Featured SEA Member

CCSNH Members Voice Concerns to Legislative Committee

Troubled by a series of questionable decisions made by the CCSNH Administration over the last few years, a group of CCSNH faculty and staff have been raising red flags to SEA/SEIU Local 1984 and members of the legislature. Last week, concerned members attended a meeting of the Public Higher Education Study Committee where they shared what they find alarming.

At the meeting, four union members and one former student voiced some of their worries that CCSNH administration expenditures and practices are adversely affecting the education of the students and not fulfilling the mission of the system. These concerns had already led to the Committee requesting that a performance audit be done by the Legislative Budget Assistant.

Melanie Martel, a full-time professor at the Concord campus (NHTI) spoke extemporaneously to the three NH Senators and five NH Representatives who compose the committee. “I was very gratified that the chairman solicited and listened to our input,” she said.  “I thought the meeting went well. I was happy to see how closely members of the committee listened and really took in the magnitude of the information they were being given.” said Martel.

Laura Morgan, also a professor at NHTI stated in her public comments that a cycle of decreased enrollment and resulting tuition revenue decrease that began over three years ago should have resulted in putting into place a strict spending policy and it was not. “Instead of planning for reduced spending, this Board and Chancellor have spent the limited dollars available to support student learning in ways that threaten the quality of education for New Hampshire’s community college students,” said Morgan.

“I believe that an audit report would support what the faculty and staff have been saying and I hope that the committee and the administration will implement necessary changes,” said Martel.

Martel asked the committee to not be diverted by the administration’s claims that these complaints were being voiced by a group of employees who are simply resistant to change.  The group of employees who are willing to speak up in front of their bosses are truly interested in the education of their students and upholding the system’s mission.

She also asked the committee to consider the central question of whether we are using taxpayer dollars and tuition revenue to best serve students in the classroom.

According to Pam Veiga’s comments, a member from Nashua Community College, “Many employees are fearful of retribution and loss of their jobs if they speak out. Tight lipped, they watch as the institution they want to see succeed, falters and continues to make poor financial, curriculum and administrative decisions.”

“This has been a long effort and many, many individuals have been working to move it forward,” Martel said.

The Committee has referred their audit request to the Fiscal Committee, which next meets in August.  We will provide you with updates as this process moves forward.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on CCSNH Members Voice Concerns to Legislative Committee

SYSC Gains New Director of Operations

Last Friday we learned that following a thorough search and interview process, the Sununu Youth Services Center has filled the position of Director of Operations.  As of tomorrow, April 8, Brady Serafin will serve in this capacity moving forward.

Brady brings to the position the breadth of 21 years of experience as an employee of DHHS/DCYF and 10 years of management/supervisory experience.

His career with the agency began as a child protective services worker in Manchester. He then moved onto working with juveniles as a juvenile probation and parole officer and most recently has served as a supervisor for juvenile justice field services staff in the Manchester District Office.

He has a reputation for being a creative thinker, responsible, reliable and working closely with agency stakeholders including law enforcement, courts, residential and community providers.

“I believe Brady Serafin is the perfect choice to be SYSC new Director of Operations,” said Corey Dearborn, Chapter 21 member and long time employee at SYSC. “He’s a hands on employee who will provide the residents and staff with a much needed everyday presence. His 20 plus years experience as an employee of DHHS/DCYF will give him invaluable knowledge of the hard work it takes to successfully operate SYSC. I look forward to working with Brady.”

Brady recognizes there needs to be a consistent presence at the SYSC and continued leadership at the facility that supports the staff, focuses on treatment and not on a corrections mentality. He is an advocate for permanency and the need to assure youth have planned transitions and established connections in order to be successful when they leave the facility. Brady is known for his commitment to making a positive impact on youth and the community.

We congratulate Brady Serafin for his new position.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on SYSC Gains New Director of Operations

Featured Member: Meet Krisan Evenson

Former DOD Employee, Current Shaper of Young Minds and Constant Crocheter

We continue our profiles of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members this week talking to Krisan Evenson, of Chapter 30, the PSU Teaching Lecturers. Krisan is active in her chapter, serving as vice president, and is part of several committees. Here’s what she had to say:

Evenson_K

Krisan Evenson

How long have you worked for the college?

