On Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, the member leaders of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 met in Plymouth for the union’s 78th annual convention. The jam-packed one-day convention included the election of several members of the board and votes on numerous proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions.
The venue, the newly opened Barn on the Pemi, gave the proceedings the feel of a town hall meeting, with all the debate and political calls-to-action you’d expect at such a gathering. Elections were uncontested, though there was much thoughtful debate on the nine proposed amendments and six proposed resolutions. There were also some tears shed in memory of all those we’ve lost in the past year, including Ken Roos.
Call to order and moment of silence
From the start, former First Vice President Ken Roos’ absence was felt. Roos, who died this summer after a brief illness, had served as the emcee – and chief planner – of the SEA’s yearly conventions. This year, Second Vice President John Hattan filled in ably at the lectern and directors chose to leave the late leader’s customary seat at the head table open.
Roos was one of many members to pass away in the year since the last convention, and all were honored with a moment of silence and video memorial.
Among the guests in attendance was Jodi Roos, Ken’s widow. A bit later in the day, President Rich Gulla presented Jodi with a posthumous award for Ken, for SEA’s outstanding member.
With no contested races for the Board of Directors, all candidates were officially elected by acclamation. Germano Martins and Mikayla Bourque were re-elected to the board, joined by Mike Derderian and Laura Drew, who were elected for the first time. Current Director Mary Fields was the sole candidate for first vice president and will serve the remainder of the term, which expires next fall..
There will be a special election in the coming months to fill the remainder of Fields’ term on the board (expiring next fall) as well as the private sector position on the board, for which there were no candidates.
Amendments and resolutions
The most lively debate of the day centered on proposed constitutional amendments. Of nine proposed amendments, four were approved, including one to create an associate membership. Here is a quick rundown of amendments, with links to the language as proposed:
- Constitutional Amendment 1 – Immediate Past Positions Approved
- Constitutional Amendment 2 – Council Meetings Rejected
- Constitutional Amendment 3 – Associate Membership Approved
- Constitutional Amendment 4 – Charge and Trial Board Approved
- Constitutional Amendment 5 – Financial Advisory Committee Approved
- Constitutional Amendment 6 – Charge and Trial Board Rejected
- Constitutional Amendment 7 – Executive Director Rejected
- Constitutional Amendment 8 – Powers Upon the Board of Directors Rejected
- Constitutional Amendment 9 – Second Vice President Rejected
Five out of six resolutions were approved on a single vote, as all dealt with retirement. The final resolution, dealing with collective bargaining policy, was rejected. Here is a rundown of resolutions, with links to the language as proposed:
- Resolution 1 – Retirement Committee COLA Raise Approved
- Resolution 2 – NHRS Independent Investment Committee Approved
- Resolution 3 – Retiree Healthcare Costs Approved
- Resolution 4 – Social Security Offset Approved
- Resolution 5 – NHRS Quarterly Report Approved
- Resolution 6 – Collective Bargaining Policy Rejected
Members were treated to three special guest speakers, including one of our own members Bill Bolton, who’s currently running for Senate. Bolton welcomed delegates at the start of the day and his remarks focused on how his career as a state employee will make him a strong advocate for workers.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, visiting from Washington, D.C., was our second guest speaker. Henry noted she was making stops around the country to help get out the vote. Her stay in New Hampshire also included writing postcards to members who haven’t voted in recent elections and canvassing with Bolton on Sunday.
Our final guest speaker was our endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Molly Kelly, who pledged to fight for workers’ rights and slammed the lack of leadership that left state employees without a contract for nearly a year. The common theme across all three speeches was simple: we need a state and a nation that works for all, not just the rich and powerful.
In addition to the outstanding member award, three other pieces of hardware were handed out. Dan Coughlin, of Chapter 70 (Hampton), won the Charlie Stevens Award for chapter president of the year. Dennis Etchells, of Chapter 47 (Department of Fish and Game), won the Ray Proulx Award for Political Action, and the members of Chapter 44 took home the award for chapter of the year. We congratulate all of our award winners and thank them for their service to their union.
After delegates voted on resolutions in the afternoon and the newly elected directors took the oath of office, President Rich Gulla gaveled the 78th annual convention to a close.