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THE

State Employees Association of North Carolina, SEIU Local 2008 1621 Midtown Place, Raleigh, NC 27609 • www.seanc.org 800-222-2758 • 919-833-6436 • Circulation 55,000

July 2015

• Vol. 33, Issue 8

Senate passes radical budget with no pay raises By Jonathan Owens SEANC Director of Communications

The N.C. Senate passed a radical budget on June 19 that included no across-the-board raises for active employees and no cost-of-living adjustments for retirees, among other harmful provisions for state employees. Despite touting a $400 million surplus, senators chose to lower taxes on big corporations rather than respect the hardworking men and women whose public services keep this state moving forward with a much needed pay raise. What’s more, a retiree cost-of-living adjustment could be paid through investment gains without adding to the bottom line. If you’ll recall, the House passed a proposal that reflected a concern for the services provided by state employees, giving a 2-percent raise and 40 hours of bonus leave to active employees and a 2-percent COLAs to retirees. Beyond the lack of across-the-board raises in the Senate budget, some of the most troubling aspects of negotiations surround the State Health Plan. Both the Senate and the House appropriated $0 for the State Health Plan and would allow the plan to spend down reserves, which were accumulated by cost-shifting to state employees and retirees

through premiums, premium surcharges, higher deductibles, higher co-pays and reduced benefits. In essence, state employees have prepaid for the employer contribution to their own health plan. That’s not a benefit at all. To stay within budget, the State Health Plan would be forced to reduce benefits and increase premiums, deductibles and co-pays despite the Board of Trustees’ very conservative funding request. Rather than giving state employees a pay increase, the Senate budget actually cuts overall compensation because of State Health Plan changes. With three plans on the table – from the House, Senate and the Governor – we are surely in for a long debate. A continuing resolution was passed on June 30 to continue government operations beyond the July 1 start of the fiscal year. That resolution expires on August 14. Getting this state back in the black after the recession has largely been paid for on the backs of state employees. Without a meaningful raise, your salary buys less now than it did before. Effectively, that’s a salary decrease. SEANC will be advocating for at least the House’s proposal, which includes a 2-percent raise and 40 hours of bonus leave for state employees as well as a 2-percent costof-living adjustment for retirees. jowens@seanc.org

House votes not to concur on harmful personnel bill

SEANC scored a resounding victory on June 17, when House members stood firmly in support of the integrity of the State Human Resources Act and voted 115-0 after Rep. Jeff Collins (R-Nash), the bill’s sponsor, made a motion not to concur with the Senate’s version of House Bill 495. The bill cedes authority from the General Assembly to the State Human Resources Commission, allowing it to create policies with the effect of law with regard to priority and salary rights of separated employees. Writing the laws on these rights and restrictions of employees has been and should remain the job of the General Assembly. The power given to the Commission by this bill is far too broad and exceeds reasonable limits for agency or commission power over taxpayers. The State Human Resources Commission is not

a truly independent commission. The Office of State Human Resources’ website describes the Commission as adopting policies and practices “with the approval of the Governor.” The agency, and thus the Commission, belong to the governor’s office and answer to him, not the legislature. Ceding this power grants excessive powers to the Commission that should be reserved for the General Assembly. This bill is the antithesis of the regulatory reform efforts taken by the General Assembly in recent years. SEANC lobbyists have spoken with House conference committee members and anticipate that the harmful provision will be removed. House conferees were named just after the June 17 vote, but the Senate had yet to name theirs as of press time.


PUBLIC POLICY

Quotes to Note “Once you take (retiree health care) away, what incentive is there to work for the state?” said Chuck Stone, a SEANC lobbyist on health care issues. We are in a rush to have the worst State Health Plan coverage in the United States of America.” “Neither the House nor Senate budgets appropriate an amount of money adequate to provide for health care inflation ... We hope that the Senate will take the sacrifices and the dedication of public employees into consideration.” Director of Operations Chuck Stone, in an interview with the News & Observer for the June 26 story, “Future NC employees would not receive retirement health care under Senate budget.”

“In the privatization of jobs, when a company comes in, they have to make a profit and how will they make the profit? By cutting services in that department.” District 7 Chairman Henry Belada, in a June 25 Morganton News-Herald story, “Agencies join forces to spread the word.”

Reporters piling up? Did you know you can opt out of receiving The Reporter? Save yourself from clutter by visiting seanc.org/reporteroptout to let us know you no longer want us to send you a copy. You can still read the newsletter online each month by visiting seanc.org/publications

The Reporter, USPS 009-852 (ISSN 1069 2142), is published nine times a year in the months of February, March, April, May, June, July, September, November and December for $2.50 per year, per member, by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, Inc., 1621 Midtown Place, Raleigh, N.C. 27609. Periodicals postage paid at Raleigh and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: THE REPORTER 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609

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The Reporter • July 2015

THE

Jonathan Owens, Editor-In-Chief Beth Dew, Managing Editor Alicia Miller, Associate Editor Amanda Wise, Associate Editor State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place • Raleigh, NC 27609 Telephone 919-833-6436, 800-222-2758 www.seanc.org SEANC accepts advertising material from companies and persons seeking to communicate with SEANC members. Acceptance of this advertising does not indicate SEANC approval or endorsement of any representation that the message, product or service is as represented by the advertiser. SEANC accepts no responsibility and shall not be liable for any use of or reliance on any such information, product or service. SEANC is a private entity and is under no obligation to carry advertisements of any nature, political or otherwise, that may be viewed as contrary to the interests of the association and its membership.