I joined the PSU community in January 2006, after a stint with the U.S. Defense Department. It has been a pleasure to return to my home state (I’d lived elsewhere for the previous 20 years), and I’m having trouble believing I’ve been back for a decade!

What do you do for work?

At PSU, I teach a range of courses in international relations and the analysis of global problems.  Sometimes this means I introduce students to ideas about how the world’s distribution of power affects how they see the world. Other courses focus on analysis techniques with data, or particular areas of the world (my students know I’m obsessed with Canada), or enduring issues like child soldiers or humanitarian emergencies. In all cases, students create and then carry out a project that contributes to solving a problem or changing the world.

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

To me, it’s showing students — not just telling them, but illustrating, demonstrating, participating and celebrating — that they are more powerful than they believe. Who could blame an 18-year-old for believing that politics is a problem, when all they have seen are constant negative media messages? An empty Congressional debate chamber is not inspiring, but changemakers (likely with less media coverage) are. Students find meaning when they realize there are problems within their power to solve, and they deepen their interest in the world when they go out, connect and contribute to the resolution of a problem. They’re galvanized to get to the next problem on their interest list, and make the next change. And every time they do that, they become more powerful as individuals, and we all win as a community.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Usually, it’s something creative. I’ve been crocheting since I was little, and I often have 4-5 projects going. Some may remember me making a sweater at the SEA Convention last year during the meeting downtimes. When I’m not crocheting, I consume international intrigue novels like candy. I’m a sponsor with Save the Children, and occasionally do English-French translation for smaller projects.

How did you get involved in the SEA?

My involvement in the SEA began when the PSU teaching lecturer community decided to work toward bringing our personal and professional relationships in our workplace into alignment. The SEA was instrumental in showing us that we could do this without enmity, and we were able to demonstrate to the PSU administration (the “other side” of the table, if you will) that conflict is an occasion for building a better campus. We had pretty good results and kept our collegial relationships intact, too.

Why is it important to you to be a union member?

It’s important not to remain in a silo. Every time I get to a meeting on our campus or in Concord, I get to connect to similar others all across our great state. This connection demonstrates that we really do have shared interests, and sharing our ideas about how to build our strengths and solve problems is crucial in our economy and political climate. And like my students, every time we do that, we become more powerful as individuals, and we all win as a community.

Do you want to be a Featured Member? Do you know someone who should be? Send an email to atoland@seiu1984.org. You can see all previous Featured Members by clicking here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured Member: Meet Krisan Evenson

Featured Member: Meet Steve Mandeville

This week, we continue with our profiles of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members. We talked with Steve Mandeville of the Department of Transportation. Here’s what he had to say:

Mandeville

Steve Mandeville

How long have you worked for the state?

I have worked for the NHDOT for fourteen years.

What do you do for work?

I am an Environmental/Safety Specialist (Program Specialist 1).

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

I enjoy working with my co-workers to assist them in being safe both on and off the job. Also, working to keep our environment intact is very gratifying too.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I am not working, I enjoy raising freshwater tropical fish, bicycling, cleaning the house and collecting toy fire engines. I am also a call firefighter with the Hooksett Fire/Rescue Department.

How did you get involved in the SEA?

When I came to work for the state, a steward in my building talked to me about the SEA.  I determined that the benefits for joining far outweighed the benefits of not joining.

Why is it important to you to be a union member?

Unions stand up for the little person. If Goliath is trying to slay David, (as happened to someone very close to me a few years ago), there is someone there to assist and help you.

Do you want to be a Featured Member? Do you know someone who should be? Send an email to atoland@seiu1984.org. You can see all previous Featured Members by clicking here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured Member: Meet Steve Mandeville

Featured Member: Meet Nancy Bickford

Nancy BickfordAfter a hiatus, our profiles of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members return this week. We talked with longtime member Nancy Bickford, who serves as a councilor, chapter secretary, steward and on the sub-unit bargaining team. Here’s what she had to say:

How long have you worked for the state?

I have been a state employee for 27 years.  I started at the Anna Philbrook Center/ADC Unit on July 8, 1987.

What do you do for work?

