Late last month, a 12-member delegation from SEA/SEIU Local 1984 traveled to Detroit to take part in the SEIU Quadrennial Convention. The convention, which took place across five days, happens once every four years and brings together SEIU locals from all around the country.
For the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 delegation, each 12-14 hour day began with a breakfast meeting before the group members headed off to presentations and workshops on topics such as health care and the Fight for $15. Delegates voted on a series of resolutions as well as leaders for the International Executive Board. In that way, the convention sets in motion what the international union will focus on over the next four years. In addition to looking ahead, the convention also took a look back at some of the victories over the last four years.
“It was very enlightening to see and hear in action the things other unions have done,” said Kathleen Cintavey of Chapter 65. “That was a very motivating experience.”
One such victory that struck a chord with Cintavey is the Fight for $15, which aims to ensure that all workers earn a living wage.
“When you hear how (raising wages) has the potential to change people’s lives, I think that’s very important,” she said. “In our society, there are large groups of people who’ve lost hope all together. When you’re able to implement a $15 minimum wage, you’re giving hope to a lot of people.”
Cintavey said the days were long but the experience was well put together. She had high praise for the other members of the delegation.
“I felt a part of it all because our team of delegates was extremely welcoming to me,” she said. “I’ve never been to a convention like that, and they were very good at answering questions based on their previous experiences. It was a good opportunity for me to get to know the other people in the union, especially those who do quite a bit with the union.”
While the aim of the convention is to energize delegates and send them home with the tools and motivation to effect change, Cintavey said she found value in just talking with her fellow SEA/SEIU Local 1984 delegates.
“I do negotiations for my unit, and I was very happy to get to know Jim Nall,” Cintavey said. Nall is the chair of the Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee as well as the Master Bargaining Team. “He and I will be doing some work together.”
Lynn Ducasse, of Chapter 20, is another one of the new members who took part, and she agreed with Cintavey that the delegation helped make the experience more valuable.
“The group was fantastic, and I’m very glad I’m part of the union,” she said. “I felt like I could contribute. Everyone listened and wanted feedback, President Rich Gulla listened and everybody was able to contribute.”
Ducasse has been a member for just over two years and is increasingly involved in the union. She said she’s now motivated to do even more.
“There’s a lot that I’d like to get more into, and learn some more,” she said. “I’d like to continue to get more involved.”
The 2016 SEIU International Convention took place Friday, May 20 through Tuesday, May 24. The delegation included (in alphabetical order): Kathleen Cintavey (Chapter 65), Second Vice President Tammy Clark (Chapter 45), Corey Dearborn (Chapter 21), Lynn Ducasse (Chapter 20), President Rich Gulla (Chapter 54), Jonathan Hallet (Chapter 21), Secretary Kristen Marabella (Chapter 16), Director Jim Nall (Chapter 9), Director Cindy Perkins (Chapter 37), First Vice President Ken Roos (Chapter 16), Brenda Thomas (Chapter 20) and Director Cheryl Towne (Chapter 9).
Director and Chair of the Political Education Committee John Hattan introduced Sen. Bernie Sanders. It’s important to note that Sanders was there speaking as an invited guest. The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential primary.
Sanders told members that “you are the backbone of this country. Thank you for what you do.”He elaborated on the necessity of overturning the Supreme Court’s decision that has remade how political campaigns are run in this country – the Citizens United case. The decision basically means that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities – Super PACs. According to Senator Sanders the wealthy and connected Koch brothers have pumped $900 million into just this campaign cycle, which is far more than either of the national Democratic and Republican parties has been able to raise. “No president is able alone to address the issues because corporate America and Wall Street are so powerful,” he said.
We were also honored to have special guest SEIU President Mary Kay Henry with us this year. She addressed the delegates in an overview of the challenges workers and unions currently face. And, she commended the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 for being the first Local nationwide to form a working Fight for $15 committee. President Henry attended the convention from start to finish, and led the installation of our new Board members. You can see the installation here.
After President Henry’s remarks, attendees participated in an interactive exercise that focused on how to have recruitment conversations with non-members, which is something all SEIU locals will be engaging in over the coming months, including our local.
When various reports were given to the delegates and door prizes were distributed, the Convention closed for another year.
The Chapter of the Year was awarded to Chapter 52, Strafford County Corrections. Over the last year, they embodied the spirit of the labor movement by creating their own chapter and successfully putting together a Labor Management Committee.
Director Jim Nall presented the John B. Parker Award to this year’s outstanding member, Burrett McBee, chapter 30, Plymouth State lecturers. McBee serves on multiple volunteer committees, pushed organizing with his peers, works with the Fresh Air program and immigrants causes, and was deeply involved in securing the unit’s first collective bargaining agreement.
Director John Hattan presented the Ray Proulx Award, which is given to the political activist of the year, to the Fight for $15 Committee for their work over the last year. This was the first time this award was given to a committee rather than an individual. If you would like to know more about this committee you can read it here.
President Rich Gulla presented the Charles Stevens Award for chapter president of the year to Jennifer Hunt, president of Chapter 39, Judicial Branch. Gulla said, “This chapter president inspires others and has clearly not hesitated under difficult times; and advocates for her chapter’s members.”
Nominations for one Board Director from private sector, one Board Director for County and Municipalities, and three Directors opened. Each person nominating a candidate was allowed three minutes to present information about their candidate.
