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NH House Budget Committee Attacks State Employees Collective Bargaining Agreement 

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Statement Following NH House Finance Committee Removing Funding Employees from Budget


The NH House Finance Committee is recklessly and irresponsibly recommending severe budget cuts.  No one and nothing has been spared. Last week they recommended cutting the NH Dept. of Transportation’s budget to the point that our roads will be unsafe; and practically eliminating our state’s safety net for NH’s most vulnerable people; and today they are attacking the public employees who work to fulfill the promise of the NH way of life. We are very disappointed with the actions taken by the House Finance committee this morning – removing funding for the state employees’ 2015-2017 collective bargaining agreement from the budget.


“This contract was a modest agreement reached in good faith with the Governor for the hardworking state employees and the legislature should honor that agreement,” said Richard Gulla, president of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “This is a deliberate attack on the working families of the state and on the collective bargaining process by the House Republicans.”


Recognizing that the state budget process is still continuing, we hope that ultimately the legislature will fund this fair agreement for the dedicated individuals who keep our roads and bridges passable, operate health and safety agencies, protect our tourism industry, and keep our economy moving. 

State Employees Association President Richard Gulla’s Testimony Opposing Proposed Amendment to Gut DOT Funding

 Concord, NH – At a public hearing earlier this morning, Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 194 testified in opposition to a non-germane amendment to HB357.

Rich Gulla (SEA/ SEIU 1984 President) The seemingly innocuous bill was originally drafted for consumer protection – to extend the grace period for making name changes  (through marriage or divorce) to your driver’s license. A proposed amendment to the law now calls for placing the NH Department of Transportation’s budget into this bill and cutting its budget by over $40 million, which will result in limited services, a serious threat to public safety, and the loss of employment for at least 321 DOT workers. The bill’s original sponsor, Rep. Myler, Merrimack District 10, registered such distress with the changes made to his bill that he asked the Finance Committee if there was any way to have his name disassociated from it saying that the proposed amendment goes against his integrity and the legacy of his many years in the legislature.

Gulla was one of a dozen individuals providing testimony in opposition to the amendment.  No one spoke in support of it.

President Gulla’s testimony in opposition to the amendment follows:

Good morning Madame Chairwoman, members of the committee, my name is Richard Gulla, and I am president of the State Employees’ Association, SEIU Local 1984. We represent the majority of state employees across the state and for today’s purpose, that includes the hardworking women and men at the NH Department of Transportation.

Joining me today is Brian Hawkins, government relations coordinator for the SEA.

This morning I am here to testify in opposition to proposed Amendment 0855h to House Bill 357. In addition to cutting $22 million from the Governor’s proposed budget for an agency already operating as lean as possible, this bill would cut specifically from personnel an additional $41 million over the biennium. We believe these cuts would have a devastating effect on the Department and for our state.

People are at the heart of this department; they are what make the New

Hampshire DOT work. Without them, this department cannot deliver the critical services we saw over this winter, nor can they keep our roads and bridges safe and maintained throughout the year. DOT workers quite literally keep New Hampshire moving.

Our New Hampshire economy and our overall success thrive on our roads being safe and maintained. Business depends on moving their goods in a timely manner and our tourism industry needs customers to be able to get to their establishments: the restaurant and outlets in Conway, the skiers at Waterville Valley, the hikers headed to Monadnock, and the weekend getaway seekers at the Mount Washington just to name a few. And let’s not forget the workers who, each and every day, need to be able to get to work or they don’t get paid and the business owners who suffer as well when employees can’t make it in.

Over the years, DOT workers have shown this state what they can do despite the dwindling numbers they have seen over the past decade. Two years ago when the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge malfunctioned, ships were lining up in the water on either side of the bridge waiting for the repairs to be finished so they could reach their destinations. Several of the ships contained fuel oil, much needed due to

the frigid temperatures. Companies including Sprague Oil and Irving Oil were faced with the challenge of deciding whether to continue to await the repairs or to send the ships to Boston and then drive the oil up to NH.

It was DOT Bridge crews that came to the rescue. Facing brutally cold conditions with bitter wind chills, an extremely confined work space, a rusty bridge and having to wear life preservers and safety straps while suspended over frigid water with strong currents; sunup to sundown they were doing this work for several days with no backup crew yet got the bridge working and passable.

I am also reminded of the brutal winter we have faced this year and the story my friend Dennis Ford, a highway maintenance supervisor from District 2, told us and which the Governor referenced in her budget address. A gentleman stopped to thank Dennis and his crew for doing such an exemplary job of keeping the roads clear this winter so that he and his wife could make the trek from Meredith to Dartmouth-Hitchock Medical center and back for her cancer treatment. For his family and so many others, being able to count on a strong and well-maintained department of transportation means the world.

