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).

 

 

The State Employees Association Endorses Mike Cryans For Executive Council

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SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH, February 20, 2014 – The State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984 (SEA) has endorsed Mike Cryans as their Executive Council candidate of choice in the special election in Executive Council District One taking place on March 11, 2014. This special election is to determine who will succeed NH icon and longtime Councilor, Ray Burton.

Cryans served alongside the late Ray Burton on the Grafton County Commission where the two developed a close friendship in the 16 years they served together on the commission.

“I like the relationship we had, because it was a Democrat and a Republican who proved that party lines don’t always make the difference,” Cryans told SEA members at a meeting last month. “A lot of times, it’s how you view things. Our view was to get things done.”

Through his work as a Grafton County Commissioner, Cryans has a successful history of completing projects that invest in the local economy and create jobs. His priorities as a member of the Executive Council are protecting taxpayers’ interests, investing in the state’s economy and strengthening the middle class.

“Mike has demonstrated the commitment the people of district one deserve and we are proud to support his candidacy,” said Diana Lacey, President of SEA.

Cryans, the father of two said he’s spent most of his life, except for his college years, living Council District One, which encompasses the northernmost two-thirds of the state – everything north of Claremont to the west and Milton to the east. He currently lives in Hanover with his wife and youngest son.

Cryans said he’s driven to do well, something that will serve him well if he’s elected. At a meeting of the SEA Political Education committee Cryans told members, “I’m not trying to fill Ray Burton’s shoes, I’m just trying to do the best I can do,” he said. “I will try to do the very best I can if I’m elected.”

“I am confident that Mike Cryans will continue to advocate for residents of this district,” said SEA member Cheryl Towne who resides and works in Executive District One. “I work at Glencliff Home.  I’m confident that Mike Cryans will continue to remember the good work done at our facility and that he will represent the ‘little guys,’ like me. His dad was a union carpenter who taught him the value of hard work and the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity. I think he will not forget his constituents who are ‘the little guy.’ I don’t think he will cave to special interest groups – he’ll do what’s right for his district.”

The SEA encourages all District residents to vote in the special election being held on March 11, 2014.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

The State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire represents about 11,500 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State.  First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975.  Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers.  The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984.  With 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.

All I Want for Christmas Is Health Insurance; SEIU 1984 Hosts ACA Enrollment Fair

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The State Employees’ Association of NH (SEA) and Manchester Community Health Center are jointly hosting an Affordable Care Act enrollment fair Thursday, December 19 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Manchester Community College in Room 300. The enrollment fair is designed to help educate SEA members, students and working people about how to access new health care options available through the ACA Marketplace.

Trained representatives from the sponsor organizations will be onsite to help individuals research their plan options, determine if they are eligible for tax credits that will reduce their healthcare costs and enroll.

While the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act got off to a bumpy start, the process is now running smoothly. “It is so rewarding to help someone who has not had access to health insurance become enrolled,” said Joe Cicirelli, an SEA field representative. “The SEA remains dedicated to its plan to make sure all Granite Staters have access to quality, affordable health care. In pursuit of that goal, we have been hosting health care enrollment fairs across the state since the beginning of November,” said Cicirelli.

“Every one of our members has family, neighbors, or friends who do not have health insurance,” said Diana Lacey, President of SEA. “We believe that everyone should be able to visit a doctor when they are sick, or have the medicine they need to help manage chronic disease. We are pleased to be working with Manchester Community Health Center on this important campaign.”  The SEA has a long history of advocating for a healthy and financially secure middle class.  “That extends beyond our membership.  In lifting up all families, we will have a stronger and more vibrant NH population and economy,” said Lacey.

For more information, contact John Thyng at 603-271-3411 x106 or jthyng@seiu1984.org.

Nothing is more important than your health. Join us. Ask Questions. Get Answers. Get Covered.

Plymouth State University Educators Win First Contract

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lymouth, NH, December 14, 2013 – Earlier this morning and two years after Plymouth State University (PSU) adjunct faculty members voted to unionize, the State Employees’ Association (SEA/SEIU 1984), announced that the ‘Teaching Lecturers’ have ratified their first union contract by a 97% vote. “The path to obtain the rights necessary for empowered workers to level the playing field, as equally valuable partners in the workplace, including higher education, can be a long one that takes real commitment,” said SEA/SEIU 1984 President Diana Lacey. “We are so proud of the members’ work!”