Nominated candidates were then allotted five minutes each to address the delegates. In lieu of a traditional candidate’s speech, incumbent Director Germano Martins launched into an impassioned address regarding the issue of the extremely wealthy and powerful stealing the money of working class Americans saying, “We are at a crossroads here – years ago I had all benefits – a little at a time, they took it back. The wealthy and powerful one percent owns everything. They don’t own that stuff, they stole it. Now we want it back.” This sentiment was voiced again later in the morning by guest speaker and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The outcomes of the elections were: Director Private Sector – Frank Wike-Clerk; Director County and Municipality – Terry Locke; Directors – Jeremy Dupuis, John Hattan and Germano Martins. One hundred thirteen delegates voted.
Included in the busy agenda was the presentation of three Resolutions. The first was to draft and bring forward legislation that calls for a Cost of Living Adjustment for all retirees who participate in the New Hampshire Retirement System. The resolution passed unanimously.
The second Resolution called for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 mileage reimbursement to be increased to 50% of the rate established by the US Internal Revenue Service, which is currently 57.5 cents per mile. This would increase the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 mileage reimbursement rate from 20 cents per mile to 28.75 cents per mile. The resolution was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration.
The third Resolution would have provided non-members with the right to be surveyed, included in any and all aspects of bargaining, and be able to vote on the proposed contract. The resolution failed.
There were also two Constitutional Amendments brought forward. The first established the addition of a SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors seat for a representative of the Community College System (CCSNH). This amendment passed.
The second amendment brought forward for consideration dealt with establishing an additional standing committee per the constitution. The proposed committee would be called the Elections Committee, which would be charged with reviewing all Federal, State, Local, and SEIU requirements for elections of any type within the association. Following discussion, this constitutional amendment failed.
At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 3, President Rich Gulla brought the SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s 75th Annual Convention to order.
After the opening Pledge of Allegiance, 2nd Vice President Tammy Clark asked for a moment of silence for the untimely passing of a young member, Christina Ricci, Chapter 4. It was a moment that reminds us that life is fleeting and each moment should be cherished.
Governor Maggie Hassan addressed the attendees before an unprecedented Executive Branch contract signing ceremony at a convention. Governor Hassan and President Gulla signed the contract before the members of convention and both sides’ master bargaining teams. After the signing, each member of the Executive Branch team presented the Governor with a purple rose. She was visibly delighted by the gesture.
As we write this, final preparations are being made for Saturday’s annual Convention, which will include the signing of the Executive Branch Contract, as well as guest appearances by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
There’s quite a lot packed into the one-day convention, which will be held at the Executive Court, 1199 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with business beginning at 9. That business will include votes on two constitutional amendments and three resolutions, as well as several positions on the Board of Directors. You can see who the candidates are for those board positions here.
There’s more in store, beyond voting, however. As noted above, guests will include Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders and SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, as well as Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Of special meaning for many members, Hassan and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Rich Gulla will sign the new Executive Branch contract. The governor and President Gulla will be flanked by their respective bargaining teams, who worked out the agreement in record time. Of course, there will also be many in the audience who did the work that ultimately got that contract funded. For those who aren’t able to make it, we’ll be sure to take video of the ceremony that we’ll share with our full convention recap next week.
We look forward to seeing all delegates at what should be an exciting, jam-packed convention on Saturday.
Delegates to the 75th Annual SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Convention will vote on five positions on the Board of Directors. All positions are for three-year terms; there are three state employee positions, one private sector employee position and one county and municipal employee position.
Numerous candidates submitted nomination forms with optional comments by the Sept. 3 deadline, meaning their names will be printed on the ballot and their candidacy published in this space. It’s important to note that candidates who did not meet the deadline can still be nominated from the floor at convention.
Jeremy Dupuis, Chapter 20
Union member, leader, co-worker and activist. Currently a union councilor and steward for Chapter 20.
John Hattan, Chapter 45
Currently Chair of the Political Education Committee, and member of the Finance Committee. Long-term Secretary of Chapter 45. Represented union for years on the Board of Granite State Priorities.
Germano Martins, Chapter 45
27-year state employee, union member and served as councilor for Chapter 45 since early on. Member of SEA Political Education Committee and Retirement Committee. Served on NH Retirement System Board of Directors from 2006-2010 and from 2013 to now. Board member NH Citizens Alliance, Granite State Organizing Project and Hooksett Town Democratic Committee.
Brenda Thomas, Chapter 20
I am running as an incumbent for the Board of Directors. I work as an accountant for the Department of Administrative Services Division of Public Works. I have served on the Board of Directors for the past three years and would like to continue to represent all of our members. I believe it important to have as many members as possible represented at the Board table. I also currently hold the position of Chair for both AWU and CUE bargaining, negotiating with our SEA employees on their contracts. Being a member of the Board of Directors is a commitment of time, a commitment of dedication and a commitment to make decisions that are not just about the effect on my life or even my immediate co-workers but the effect on the membership as a whole. I take my commitment to our membership very seriously and I would appreciate your vote on Oct. 3.
Terry Locke, Chapter 52
Strafford County Department of Corrections for the past seven years, Hillsborough County Department of Corrections for four years. Vice President of Chapter 52, which is a new chapter with the separation from Riverside Rest Home. My experience would be a great asset.
Kathleen Mayo, Chapter 65
On Sunday, convention delegates considered two proposed constitutional amendments and one resolution.
After brief discussion, members ultimately adopted Amendment 1 and the Resolution, while rejecting Amendment 2.