This, I would submit to you, is public service at its best ladies and gentlemen.

These are vital services that we must preserve. For too long we have sought one time funding sources and cut staff to patch up the issues we face with the highway fund. We can do that no longer. We must raise the revenue we need now.

I strongly urge this committee to oppose this amendment and fund the NH DOT and the Department of Safety so that we keep our state moving. Thank you.

Legislators Look to Decimate DOT Budget

House Finance Committee Inserts Last Minute Amendment to Cut DOT Funding

Bill amended to cut over $40 million from DOT budget


Concord, NH, March 13, 2015 – Late last evening, the NH House Finance Committee proposed amending HB357 (formerly a bill about drivers’ licenses) by gutting its contents and changing it to require at least $40 million in budget cuts to the Department of Transportation over the next two years.  This would translate to approximately 300 layoffs in the Department.


If this bill, as amended, is enacted it will jeopardize public safety in the state.  Dedicated and hard-working DOT employees keep our roads safe and passable throughout the year. This winter, day after day, night after night, they have done a heroic job of making sure the roads are safe for emergency vehicles.  With such devastating cuts to the budget it will be a struggle to keep Granite State roads clear enough for police and firefighters to respond to crisis situations; schools to be open; or NH citizens to travel to and from work. This bill would put all NH families in harm’s way.


Similarly, DOT will soon begin repairing the frost heaves and other damage the severe weather has caused our roads, highways, and bridges.  If this important work does not happen, roads will deteriorate to the point that commerce is adversely affected – thus the state economy will take a hit.


To further complicate matters, the legislature’s former plan of creating new revenue to offset DOT budget cuts has fallen by the wayside because of lack of support from legislators.


HB357 will receive a public hearing this coming Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in rooms 210-211.  Concerned citizens should consider attending the hearing to oppose this irresponsible and potentially dangerous amendment.

State Employees Ratify New Two-year Contract


Concord, NH, March 5, 2015 –SEA/SEIU Local 1984 announced that the NH state employees voted to ratify a new two-year collective bargaining agreement with the state.

By an overwhelming 95% majority, the members accepted the terms of the agreement that was reviewed and recommended by the union’s Collective Bargaining Senate on February 5.

Key points in the new two-year contract include:

·         A 2% wage increase in January 2016; and a 2% wage increase in January 2017

·         Changes in healthcare to save the state $10 million over the life of the contract

·         An increase in dental contributions

·         An increase in term life benefits

·         A provision that employees who are funded by federal dollars would be furloughed rather than laid off if the federal government shuts down

“I am pleased the members have ratified the terms of the collective bargaining agreement,” said Rich Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984.  “I believe this is a fair contract and we owe our Master Bargaining Team members a great deal of credit and gratitude for the many hours they devoted to the negotiations process.  I also wish to thank the state’s bargaining team for their efforts to craft an agreement that works for our members and works for the state of New Hampshire.”

“The next step in the process is for the legislature to fund the agreement in the 2016-2017 state budgets,” said Jim Nall, the chair of the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee.  “In our last contract negotiations, we agreed too many changes that saved the state millions of dollars in health benefits for state employees,” said Nall.  This contract continues those savings which will lower state expenditures by $10 million during the next biennium.

“We are looking to the legislature to pass a budget that supports the diligent and reliable state employees who work every day to make our state great” said Gulla.  “For instance, the amazing employees at the Department of Transportation have provided high quality public services this winter in keeping our roads safe and passable for millions of NH citizens and visitors.  This not only ensures public safety, it also allows the thousands of NH businesses and our state, counties and municipalities to carry on with minimal disruption during severe weather conditions.  This is just one example of the dedication and value of services provided by the men and women who have devoted their working careers to state service.”  

The new contract provides modest wage increases while providing changes to help make the state more efficient and ultimately saves money in a tight budget cycle.

“I thank the SEA members for ratifying this agreement and everything that they do for the people of New Hampshire, and I look forward to working with legislators from both parties to ensure that this agreement is reflected in our biennial budget,” Governor Hassan said in a statement released this afternoon.

State Employees Association (SEIU 1984) Bargaining Senate Approves Tentative Agreement On New Contract

SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH – Last evening the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Master Bargaining Team presented the details of a potential tentative agreement to the organization’s Collective Bargaining Senate (CBS).  Following Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee Chair, Jim Nall’s presentation of new changes to the contract, the standing room only crowd rewarded the team with a standing ovation.

Following a lengthy Q&A session, the CBS overwhelmingly voted to adopt the proposal as a Tentative Agreement and to send it out to the general membership for a vote with the recommendation to ratify.

“This team worked long and hard to get to this point,” said Jim Nall.  “I can tell you this is the best team I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  They dug in, they gave each point due diligence, and they kept their cool throughout this long process.  And, I assure you the fruit of their labor is not a concessionary Tentative Agreement .”