The contract provides job stability, annual wage increases, access to health benefits and intellectual property rights over the next three years. Up until this point, the part-time faculty members were employees at will, did not have access to benefits, were not compensated well for their contributions, and were not treated respectfully. “Before we unionized, I was unable to see a career track, let alone our place at the university,” said the Teaching Lecturers Chapter President, Krisan Evenson.  “’How did we fit in here?’ was a question I asked myself. As we united our community through our union, I knew we could begin making changes.”

Members of the Teaching Lecturers’ bargaining unit believe their contract will encourage the university administration to preserve teachers, help keep Lecturers out of poverty and improve the quality of public higher education. This contract is one of two recent agreements in the NH higher education community that changes the standard of living for part-time teachers. Earlier this year, SEA/NH-SEIU Local 1984 won a contract for over 1,000 adjunct faculty members that teach for the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH).

“We are excited to join our colleagues who teach at CCSNH,” said Phil Inwood, Teaching Lecturer of Art at PSU. Our contract was designed to change standards for Lecturers and the university. This is the first time our voices really made a difference. “

The organization of part-time higher education faculty members is a growing trend across the nation. It is in response to years of sub-standard treatment and lack of appreciation. A 2010 survey of non-tenure-track faculty members by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce showed low median compensation rates for adjunct faculty, with little, if any, compensation based on credentials and minimal support for work or professional development outside the classroom.

Adjunct faculty now make up the majority of the higher education work force. As recently as 1969, 78 percent of instructional staff comprised tenured or tenure-track professors, with adjunct faculty making up the rest, according to information from the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. By 2009, the figures had nearly flipped, with a third of faculty tenured or on the tenure track and two-thirds ineligible for tenure. Of those non-tenure-track positions, just 19 percent were full-time.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

The State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire represents approximately 11,500 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State.  First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975.  Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers.  The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984.  With 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.

Governor Hassan To Assist NH State Employees’ Association Load Gifts For Operation Santa Clause

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TOMORROW, Governor Maggie Hassan will help Operation Santa Claus load National Guard trucks with Christmas gifts for children across the state, highlighting the importance of giving back during the holidays and thanking volunteers and hard-working state employees for their commitment to serving the people of the Granite State.

What:  The State Employees’ Association’s 53rdt Operation Santa Claus Gift Delivery

When:  8:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where:  11 Stickney Avenue, Concord, NH

Who:  The State Employee Association’s Operation Santa Claus committee members; current and retired State of NH employees; National Guardsmen; Governor Maggie Hassan

The State Employees’ Association is gearing up to deliver thousands of gifts to NH children across the state.  At 8:30 Wednesday morning, a line of National Guard trucks will substitute for Santa’s sleigh, as “elves” from the S.E.A. Operation Santa Claus program and National Guardsmen & Women load the trucks with toys and clothing items.  The trucks will travel throughout the state making deliveries in every NH region to almost 3,000 children – just in time for the holidays!  This is the 53rd year the State Employees’ Association has spearheaded this charitable campaign for children who have been identified by NH DHHS case workers.  All of the children who will be receiving these gifts have either been neglected or abused; receiving some form of state assistance; in foster care; and otherwise would not have be receiving any gifts this holiday season.

Since 1960, members of the State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984 have organized Operation Santa Claus to help children in need during the holidays. State employees, state retirees and other volunteers come together to provide two packages – one of items that are necessities and another of desired gifts – to more than 3,000 children across the state. For more information, visit http://operationsantaclausnh.tumblr.com/aboutOSC.

NH State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) Help North Country Residents Get Healthcare

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Berlin, New Hampshire,– Last Saturday, approximately 50 North Country residents took steps to get quality, affordable health insurance, some for the very first time. They attended the most recent of a series of Affordable Care Act (ACA) market place enrollment fairs sponsored by the State Employee’s Association (SEA). The event took place at White Mountains Community College in Berlin, an area of the state that has been especially hard hit since the great recession.

“The turnout was fantastic,” said Joe Cicirelli, a certified application counselor and SEA employee. “Many families enrolled in plans and everyone left with something tangible. From establishing a Healthcare.gov account to receiving an eligibility determination, all attendees moved forward in the process. The SEA is proud to have a role in making the ACA successful in NH.”

