Sununu Youth Center Tosses Aside More of Its Teaching Staff

Sununu Youth Services-Manchester (image by Prime Roofing Corp)

Budget Cuts Destroy Promises Made to at Risk Youth 

Last week, nine staff members at Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) saw their careers upended.  All were moved into other career paths, some with no clear connection to their work history. One part-time employee was laid off completely.  Six of the nine affected workers were teachers.  This action decimates the education department as a whole.

SYSC is the state’s residential detention and school facility for youth ages 13 to 17 who have either been found to be delinquent (SYSC program) or are awaiting that determination (YDSU program). Both programs are approved by NH Dept. of Education Bureau of Special Education to serve students in all disability categories. The programs include academics, special education, electives and vocational training for the youth that are taught in four distinct educational settings within the institution. Classes are in session year round at SYSC.

“This is the third round of significant cuts to SYSC in six years.  These kids require intensive services to in order to turn their lives around and to be safe while on that path. Education is the bedrock that will help them find future success,” said Diana Lacey, President SEA/SEIU Local 1984.

At issue is the SYSC administration’s strategy for making $1.25 million in budget cuts.  “It defies logic that anyone would cut the teaching staff by half at an institution that educates the at-risk youth,” said Brad Asbury, former SYSC employee and current SEA/SEIU 1984 manager working with the educators.  “The youth are paying the price for a conflict that began between the teachers and Director Maggie Bishop two years ago. They predicted this would happen well before budget writers took aim at them.”

“We’ve talked with half of the affected employees so far,” said Sean Bolton, SEA/SEIU 1984 Grievance Representative. “Based on our initial analysis, SYSC management inappropriately applied the state’s personnel rules to every affected employee except for one part-time teacher.” SEA/SEIU 1984 will be investigating the matter.

“This situation is ridiculous and putting us in harm’s way,” said Will Flowers, one of the teachers whose position was not directly affected.  “We are down to nine classroom teachers. Tell me, how’s that going to work?”  Flowers said the safe teacher/student ratio is five to six students per teacher.  “Any more than that in a classroom, you can’t watch them,” he said.  “Just last week there was a fight between two students because there were too many students in the classroom.  Without adequate staffing, our students are at risk of hurting themselves or others, as well as not having a shot at receiving effective instruction.” There are typically 60 or more residents at the facility.

“Many of the students go to vocational training,” said Flowers. “Many of them can’t read or write, so they learn a trade here.”  Flowers has been teaching culinary arts at SYSC for 18 years.

“It’s interesting that the Governor who is the ‘education governor’ and all about special education would support the gutting of the education program.  I guess it’s fine for kids with special education needs who can afford it, but not necessary for these kids,” Flowers said.  Many of the youth at the center have been identified as having special education needs.

“The teachers have worked tirelessly reaching out to state senators and representatives, executive councilors and the Governor to sound the alarm of what this cut will mean to the kids.  There is no coincidence in the administration’s choice to slash the teaching force,” said Jay Ward, Political Director at SEA/SEIU 1984. “The quality of the educational services at the Center is well known. You don’t cut it if you want to see youth succeed.”

Multiple meetings with the administration, area lawmakers, and Governor Maggie Hassan have failed to yield a more balanced approach to the execution of the SYSC specific budget cut.

The SEA-SEIU 1984 Respond To The Veto Of SB 391, The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board

Sununu Youth Services-Manchester (image by Prime Roofing Corp)

Concord, NH, July 28, 2014 – Earlier today, Governor Maggie Hassan vetoed SB 391, which would have revitalized a legislative oversight committee for Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) and called for the appointment of a director of juvenile justice services at SYSC.

Through the Bill, the inactive Juvenile Justice Advisory Board would be revived, strengthened in composition, and would be given more of an oversight role over the center.  SYSC management changed in 2012 and was placed under the State Director of Children, Youth & Families.

