Two major wins – affected employees will receive retro pay for previously lost shift differential and affected NH Liquor Store part-time employees will receive retro Sunday and holiday pay
Concord, NH, September 16, 2014 – Earlier today, SEA/SEIU 1984 President Diana Lacey and attorney Glenn Milner and representatives from the state of NH signed settlement agreements ending two lengthy disputes related to Executive Branch employees’ wages and the eligibility of some NH State Liquor Commission (NHSLC) part-time workers to be considered bargaining unit members.
The first issue affected hundreds of workers who earn shift differential pay. Shift differential pay is a slightly higher hourly wage paid to employees who work less-conventional hours at the state’s many 24/7 facilities. It is commonly paid as an incentive for workers to take those shifts. For years, workers were paid in this manner until August 2012 when the state abruptly issued a memo that the practice would stop. SEA/SEIU 1984 filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the Public Employee Labor Relations Board, and the matter went through the process, including the contractual requirement of arbitration.
The arbitrator ruled in favor of SEA/SEIU 1984 and today’s settlement provides for the state to pay the identified employees retroactively for the pay periods in which they were denied the appropriate differential. The state has run a query that has identified the affected workers. They will pay all eligible employees at the third shift rate (the highest), due to a computer glitch and data loss associated with the transition to NH First. The retro pay will be included in this Friday’s paycheck. It will be taxed at 25 percent, per IRS rules.
“Hip, hip hooray! It’s over,” said Shelley Elmes, Chapter 4. “We have a great team of people and they did a great job. If we didn’t have a union this would not have been possible. The employer would be able to do whatever they wanted to us. We’re lucky to have a great force behind us.”
In the event any employee is overlooked or disagrees with the number of hours calculated by the state, please contact your SEA/SEIU 1984 grievance representative. They will examine the situation and assess whether you may have a grievance to address.
NHSLC Part-time Employee
The second matter is related to a case that has been pending since December 2012. At that time, the NHSLC suddenly refused to recognize some part-time members as members of the collective bargaining unit. The reason cited was that the affected workers were not “regularly scheduled part-time workers.”
SEA/SEIU 1984 filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint on the matter and prevailed. After nearly two years of working together to resolve the issue, the parties have identified mutually acceptable criteria for determining which part-time retail store employees can reasonably be said to work on a “regular” basis and eligibility for bargaining unit benefits and rights for included part-time workers.
The new definition for a “regular” part-time retail store employee is one who works at least 26 weeks per year and works an average of at least 10 hours per week. “We worked hard to make sure part-time workers would be treated fairly; I’m glad we’re finally here,” said Cindy Sanborn-Dubey, Chapter 41.
The NHSLC will run a report that looks at the previous 12 months to determine the hours worked. The workers who are identified as fitting the above criteria will remain in or be added to the bargaining unit and will receive all the benefits to which bargaining members are entitled. One such benefit is they will be eligible to receive a rate of one-and-one-half time of their hourly rate for actual hours worked on Sundays and a calendar holiday.
Retroactive to July 4, 2012, employees who fall in this category will receive retro pay for holidays worked. Retro to July 1, 2014, they will also receive the premium pay for Sundays worked. This includes employees who have since been hired as full-time employees. We do not yet know when the retro pay will be included in your paychecks; the data is being assembled accordingly.
The NHSLC will run this report annually and provide SEA/SEIU 1984 with the results. New employees hired will be coded appropriately according to the NHSLC’s anticipated use of the position.
“It has been a long haul,” said Diana Lacey. “It has involved many hours of discussion, but I’m very encouraged that we have reached an agreement with the state on these issues that will satisfy all involved parties. It is a wonderful example of how management and employees can effectively use the established process and arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution. These cases could have lingered for years of litigation. It is really great that justice can come sooner if a commitment to resolve such issues is present. The workers deserve these settlements.”