Almost unbelievably, a number of individuals were unable to obtain coverage because they earn too little to qualify for subsidies for ACA Marketplace plans. “Unfortunately, because the New Hampshire Senate Republicans refused to compromise and expand Medicaid, we were forced to tell our neighbors who were below the poverty line, that there were no affordable coverage options available to them.”

Last week, during a special session of the Legislature, the state Senate did not deliver a deal for expanding Medicaid to an additional 50,000 low-income adults, despite leaders on both sides of the political aisle saying they remain willing and eager to reach a compromise.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted on three amendments to its original bill, ultimately approving one, 13-11 along party lines, before tabling the bill in the early afternoon. Many expect the issue will come up again during the next legislative session that will begin in January 2014.

The State Employees’ Association of NH (SEA), working with community partners, has been hosting Affordable Care Act enrollment fairs around the state. The fairs are designed to help educate SEA members and the general public about how to access the new health care options. SEA members are moving forward and having worker-to-worker conversations, hosting events, and helping working people access the information about what their new options are. Attendees may receive assistance completing the application process.

While the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has clearly not gone as smoothly as one would like, the SEA remains dedicated to its plan to make sure all Granite Staters have access to quality, affordable health care. While most SEA members have insurance through their employers, thousands of part-time state workers and adjunct professors must purchase their own.

To learn more about enrollment, contact Chris Porter at cporter@seiu1984.org. For information about upcoming enrollment fairs open to the public, contact Brian Hawkins at bhawkins@seiu1984.org.

NH-SEA and Governor Hassan Reach Agreement For Employees Impacted By Federal Shutdown

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Association, Governor Agree to Allow Furloughs for Workers Who Would Otherwise Be Laid Off

The irresponsible and senseless shutdown of portions of the federal government has entered into its third week and state government is beginning to feel the effect on federally funded programs.  “As the funding for programs begins to dry up, the state of New Hampshire is left to mitigate the after effects to critical programs like WIC, which provides critical assistance for pregnant women, infants and children, or the Social Security disability determinations,” said SEA President Diana Lacey.

Working closely with Governor Hassan, the SEA and the State of New Hampshire have reached an agreement to reduce the harm the shutdown will cause to citizens and state employees if Congress continues its shutdown. The action provides workers that may otherwise face layoff the ability to be partially or fully furloughed on the temporary and unknown basis the shutdown has created. The agreement will only impact workers that are already in positions that are partially or fully funded by federal programs whose funding has run out thanks to the shutdown. The best way workers can help is to call Congress and demand that they end the shutdown. You can reach your representative and senators by calling 1-866-426-2631.

To see Governor Hassan’s press release, click here: http://bit.ly/1cpBY7e.

President Lacey addressed the shutdown’s impact at the SEA Board of Directors meeting on October 10.  After thoroughly discussing the options the contract provides and the uncertainty the shutdown poses, the Board authorized President Lacey to negotiate and enter into such agreement.  “I am so proud that we’re moving together to address this crisis in a way that will have the least impact on critical services.  The State Employees are committed to the work they do even if Congress is not.  We are putting people first, not politics,” said Lacey.

The agreement makes clear that the Board, the Governor, agency heads and employees are all going to work hard to protect NH’s citizens and employees.  A copy of the agreement can be found here: http://bit.ly/1cSdMgv.

NH’s Congressional delegation is working hard; there are at least four votes in Washington  that are keeping us all in mind. Depending on how long the shutdown continues, there may be efforts made to help citizens and employees through this crisis. SEA members have stepped up in other times of crisis, doing food drives for those hardest hit. That may happen again if things don’t turn around.

It is important to note that not all employees that are in federally funded positions will be impacted.  Even those employees that receive a furlough notice may not actually face furlough if the shutdown ends before their two week advanced notice expires.  Different federal programs will run out of money at different times, so employees should not anticipate widespread furloughs at this time.

Some workers may end up with a shortened or modified workweek, depending on which federal program is impacted, particularly if the workers are involved with multiple programs.  That’s why we are developing a frequently asked question document that will be released tomorrow.  Additionally, contracted services may be similarly impacted depending on the funding source, service delivery and payment schedule, and other provisions.  The agreement with the SEA will not prevent contracted services from being harmed; the Governor is working to minimize all impact from the shutdown and we will continue to work together through this crisis.