Employees testifying in support of this bill reported numerous concerns about the management of the institution, safety, financial irresponsibility, and employer retaliation. Most recently, on-campus arson and incidents involving youth to youth conflicts have also been reported.

In response to budget cuts, nine staff members at SYSC were reassigned in lieu of layoff (in most instances demoted) or laid off last week.  Six of the nine affected workers were teachers.  This action decimates the education department as a whole.

“We’ve talked with half of the affected employees so far,” said Sean Bolton, SEA/SEIU 1984 Grievance Representative. “Based on our initial analysis, SYSC management inappropriately applied the state’s personnel rules to every affected employee except for one part-time teacher.” SEA/SEIU 1984 will be investigating the matter and taking subsequent action to protect the workers in question.

“The situation at SYSC seems to go from bad to worse,” said Diana Lacey, President SEA/SEIU 1984. “There have been three rounds of significant lay-offs over the last five years; all following shifts in management, philosophy and employees speaking out about their concerns. SYSC seems to be a target for retaliation.  This bill would have leveled the debate and created a balanced approach to management oversight.”

“It’s interesting that the Governor who is the ‘education governor’ and all about special education would support the gutting of the education program.  I guess it’s fine for kids with special education needs who can afford it, but not necessary for these kids,” said Will Flowers sarcastically, one of the teachers who was not affected by the budget cuts.

The veto comes the same day Governor Hassan also vetoed another bill, HB 591, that would have improved management oversight statewide.

State Employees Association Responds To The Governor’s Veto Of SB 591 (Bullying Bill)

SEIU Logo

SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, July 28, 2014 – Earlier today, Governor Maggie Hassan vetoed HB 591 which would have provided for a workplace free of abuse and a healthy, safe environment for state workers.

We are very disappointed in the Governor’s action.  HB 591 originated from SEA/SEIU 1984’s highest governing body in 2012 because the issue of worksite bullying is real and present across state agencies.

A committee of concerned members worked with legislators to draft the Bill.  State workers who had been on the receiving end of mistreatment provided hours of public testimony at legislative hearings and both chambers approved the bill. They also had several meetings with legislators following the hearings.

Governor Hassan has been opposed to this bill from its inception. She acknowledged there are workplace problems that are serious and yet has made only a token effort to address them on a permanent basis.

The Governor has the power to issue an Executive Order and truly lead a robust healthy workplace program that turns this situation around.  Yet, we have not seen a single draft policy or proposal come forward from the Governor’s Office in the two years that this legislation has been under consideration. Instead, the Governor’s solution was to direct the Dept. of Administrative Services to develop a “Respect in the Workplace” training for all managers and employees to view. This training consists of a PowerPoint presentation that is akin to classroom rules. It does not address or suggest remedies for the actions that are plaguing state workers in nearly every agency.

In her statement about the veto, the Governor said, “I have additionally heard numerous concerns from the business community, including the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, which opposed the bill and are concerned about the impact of such provisions if extended to private sector employers statewide.” This statement makes it clear that Governor Hassan is far less interested in the well-being of the public servants who carry out the business of the state than the interests of private industry. It is in stark contrast to her nearly instantaneous support of striking Market Basket employees.

This bill provided a decent framework from which the Governor could have made incredible progress on this issue. Instead we are just seeing more stalling tactics, this time couched as a favor to the BIA.

SEA/SEIU 1984 will be convening its governing body to discuss next steps related to the veto.

Gov. Hassan Rejects HB 591 (A Bill About Abusive Work Environments)

Maggie Hassan

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan released the following message after vetoing HB 591 today:

“By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 28th, 2014, I vetoed House Bill 591, relative to an abusive work environment and the health and safety of public employees.

“In New Hampshire, our hard-working and skilled state employees consistently execute the responsibilities of state government with great competence and ability. They deserve our admiration and respect for their public service and should always be afforded, along with their private sector counterparts, the opportunity to work in a respectful and dignified environment.