I currently work at NH Hospital (all connected with Anna Philbrook Center) in the Maintenance Department as their Program Assistant I. This position consists of multiple office tasks as well as work orders, writing, opening and closing.

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

Being able to see the end results from jobs that our shops complete. My department does a superb job no matter what they are handed to do for a task.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I love spending time with my family, especially my two grandchildren. I also enjoy traveling not only in NH but other states and countries.  My favorite place is Aruba!

How did you get involved in the SEA?

I became a member when my family was going to Disney World and they had some great discounts. Then I was told that I would be a great councilor so ran for that and somehow became a vice president of our chapter for a couple of years.

Things got pretty hectic in my family life so I stepped down again to become a councilor. One day I was asked about becoming a steward and I shied away from that but with constant asking and being told I would be good as a steward and I could do the steward job I did agree to try and am still a steward today.

Why is it important to you to be a union member?

To fight for what is right in the workplace not only for myself but for fellow co-workers as well.  To listen and hear what they have to say about issues that concern them and others.

Do you want to be a Featured Member? Do you know someone who should be? Send an email to atoland@seiu1984.org. You can see all previous Featured Members by clicking here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured Member: Meet Nancy Bickford

Featured Member: Meet Laurie Aucoin

Once a month, we profile a different active SEA member (not to be confused with our monthly profiles of retirees). For this month’s edition, we talked with Laurie Aucoin, who works at New Hampshire Hospital and is president of Chapter 4.

Laurie Aucoin

Laurie Aucoin

Question: How long have you worked for the state?

Answer: I have been an employee at New Hampshire Hospital for 13 years.

Q: What do you do for work?

A: I work in the Business and Financial Services Office as an accountant technician. I have also worked in the Cashiers’ Office taking care of patient banking.

Q: What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

A: I love where I work and I enjoy the people that I work with. We strive to make a difference in the lives of individuals on a daily basis.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my 2½-year-old grandson, who I am currently raising. Time spent with friends is an important thing for me. I enjoy being outside and looking for new things to do. Where else can you drive to the ocean in the morning and then be in the mountains for the afternoon?

Q: How did you get involved in the SEA?

A: I became involved in the SEA through coworkers who asked me sign up as a councilor, then vice president of my chapter, followed by steward.

From that point forward, I found myself involved in many things, including having been on the Board of Directors, committees, and serving as chair of committees and on the negotiating team for the current contract.

Q: Why is it important to you to be a union member?

A: Being a member of the union is important to me because it is the union that negotiates our contracts and employee rights. Businesses without a union do not always allow employees the rights that we have negotiated. I enjoy being a steward because it allows me to represent employees and to make sure that their rights are not being violated.

Who should we profile next in this space? Is it a co-worker? How about you? Let us know by emailing atoland@seiu1984.org.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured Member: Meet Laurie Aucoin

Watch Out for the Piping Plovers

Be aware of endangered birds on the beaches this holiday weekend and beyond, as the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department reports there are still three pairs of Piping Plovers raising chicks on Hampton and Seabrook beaches. Piping Plovers are endangered in New Hampshire and threatened nationally. Their breeding habitat is fenced with yellow roping to indicate the birds’ presence to beach-goers and to allow the mating pairs space to nest and raise their young.

“Every summer we work with town and state officials to establish safe areas for the birds where they will not be disturbed by recreational activities,” said Brendan Clifford, Chapter 47 member and a biologist with the Fish and Game’s Non-game and Endangered Wildlife Program who oversees the Piping Plover protection effort.

“The sooner the birds nest, the sooner the chicks will hatch and grow big enough to be able to fly. Once the chicks are 25-30 days old, they can fly and escape from danger and we can take down the fences that protect their breeding habitat and open up the whole beach for recreational use,” explained Clifford. pipplov_glam

Within a few hours of hatching, Piping Plover chicks are able to walk and feed on their own. The first few weeks after hatching are the most crucial, because the chicks are very small and hard to see and extremely vulnerable to natural predators such as gulls, crows, foxes and domestic animals, including cats and dogs. In Seabrook, the remaining chicks are about three weeks old, while the chicks in Hampton are just over one week old.