SEIU 1984 Part-time Workers’ Rights Upheld by NH-PELRB

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On Monday, the NH Public Employees’ Relations Board (PELRB) officially answered the issue of whether hundreds of part-time state employees are considered members of the Executive Branch collective bargaining unit. The PELRB ruled that the State has indeed committed an unfair labor practice and ordered the State to recognize these workers as public employees, re-establishing their important rights guaranteed by the contract.

As you may know, last fall, Matt Newland, the state’s Manager of Employee Relations, suddenly and arbitrarily made unilateral changes to the rights and pay of more than one thousand NH Liquor Commission employees and many other part-time workers in state service. He did so through a memo stating that part-time employees were not considered “public employees.” Newland also refused to hear any grievances about nearly all part-time employees and went so far as to order agencies to withhold and intercept union membership cards such workers were trying to submit so that they could join this fight.

Newland’s decision undid decades of past practice and created tremendous disharmony in the workplace. In response, the SEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the PELRB, which now finds the vast majority of these employees do, in fact, have the same contractual rights and protections as their full-time colleagues.

Since the beginning of the recession, full-time jobs are increasingly difficult to find. Many workers, including state workers, have been forced to piece together multiple part-time jobs to earn enough to support their families. At the same time, the NH State Liquor Commission is relying more and more heavily on the efforts of part-time workers to fulfill its mission to raise much needed revenue for the state.

“We are very pleased and grateful to the PELRB for standing up for the rights of the many frontline workers in our retail operations. As a NH liquor store manager, I see firsthand the outstanding work our part-timers put forth,” said Richard Gulla, SEA Director and Steward. “Retail hours are unlike those of 9 to 5’ers. We are open many hours each and every day of the week.  We are pleased the PELRB recognizes our part-time workers as being key to the success of NH liquor store’s operations.”

To be clear, this unfair labor practice petition (ULP) was filed well before NH Governor Maggie Hassan took office. “We encourage Governor Hassan to embrace this decision and to carry it forward as an example of employer’s responsibility to treat all workers with dignity, respect and whole people with lawful rights,” said Diana Lacey, SEA president. “She is the CEO of NH’s largest employer. Her good example will benefit all workers.”

Prior to Newland’s bold and unexpected move, a few grievances had been filed involving part-time employees. It is speculated that Newland’s challenge to their rights to representation may have been in response to this fact.  Further, a number of current grievances brought forward by part-time employees have been stalled, waiting for this important PELRB decision.  The process can now move forward for these workers who have been waiting to be made whole.

Note: In 1982 the NH State Liquor Commission employed approximately 276 part-time employees. Because of budgetary considerations and the numerous retail hours to be covered, there are now 916 part-time workers; and only 213 full-time employees.

The State of NH and State Employees’ Association Move To Fact Finding After Questions Were Raised Over Healthcare Costs

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After months of negotiating the State Employees’ Association is now asking for  ’Fact Finding’ to answer the questions that the State is refusing to answer.  Fact finding requires the parties to develop a written and well-documented argument to support their respective proposals that are in disagreement.  A neutral third party, the fact finder, develops a comprehensive recommended contract settlement.

The State Employees’ Association has given back a lot over the last few years. In fact state employees have not received a pay raise in over five years now.  No pay raises on top of ever increasing retirement and healthcare costs.  That is a net loss for the workers.

In a press release, Diana Lacey the President of the State Employees’ Association stated, “I hear from members all the time…their families are hurting and they need some relief.  They love their jobs, as hard as they may be, and they love serving the general public.  But they are just like your next door neighbor and they need to pay their tax bill, mortgage, feed their families and heat their homes.”

SEA members are not alone in this fight.  Workers are continually loosing ground as workers have been forced ‘tighten their belts’ during this great recession.

The State has already proposed a small increase to workers wages yet are withhold the information on the amount their healthcare will be increased.  Without both pieces of information the SEA cannot make an informed decision on whether this contract will help, or harm their members.