“HB 591, while well-intentioned, contains a number of poorly defined and unworkable provisions that will inevitably lead to a dramatic increase in unwarranted workplace-related litigation which, in turn, will materially disrupt workplace supervision and hinder productivity within state agencies. The bill also attempts to legislate politeness, manners and the interpersonal relationships of co-workers. Ultimately, it would head us in a direction toward extending these onerous and unnecessary directives to our private sector business community, making our state an undesirable destination for expansion and economic development.

“The Attorney General, Commissioners and my office worked diligently with legislators and the State Employees Association and developed a reasonable compromise that would have served our employees well without greatly undermining the continuity and effectiveness of state government.

“However, the Senate ultimately rejected the compromise and instead elected to send an extremely flawed bill to my desk.

“Among its most onerous provisions, this legislation defines “abusive conduct” in a broad and unworkable manner based on an individual employee’s subjective perception, not on an unbiased objective standard. While I know it was not the intent of its sponsors, this bill, as written, may make the most routine workplace interactions – and the human give-and-take they entail – potential causes of action. Under this bill:

  • An individual may claim workplace abuse if an employee believes he or she has an “unreasonable” workload, even if it is a workload similar to their co-workers.
  • An individual may claim workplace abuse if his or her supervisor or co-worker uses language that “criticizes” the employee in public – even if the criticism is constructive, appropriate and done within the confines of the workplace.
  • An individual may claim workplace abuse if he or she feels his or her co-workers are not answering emails in a timely manner, and therefore “ignoring” a request for information or assistance. Given the workloads of employees, they are likely to have very different definitions of what amounts to a reasonable amount of time to respond to a non-urgent request.
  •  An individual may claim workplace abuse if a supervisor gives what the employee feels is “unreasonable criticism” outside of the typical evaluation process. Under the proposed legislation if an employee, for example, fills out the same form wrong every day, or returns late from a break every day, a supervisor who offers corrective guidance outside an annual review could be accused of bullying.
  • An individual may claim workplace abuse if a co-worker or a supervisor shows “constant and harsh displays of disrespect,” even though the legislation offers no guidance of what it means by “constant” or “harsh” or “disrespect.” For example, under this legislation, an employee would be able to claim abuse if a co-worker regularly failed to say hello in the morning.

“While many specious complaints would ultimately be dismissed by the courts, the state would still incur the time and expense of litigation. In addition, the specter of claims would create a culture of fear where supervisors are unable to manage, and a handful of employees could push their workloads onto their co-workers by filing bullying complaints.

“This bill also creates an entirely new – and expensive – system for addressing public employee complaints, without any funding to establish it. Under existing state rules, personnel complaints are expected to be made first to a supervisor and then through the agency head.

“In circumstances where employees are either uncomfortable making a complaint to their immediate supervisor or the complaint is about their immediate supervisor, existing rules also provide other avenues for redress for employees. In such cases, employees are also able to bring their complaints to other supervisors, their agency head, their human resources officers or the Division of Personnel.

“This bill effectively nullifies those standard lines of mediating workplace disputes.  In doing so, the legislation effectively ignores the fact that many instances of alleged “abusive conduct” under this legislation may not involve supervisors but instead involve co-workers. The bill would allow employees with complaints against a co-worker to circumvent the employee’s supervisor, who is often the very person best suited to address the concern.

“Under the current system, the Division of Personnel, which has limited resources, conducts investigations into sexual harassment, and some other serious cases of workplace misconduct. The Department of Labor has no experience, no expertise and no personnel for mediating such inter-personnel disputes. This legislation does not provide the Department with any funding or staff to take on this major new role. And, even if it did, HB 591 is silent on what the remedies might be, and what authority the department has to enforce a remedy.

“In proposing to enact this new set of policies, HB 591 ignores current remedies in place provided through existing personnel rules, existing administrative practices and the existing right to a private cause of action for those instances that are the most extreme in nature.