“I congratulate the members of the bargaining team for a job well done,” said Rich Gulla, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 president.  “I think few people realize the level of commitment that serving fellow union members in this capacity takes.  It takes countless hours of their time; it involves hundreds of hours of research and discussion; and it involves potentially difficult conversations with the state’s team. I salute each member for their dedication and the Tentative Agreement they have brought forward.”

“I would also like to commend the state’s Bargaining Team for their efforts,” said Gulla. “Working together, the respective bargaining teams arrived at a fair contract that supports state workers for their many daily contributions to the citizens and visitors of the state.  The Tentative Agreement will now go to our members at large and if it is expediently ratified, the changes will be incorporated in the Governor’s budget proposal.”

Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

“Our hard-working state employees and the critical services that they provide make a positive impact on the lives of New Hampshire’s citizens each and every day. Despite a smaller workforce with fewer positions and a higher vacancy rate since 2008, they continue to serve our citizens well and do more with less in the face of ever-tightening budgets.

“This is a fair agreement for both employees and taxpayers that will provide modest cost-of-living raises for employees that will be included as part of our upcoming biennial budget. In addition, we have maintained the coordination of health care that strengthens the well-being of state employees and helps generate significant savings for the state, while protecting both parties should a potential ‘Cadillac tax’ on health insurance benefits cause undue financial impact.

“This agreement is another important step toward maintaining fiscal responsibility while supporting our hard-working state employees, and I thank the SEA leadership team and state negotiators for their good-faith efforts to find common ground and reach a deal that is fair to all parties.”

Key points include:

  • A 2% wage increase in January 2016; and a 2% wage increase in January 2017
  • No increases in healthcare deductibles, co-payments or prescriptions
  • The immortalization of lay-off procedures
  • A small increase in dental contributions, which will result in significantly increased coverage
  • An increase in term life benefits at no cost to employees
  • Moving longevity pay from December to November
  • A footwear reimbursement for applicable positions of up to $200 per two year contract cycle

The agreement is subject to ratification by a vote of SEA membership, and the changes will be incorporated in the Governor’s upcoming budget proposal.

The Tentative Agreement will now be mailed to all members of the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Executive Branch bargaining unit with a ballot for their vote.  SEA/SEIU Local 1984 represents the majority of state employees

State Employees Association Hosts Appreciation Event for State Employees

Governor Maggie Hassan Proclaims
October 1 State Employees’ Appreciation Day

Tow Plow - Turnpikes

Concord, NH, September 25, 2014 – Next Wednesday, rain or shine, the spotlight will be on the public servants who deliver critical services to the citizens of NH.  Sponsored by the State Employees’ Association, the event is taking place at the State House from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with a brief presentation beginning at noon.  The event is open to the general public.

If you have ever wondered just what NH state employees do each day, this is a great way to learn.  A dozen state departments and scores of programs will be on hand to exhibit and provide information about their respective department’s responsibilities and how they can assist Granite Staters.

The Department of Transportation is bringing along a mini “touch a truck” event that should be a big hit with kids of all ages.  They will be showcasing a 75’ long Tow Plow truck, a Service Patrol Truck and a Pavement Van.  You can learn how each of these pieces of equipment is used.

The NH Liquor Commission will be featuring its “Summer Fun” van, even though summer has officially ended.  NH Employment Security will be on hand to provide information much like they do at their official employment fairs. And, NH Banking Department will be there to talk with folks about foreclosure prevention.  These are just a few of the many things you can learn about during the event.

Governor Maggie Hassan has proclaimed the day as State Employees’ Appreciation Day and many local Concord businesses are offering special discounts to state workers.  Puppy Love, a popular downtown hot dog stand will be offering a special discounted lunch to state workers on site at the capital. The stand will not be in its usual downtown space; instead it will be at the State House. SEA/SEIU Local 1984 will be providing complimentary ice cream (from Arnie’s) to state workers, as well.  State employees are asked to provide their ID to receive the discounts.

Service Patrol I-95Participating State Agencies and Organizations

·         Community College System of NH

·         Department of Administrative Services

·         Department of Agriculture

·         Department of Corrections

·         Department of Environmental Services

·         Department of Fish & Game

Pavement Van·         Department of Health & Human Services

o   Asthma Program

o   Healthcare Associated Infections

o   Public Health Lab

o   Tobacco Prevention and Control Program

·         Department of Resources and
Economic Development

·         Department of Safety

·         Department of Transportation

·         Operation Santa Claus

·         NH Banking Department

·         NH Employment Security

·         NH State Liquor Commission

·         State Employees Association/SEIU Local 1984

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

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.

Arbitrator Orders State to Make Workers Whole

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

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

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.

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