding Chapter President of the Year.  President Diana Lacey presented this award to Tammy Clark, Chapter 45.  Tammy became chapter president this spring and hit the ground running on a mission – to increase chapter member involvement.  The chapter’s vast geographic span and large number of members creates challenges – all of which Tammy is addressing. Tammy has improved communication within the chapter; and together with a team of chapter members, has taken on the goal of reaching 100% attendance at the 2014 SEA Convention.  Under Tammy’s leadership, the chapter passed a resolution to ask the Board of Directors to purchase and install a quality teleconferencing phone for the SEA office and video conferencing capabilities, in order to remove distance as a barrier for members to participate in chapter meetings.  Congratulations, Tammy.

The final award given was to the Chapter of the Year. President Lacey presented this award to Chapter 1.  Chapter 1 President, Peter Bartlett, accepted the award on behalf of the chapter.  When he accepted the award, Peter said “I didn’t know we were even eligible for this.” Chapter 1 is composed of SEA retirees and is the largest SEA Chapter.

This award was earned by not just one year of stellar involvement and participation, but by many, many consistent years of excellence. Their chapter meetings are routinely well organized and well attended. They provide a great example of how to effectively communicate with each other and they remain strong by acting in solidarity even when they do not all agree.  “Chapter 1has taught us how to do things and why it’s important to keep working together,” said President Lacey. “They have remembered what being in a union family means, they have lived it and they teach us still today how to live it.  With over 1,200 members, Chapter 1 has set the standard for member engagement, political engagement, good union debate, charitable giving in its more than 50 year history with the Operation Santa Claus program, and so much more.” Congratulations to all members of Chapter 1.

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