“I have additionally heard numerous concerns from the business community, including the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, which opposed the bill and are concerned about the impact of such provisions if extended to private sector employers statewide.  In addition to the fact that this legislation will hurt state government’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage its workforce, the possibility of its application to the private sector would be counter-productive to the efforts of our innovative businesses to grow and create good jobs.

“I believe a respectful workplace is important to ensure productivity and fairness to all of our state employees. In response to the concerns I heard from employees soon after I took office, I tasked the Division of Personnel with developing a new “Respect in the Workplace” training initiative aimed at promoting a respectful and civil work environment for the benefit of all employees. Administered through the Division of Personnel in conjunction with the Employee Assistance Program, the “Respect in the Workplace” initiative provides training for both employees and supervisors to ensure that we are providing a high-quality work environment.

“Every state employee should work in a safe and respectful environment and I remain willing to work with our employees to move forward to build on and improve on these efforts.

“This legislation, however, does not accomplish that goal. It would create an expensive and likely litigious system; would incite conflicts between co-workers; and would make it difficult for supervisors to reasonably and fairly manage employees, making state government less efficient and effective. This legislation is not funded, nor are the necessary positions authorized, to perform such significant new tasks. In addition, there are reasonable – and I believe better – approaches to addressing this issue, which I remain open to working with employees to accomplish. Therefore I have vetoed HB 591.”

*           *            *

UPDATE:

The State Employees Association response to the veto message.

Rep. Jan Schmidt responds to the veto message.

The NH State Employee’s Association (SEIU 1984) Announce The Endorsement Of Jennifer Daler For NH Executive Council District 5

Jennifer Daler

Jennifer DalerThe SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors announced its endorsement of Jennifer Daler in the race for the open Executive Council seat in District 5. Daler lives in Temple and is running to represent Executive Council District 5, which includes 33 communities, extending along the state’s southern border, from Richmond and Swanzey in the west to Nashua and Hudson in the east, and as far north as Hillsborough and Dunbarton.  The Executive Council seat opened up when Debora Pignatelli announced she would not be seeking re-election.

After interviewing and reviewing records of the candidates, the organization’s Political Education Committee selected Daler, a former state representative, as the candidate who will best represent the district’s constituents and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members.  Originally elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006, Daler’s special election win in 2011 became a pivotal point in helping turn the tide against the attacks on working families of the Bill O’Brien-led legislature.

“We believe Jen’s experience in the House will serve her well on the Executive Council, as she understands the value of civility and the importance of working together,” said Ken Roos, chair of the committee. “In addition, we know she is committed to making the best use of our tax dollars and keeping our economy moving in the right direction.”

While serving in the House, Daler worked hard for our most vulnerable citizens, serving on the Health and Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.  Daler fought for working people across the state by voting against the right to work for less bill, which drives wages and benefits lower for those families that work hard and struggle to keep their homes.

“In 2011, at a critical time for our state, Jen prevailed in a tough House district despite facing crushing attacks for her stand against right to work for less,” Roos said. “She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and we’re confident she’ll always put our families ahead of partisan politics.”

The five-member Executive Council is a critical body for SEA members and their families.  The council votes on all state expenditures over $10,000, approves all appointments of civil commissions, judges and commissioners and directors in state government. Each council district represents around 250,000 voters and is elected every two years.

Committee members said Daler is the candidate that best represents the organization’s electoral vision for the state – the Granite Strong Vision. This vision is comprised of ten points SEA/SEIU 1984 has identified as essential for the success of the state’s working families. The points are:

  • Good full-time jobs
  • Robust small and large business environment
  • Quality, affordable and accessible health care
  • Quality, affordable public education from early childhood through post-secondary
  • Clean air and water
  • Public safety
  • Strong infrastructure
  • Strong consumer protections
  • Worker rights and protections
  • Strong safety net for our most vulnerable

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out On Harris vs Quinn Ruling