While Fish and Game cannot monitor the birds 24 hours a day, they do rely on a number of volunteers to keep watch over the birds and activities taking place on the beaches.

N.H. Fish and Game is working closely again this year with beach managers to coordinate beach raking and plover protection. Beach maintenance may occur, as long as it is coordinated in advance with N.H. Fish and Game and does not pose a threat to the piping plovers.

Protection efforts began in 1997 through 2013, 83 nesting pairs of Plovers have fledged 113 chicks on New Hampshire’s seacoast. New Hampshire’s efforts are part of a region-wide protection program; overall, the Atlantic coast population of Piping Plovers continues to hold steady.

Protection of this endangered species is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.H. Fish and Game Department, N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation, the Town of Seabrook, the Town of Hampton, volunteers, local residents and beach visitors.

Beachgoers can make a big difference in whether or not piping plover chicks survive to fledgling age:

Watch where you step – A Plover chick’s defense mechanism is to freeze when people get close, which makes it difficult to see. The chicks are about the size of a cottonball and light colored, so they blend in with the sand.

Leash your dog – Free-running dogs can accidentally step on and crush eggs and chase after the chicks and adult plovers. Hampton Beach State Park and the Town of Seabrook both have restrictions regarding dogs on beaches during the summer. People should check before bringing their dog on any public beach.

Fill in holes – Holes in the sand are traps for the tiny chicks that can’t fly. Filling in any holes on the beach helps the chicks move about and find the food they need to grow strong and be able to fly.

Volunteer! – Volunteers will be needed to help with monitoring once the plover chicks begin to hatch around Memorial Day. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the N.H. Fish and Game Department Piping Plover Monitor at 603-419-9728.

For more information on Piping Plovers in New Hampshire, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Nongame/projects/plover_project.html.

The Piping Plover protection effort is coordinated by Fish and Game’s Non-game and Endangered Wildlife Program, which works to protect 37 threatened and endangered species, as well as hundreds of other species statewide.

 

 

 

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Watch Out for the Piping Plovers

Featured SEA Member: Meet Alan Quimby

This week, we continue our regular feature in which we introduce you to different SEA members. In this, our third installment, we talked with longtime state employee and SEA member Alan Quimby.

Question: How long have you worked for the state?

Answer: I have worked for the state for 35 years, starting out at DOT in February 1979, then at DRED for 3 years and the rest of my time has been at Administrative Services.

Q: What do you do for work?

A: I am currently the Mailing Supervisor for the Centralized Mailing Services located in the State House Annex.

Q: What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

A: Interacting with state employees who use the mail services, working with our vendors like the USPS, UPS, and FedEx. These representatives assist the state with moving  letters and packages all over the world.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: I like to spend time with my grandkids when I am not working, I have eight of them located in Bow, Pennsylvania and France. Skype is a great tool to visit with the kiddos in France. I am also the Fire Chief in Chichester, NH which keeps me very busy when I am not working for the state.

Q: How did you get involved in the SEA?

A: I joined the SEA when I was working at the DOT shed in Chichester I’m  guessing back in 1980 or so.

Q: Why is it important to you to be a union member?

A: Union membership gives benefits from the union’s collective bargaining power to negotiate with the state. There is strength in numbers which would not be available in trying to negotiate individually. Even though some of the promises that were given when I was hired have disappeared, like paid retiree health insurance, and COLAs, I feel without the backing of the union a lot more benefits would have been taken away.

Who should we profile next in this space? Let us know by emailing atoland@seiu1984.org.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured SEA Member: Meet Alan Quimby

Featured SEA Member: Meet Philip Inwood

The Plymouth State University Teaching Lecturers, one of the SEA’s newest chapters, signed its first contract earlier this year, and member Philip Inwood was a part of the team that helped negotiate that deal. He agreed to tell us more about himself in this month’s Featured SEA member spotlight.

PSU Teaching Lecturers United bargaining team members pose for a photo Wednesday after signing their first contract. The members are, from left, Jay Knower, John Lennon, Philp Inwood, Robin Bowers, Burrett McBee and chapter President Krisan Evenson.