In a written statement Governor Hassan stated, “I believe the tentative agreement reached in June between negotiators represented a fair deal for employees by providing the first cost-of-living increases in five years, and for New Hampshire taxpayers by achieving important healthcare savings to the state.”  Where are these savings from the state going to come from, higher increases from employees?

According to the SEA’s analysis, the proposed cost increases in changes to the employees’ health plan will exceed the increased wages offered. “These changes could be financially devastating to more than fifty percent of the workforce, given how much additional costs they have already taken on through the recession and with no pay increases to soften the blow all these years,” said Jim Nall, the SEA member negotiating team chair.

“The state hasn’t provided any proof that a deal that really helps employees cannot be reached but by our calculations, the one the state wants will hurt most employees until 2015.  Employees can’t afford more pain.  It’s time to get beyond their trust-us like attitudes and fact finding will make that happen.” said Lacey.

“We had hoped that Governor Hassan would order her team to roll up their sleeves and have a thorough and comprehensive discussion with the SEA team about the health plan and its costs.  That never happened though,” said Lacey.  “Instead, they just keep asking for another mediation day and yet another.  That isn’t a strategy for success; it’s wasting precious time.”

The SEA and the Governor are hopeful that ‘Fact Finding’ will produce the needed results to come to an agreement on their new contract.  Both the State and the SEA and under a real time crunch as employees will need to make decisions about their healthcare plans durning the next ‘open season’ that begins in November.   The SEA also needs time to ratify the contract with its own members.

Our dedicated State Employees deserve a fair contract that will not push them further in the hole financially.  They are well overdue a pay raise that actually puts money into their pockets.

Community College System of NH (SEIU 1984) Full-Time Staff, Faculty Ratify New Contract

MHT Community College

SEIU 1984 Logoby Andrew Toland
NH State Employees’ Association — SEIU 1984
Cross Posted from SEIU 1984 Blog

SEA members in the full-time employee bargaining unit at the Community College System of NH represented by the SEA have ratified a new two-year contract with the college system that includes cost of living adjustments in each year and health care plan changes.

The SEA member negotiation team and the CCSNH reached a tentative agreement at the end of June, and bargaining unit members later voted to ratify the agreement by mail. When the votes were all counted, 81 percent voted in favor of the new agreement. Some of the highlights of the agreement include:

  • Faculty receive two 5% cost of living adjustments and staff receive two 3% cost of living adjustments, one taking effect last week and the other taking effect a year from now.
  • Starting next year, the college system will replace the HMO health plan it currently offers with two new plans. One, the New England Lumenos plan, has lower premium contributions but requires copays on prescription drugs. The other, the National Lumenos plan, has higher premium contributions but doesn’t require copays on prescription drugs.
  • All shift differentials were increased.

MHT Community CollegeDana Mosher, a professor of building construction at Manchester Community College and an SEA member, was part of the bargaining team.

“I think it’s a pretty good deal,” Mosher said. “With the wage increases, I think the administration here looked at bringing all the members of the bargaining unit closer to the level where we should be. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Faculty received larger cost-of-living adjustments, Mosher said, because data showed they were near the bottom of the nation in pay, and the college system wanted to remain competitive.

“It seems to me as though they needed to bring the faculty up like that so they could continue to attract and maintain high quality educators,” Mosher said.

On insurance, he said the negotiating teams for the union and college collaborated well.

“I think we all did a great job on health care,” he said. “I think health care is a win for us. Both sides worked to craft something that would be a win for everybody.”

Mosher said the bargaining team worked well together.

“I think the team was great, and we worked well with the administration,” Mosher said. “We had our disagreements, but we were able to come to a consensus. It’s important that people don’t come in convinced that their point of view is the only way to do something.”

SEA President Diana Lacey was also quick to praise the work of the bargaining team.

“This is the result of a lot of hard work on their part,” Lacey said. “We congratulate them and the rest of the SEA bargaining unit members at CCSNH on reaching this important agreement.”

The other members of the SEA’s bargaining team were Becky Clerkin from Great Bay Community College, Wendy Parent from Lakes Region Community College, Mike Burnham from Nashua Community College, Irene Aubut and Steve O’Donnell from New Hampshire Technical Institute, Lynn Birmingham from River Valley Community College, and Jeff Schall from White Mountain Community College. SEA staff member Chris Long was the chief negotiator.