NH AFL-CIO Logo

Home Care Workers Vow to Stand Up for Good Jobs and Quality Services in Wake of Harris v. Quinn Ruling

Work with States and Consumers to Ensure a Strong Voice Will Continue

Concord, NH, June 30, 2014 – Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Harris v. Quinn. In a 5-4 decision drafted by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the conservative majority of the Court dealt a blow to the partnership forged between the State of Illinois and homecare workers through their union, SEIU Health Care Illinois-Indiana (SEIU HCII). In a closely divided ruling, the conservative wing of the Court overruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and held that the First Amendment bars Illinois homecare workers from adopting a fair share requirement (also known as ‘agency fee’) to ensure that everyone shares in the costs of the bargaining. The particular workers affected by this decision have a non-traditional relationship with their employer in Illinois and the court used the term “partial public employees” when referring to them. The workers are jointly employed by the state of Illinois and individual patients for whom they provide care.

This means that traditional public employees can continue to join together in a union and retain the right to negotiate a fair share contract provision.

While there are no such “partial employee” organized workers in New Hampshire, NH labor leaders agree that this is a about attacking workers’ rights.

This case was brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an extreme anti-worker group. It is the latest in a decades-long attack on the rights of working people to join together to improve their jobs and the quality of services they provide.

SEIU 1984 Logo“Any decision that infringes on the rights of homecare workers to join together and make decisions regarding their workplace is bad for the economy, bad for workers and the people they serve, and bad for America,” said Diana Lacey, president of SEIU Local 1984. “As our population ages, providing a stable, qualified workforce that meets the growing need for healthcare is critical to ensuring that New Hampshire seniors receive adequate care. Home care jobs are one of America’s fastest growing industries, yet the average wage for workers is around $21,000 a year.”

AFSCME_Logo-2Color“This ruling to allow state-based challenges to the legality of agency fees skirts the question of whether these workers deserve dignity and basic rights on the job and exposes taxpayers to footing the bill for future challenges and litigation,” said Harriett Spencer, Coordinator for AFSCME Council 93.

aft sqaure“AFT-NH members want great neighborhood public schools that are safe welcoming and are fully funded. We want all public schools to have teachers who are well-prepared, well-supported, and who have manageable class sizes and time to collaborate,” said Laura Hainey President of AFT-New Hampshire. “We want our schools to be centers of our communities and to ensure that children and families have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs. We want curriculum that focuses on teaching and learning, not just testing, and that includes art, music and the sciences.”

“When workers can come together and negotiate for better pay, more benefits, and necessary training, turnover goes down, and our elderly receive better care,” said Mark NH AFL-CIO LogoMacKenNH AFL-CIO Logozie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “Ensuring that this workforce has a voice on the job and is not mired in poverty is the single best way to guarantee that seniors and people with disabilities can get safe, quality care in their homes.”

“New Hampshire’s workers will not be discouraged,” President MacKenzie continued. “We will continue to fight for improvements in our workplaces. The fate of workers cannot be decided by one Supreme Court decision. It will be decided at workplaces and industries across the country by those who get up every morning and make our country run.”

NH State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) Opposes Privatization Takeover Of USPS, Joins Staples Boycott

stop-staples-400X400

Concord, NH, June 9, 2014 – At the quarterly meeting of the SEA/SEIU 1984 Council, members unanimously resolved to support U.S. Postal workers and enter into a boycott of Staples, the office supply retailer.  Staples has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service to operate postal counters in more than 82 “test sites” throughout the country.  The Postal Service plans to expand this operation to more than 1,500 Staples store across the United States.

Staples plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail. This is nothing less than a direct assault on good middle class jobs and on public postal workers.

“It’s clear the battle lines have been drawn in Corporate America’s plan to take over not just our politicians, but core governmental services.  And that’s why it’s also clear that more union brothers and sisters must step forward on that battlefield!  I will gladly stand with our US Postal Workers in their effort to stop Staples, the office supply retailer, from taking over trusted public services to boost corporate profit margins at the expense of hard working taxpayers, and I ask you to as well,” said Diana Lacey, President SEA/SEIU Local 1984 in an announcement of the boycott to members earlier today.