Phillip Inwood, third from left, poses with fellow PSU Teaching Lecturers United bargaining team members after signing their first contract. The bargaining team members are, from left, Jay Knower, John Lennon, Inwood, Robin Bowers, Burrett McBee and Krisan Evenson.

Question: How long have you worked for the college? What do you do for work?

Answer: I’ve worked at PSU as an adjunct professor of Art History for over 6 years.

Q: What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

A: Of course, the most meaningful part of my job is to encourage the students to be excited by their time at college and to make the most of the opportunity to learn and grow. I find that my interaction with the students is a valuable component for me, as it inspires me to grow and engage with the dynamics of the changing culture.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: When I’m not working at PSU, I am drawing and painting and looking after my three young children. I also am engaged in working as a part-time organizer for the SEA, to encourage membership among the Teaching Lecturers (formerly Adjuncts) at PSU and beyond.

Q: How did you get involved in the SEA?

A: I became involved with the SEA when some of my colleagues started to organize the adjuncts towards some kind of collective unit. The SEA was the most responsive and positive organization to deal with early on and, I have to acknowledge, has remained so throughout the process of gaining a first contract and beyond. I quickly became an active member and I am intent on building on the success that we have so far achieved. We have a long way to go, but I am confident that we will build a strong union at PSU that will improve our employment conditions and benefit the university as a whole. In particular, I believe that the students deserve a continuity and commitment that can best be achieved through encouraging the fair and equitable treatment of the teaching lecturers, who are the backbone of this university and constitute a faculty majority.

Q: Why is it important to you to be a union member?

A: Being a union member is crucial for the fight to improve conditions at PSU. Strength through numbers – collective bargaining – has enabled our voices to be heard and considered. We are the union and the union makes us stronger – it is a remarkable feeling to have a place at the table instead of scrambling for crumbs!

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured SEA Member: Meet Philip Inwood

Featured SEA Member: Meet Janice Dunnington

A few weeks ago, we began several new features in the SEA News: one profiling the union’s committees and the other profiling Chapter 1 members. This week, we continue rolling out new features with a feature on an active (as in, not retired) SEA member.

Our first profile is on a member who belongs to one of the SEA’s newest units: the CCSNH adjunct faculty. So, without further ado, we introduce Janice Dunnington, an adjunct professor of mathematics at NHTI.

Question: How long have you worked for the college? How did you end up working there?

Answer: I’ve been teaching for the Community College System of NH for five years. I’ve been at NHTI these last four. My husband taught here before me, and I remember him saying how much I would like the caliber of students, meaning, well-mannered. So I applied, and now I believe he was right. The students here are great!

Q: What do you do for work?

A: I’m adjunct faculty in the Department of Mathematics.

Q: What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

A: The best part of this job is taking personal interest in those students who really are putting in the effort, but who are still struggling. I especially enjoy helping those students and will put in the personal time to help a student understand the material. The real reward for me comes from their gratitude just knowing that I truly want to help them succeed. That is how I view my job and I share that with all my students.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: I have many interests. In addition to being an avid reader, I also practice meditation and yoga.  And when a project appeals to me, I enjoy knitting and sewing. When the weather warms up, I spend time outside in my garden. I enjoy staying active. And I can’t forget cooking – I love to cook!

Q: How did you get involved in the SEA?

A: Once again, I followed my husband’s lead. We’ve discussed various issues with being adjunct faculty, and it just felt right. Why wouldn’t a person want to advocate for him or herself?

Q: Why is it important to be a union member?

A: Going back to my last statement, a person might not want to advocate for himself because, as an individual, challenging the administration might result in a person not getting continued employment. For adjuncts, that is a very real concern. As a union member, there is definitely strength in numbers. And I could have never negotiated a salary raise for myself, standing alone.   More importantly, being a dues-paying member is simply the right thing to do – for me to pay the 1.25% union dues after receiving a 6% raise. Morally, it’s the right thing to do.  And I’m still making 4.75% more than before.

There are other issues being negotiated right now. And I’m glad to see that when I’m gone, this will be a better work environment for future employees because of the SEA, and my contribution to it.

If you’d like to be profiled here, or have a suggestion of who we should profile, send an email to atoland@seiu1984.org.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Featured SEA Member: Meet Janice Dunnington