“We cannot thank SEIU local #1984 enough for joining our boycott of Staples. On behalf of Manchester Area Local President, Dana Coletti, and all people who believe in keeping the U.S. Postal Service as a public service, we appreciate this show of solidarity. Together we can and will end this drive to privatize all public services,” said Janice Kelble, Legislative Director, NH Postal Workers Union.

SEA/SEIU 1984 is latest labor union to join the cause to preserve this essential service.  SEA/SEIU 1984 joins NH AFL-CIO and AFT-New Hampshire in support of the postal workers.

SEA/SEIU 1984 is the exclusive representative of most state of NH employees, as well as county and municipal workers across the state.  The labor organization also represents workers at Hampstead Hospital.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Responds to Governor Hassan’s Executive Order for Spending Freeze

SEIU 1984 Logo

SEIU 1984 LogoA Statement from the SEIU Local 1984

Concord, NH, May 22, 2014 – Earlier today, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee unanimously approved Gov. Maggie Hassan’s plan to issue an Executive Order to immediately freeze state hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel. This comes on the heels of last week’s disappointing news that April’s revenue came in at $22 million less than projected in the state budget.

Last week the Governor wrote in her request that “we should act prudently, responsibly, and expeditiously to continue to ensure a balanced budget.” The Governor’s response to the shortfall was sensible and necessary to deliver a balanced budget for the biennium.

We assert that it is not this governor or the state employees who are holding NH back from being the best it can be.

April revenue projections were approved by the Legislature, as is the entire budget. While we are disappointed the actual revenues fell short, we aren’t surprised, given the corporate tax breaks the O’Brien legislature implemented two years ago.

When you combine the tax code changes and more businesses applying for tax credits with the state’s recent bond outlook warning from Standard & Poor’s; the dispute over the Medicaid Enhancement Tax; and class action lawsuits still pending; it is apparent that longstanding and risky legislative behavior is undermining NH’s future, rather than strengthening it.

Since 2006, the budgets passed by the Legislature have eliminated 2,000 good full-time jobs from the state employee workforce. Currently, including vacancies – some of which are intentionally held vacant to meet budget mandated cuts – we are operating with a workforce 27 percent smaller than it was pre-recession.

The freeze Gov. Hassan is now forced to impose will only further delay and diminish the delivery of critical services and leave more citizens with unmet needs.  This will also leave state employees and the people relying on the services they provide in a constant state of uncertainty.  Such uncertainty is damaging to the state’s economy and future. We need strong budgets with well-developed and funded priorities to put a stop to all the uncertainty NH taxpayers and businesses are experiencing.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 stands ready to support and advocate for the employees who are once again being asked to serve and do more with less.

Arbitrator Orders State to Make Workers Whole

SEIU 1984 Logo

Justice for state employees – hundreds of workers will finally be compensated 

Concord, NH, March 18, 2014 – Yesterday, an independent arbitrator ruled in favor of more than 1,000 NH state employees in a key victory that reversed a unilateral change the state made to lower employee pay.  The decision directed the state to make the affected employees whole with back pay. The ruling corrects a violation of state law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State and the Executive Branch workers represented by SEA/SEIU Local 1984.

The dispute began in August of 2012, when Matthew Newland, Manager of Employee Relations and a Governor John Lynch appointee, issued a memo to state human resource and payroll representatives rescinding a long standing practice related to shift differential payments that apply to more than 1,000 state workers.

State agencies with continuous operations face the challenge of recruiting and staffing employees to work beyond standard day shifts. An effective practice used by many employers to meet this challenge, including the State, is to adjust employees’ hourly pay. There are many state functions that require round the clock staffing, such as correctional law enforcement, emergency services, and providing direct care in health facilities, including New Hampshire Hospital and Veterans’ Homes.

After the state stalled for months a resolution that could come from less formal remedies, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 filed an Unfair Labor Practice petition with the Public Employees Labor Relations Board (PELRB), and then a subsequent ULP after the state further stalled progress.  Ultimately, the PELRB ordered the parties to go to arbitration and the state finally abided. After more than a year of wrangling, the arbitration took place in January of this year.

In yesterday’s decision, the arbitrator found the practice of paying shift differential was established through a state memo issued in 1989, and there was no evidence that the practice had been rescinded since. The practice had been in place and “occurred with such regularity and frequency that employees could reasonably expect the practice to continue on a regular or consistent basis.” Therefore, the practice could not be rescinded through a memo; the differential pay is subject to collective bargaining.

During the arbitration, the state asserted that ordering payment of the back shift differential pay would require a legislative appropriation and thus the arbitration decision would be advisory only. The arbitrator, however, addressed this in the decision saying that funds to cover shift differential came from the agency’s overtime budget. “When overtime accounts were deficient, the agencies reallocated funds to ensure that employees were paid their respective wages, including overtime pay and shift differentials….The agencies certainly have the discretion to reallocate resources and funds to comply with the make whole remedy in this Decision.”

“Making the affected employees whole was the desired outcome,” said Diana Lacey, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984.  “For affected workers paying rent, buying food and heating their home is more challenging now than ever.  These employees work hard providing critical services such as caring for veterans, the elderly and the mentally ill; watching over prisoners and responding to emergencies. It is only fair that they be compensated for their time,” she said.  “This situation began under the Lynch administration. Governor Hassan inherited it. We hope she will fully uphold the arbitrator’s decision and make sure the funds are available to truly make the workers whole.”

The application of the shift differential payments has not been consistent in the various facilities; as each facility has unique practices and needs.  Each facility had handled its own payroll processing and there were provisions in each process to accommodate the shift differential payments.

In 2012, the state rolled out an off the shelf software product to consolidate payroll and leave accrual processing.  During arbitration, Newland acknowledged that the new computerized payroll system was incapable of processing the various benefits and payments for all agencies in a consistent manner. It was far easier to simply end the practice of paying shift differential than to admit the costly software was not compatible with the state’s payroll needs.

In his decision, the arbitrator wrote that “the fact that determining the overtime rates is complicated does not justify the unilateral elimination of the payment of shift differentials to employees” and “moving to a new computerized payroll process does not authorize the state to have unilaterally eliminated a two decade long practice of paying shift differentials.

The Video That Could Change Your Entire Outlook On The Casino Gambling Bill And The Gas Tax

Diana Lacey Screen Shot Video

Once a week the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) sends out their Statehouse Bulletin. The bulletin highlights what the SEA is doing legislatively in Concord.  Every week they post a summary of what bills passed, what bills failed, and what bills are coming in the next week.  This week had all of that, and a little more.

This week’s bulletin had a special video message from SEA President Diana Lacey.  The video is a ‘call to arms’ for all of the SEA members to help convince their state legislators to pass two very important bills, the Gas Tax bill (SB 367), and the Casino bill (HB1633).

While this video was intended for the SEA membership, I feel that everyone in New Hampshire should listen to what President Lacey has to say.

Whether you support expanded gambling and the gas tax increase or not you should know what this will mean to hundreds of state workers. Will it mean more devastating cuts, and more layoffs, or will it mean new jobs for public and private workers?

Please take five minutes to listen to Diana’s message.

Share this post with your friends and family throughout the Granite State to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is at stake if these two bills do not pass this week.

The SEA has started a ‘Save Our Roads’ petition, which you can sign here.

Use this link to find your State Senator and ask them to support the gas tax increase (SB 367).

Use this link to find your State Representative and ask them to support the expanded casino gambling bill (HB 1633).