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SCHOLARSHIP

SEANC AWARDS ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIPS Four-year merit — a $1,000 merit scholarship to attend a four-year college or university. Two-year financial — a $500 scholarship to attend a community college, technical school or trade school. Two-year merit — a $500 merit scholarship to attend a community college, technical school or trade school. Member only — a $500 scholarship awarded to SEANC members.

The SEANC Scholarship Foundation and SEANC districts across the state announced they are awarding more than $100,000 in awards; $38,500 of that is being given out by the statewide SEANC Scholarship Foundation to 47 welldeserving students. The five categories of statewide scholarships include: Four-year financial — a $1,000 scholarship to attend a four-year college or university.

Four-Year Financial ($1,000) Moriah Davis Henderson

School: East Carolina University Daughter of District 42 member Felicia Davis Dept. of Health and Human Services

Tucker Lowery Black Mountain

School: Mars Hill University Son of District 2 member Michelle Lowery Dept. of Health and Human Services

Austin Taylor Roanoke Rapids

Brache’ Baucum-Porter Winston-Salem

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Son of District 57 member Crystal Adams Dept. of Public Safety

Traniqua Felton Elizabeth City

School: East Carolina University Daughter of District 69 member Angela Felton Dept. of Health and Human Services

Savannah Rollinson Wanchese

School: Meredith College Daughter of District 68 member Allison Rollinson Dare County Schools

Kaleigh Kemp Lansing

School: East Tennessee State University Daughter of District 8 member Anita Eldreth Dept. of Transporation

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The Reporter • July 2015

Savannah Equils Swan Quarter

School: UNC-Charlotte Son of District 16 member Pamela Baucum Winston-Salem State University

Taylor Easter Winterville

School: East Carolina University Daughter of District 65 member Angela M. Easter East Carolina University

Aaliyah Warren Kinston

School: UNC-Greensboro Daughter of District 66 member Sandra Warren Dept. of Health and Human Services

Shaunee’ McLaurin Laurinburg

School: UNC-Pembroke Daughter of District 18 member Iris Lockhart Dept. of Public Safety

School: N.C. State University Daughter of District 63 member Sherryll Dodge Dept. of Public Safety

Jasmine Blair Fayetteville

School: Campbell University Daughter of District 22 member Elaine Blair Dept. of Public Safety

Anjali Paintal Raleigh

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Daughter of District 45 member Amanjit Paintal Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources

Darnisha Pulley Oxford

School: UNC-Charlotte Daughter of District 21 member Catherine Demming Dept. of Health and Human Services

Dylan Basilice Harrisburg

School: Appalachian State University Son of District 10 member John Basilice Cabarrus County Schools


SCHOLARSHIP Four-Year Merit ($1,000) Alexander Spencer West Jefferson

School: N.C. State University Son of District 8 member Stephanie Spencer Ashe County Schools

Matthew Parker Carthage

School: N.C. State University Son of District 20 member Michael Parker Retiree

School: Boston University Daughter of District 39 member Donna Petherbridge N.C. State University

School: N.C. State University Son of District 42 member John Giorgino Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources

School: Wake Forest University Daughter of District 16 member Pat Hooker Davidson County Schools

Waverlea Brown Goldsboro

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Daughter of District 60 Simone Knight Dept. of Health and Human Services

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Son of District 37 member Zahid Baloch Dept. of Transportation

Connor Davis Cullowhee

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Son of District 1 member Jeffrey Davis Western Carolina University

School: East Carolina University Daughter of District 65 member Ann Weingartz East Carolina University

School: Case Western Reserve University Son of District 44 member Laurie Evans N.C. Museum of Art

Lena Hooker Winston-Salem

Hamza Baloch Cary

Ashley Weingartz Greenville

Peter Evans-Digre Chapel Hill

School: East Carolina University Son of District 5 member Andrea Lovins Retiree

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Daughter of District 67 member Karen Hobbs Administrative Offices of the Courts

Rachel Petherbridge Garner

Francesco Giorgino Raleigh

John-Andrew Lovins Lenoir

Rachel Hobbs New Bern

Nicholas Carroll Wilmington

School: UNC-Wilmington Son of District 62 member Dean Carroll Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources

Katelyn Vause Richlands

School: Lenoir-Rhyne University Daughter of District 61 member Robert Vause Dept. of Transportation

Richard Hall, Jr. Fayetteville

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Son of District 46 member Debra Hall Dept. of Revenue

(Continued on Page 6)

Support the SEANC Scholarship Foundation! Remember to Check 1563 in the Combined Campaign! The SEANC Scholarship Foundation is included as one of the organizations you can contribute to through the State Employees Combined Campaign (SECC). This gives all SEANC members who wish to support the SECC an opportunity to designate a portion or all of their contribution to the SEANC Scholarship Foundation. Please remember to support the SEANC Scholarship Foundation when you contribute your generous and thoughtful donation to the SECC. The SEANC Scholarship Foundation’s designation number is 1563.

The Reporter • July 2015

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SCHOLARSHIP Two-Year Financial ($500)

Two-Year Merit ($500) Mary Parker Rocky Mount

Hayley Hall Bladenboro

School: Nash Community College District 46 member Dept. of Revenue

School: Cape Fear Community College Daughter of District 24 member Sherry Hall N.C. State University

Taylor Bradshaw Connelly Springs

School: Gaston College Daughter of District 6 member Terry Bradshaw Dept. of Health and Human Services

Christopher Diaz Wilmington

School: Cape Fear Community College Son of District 62 member John Diaz Dept. of Transportation

Natasha Farrington Clayton

Cassie Stewart Morganton

School: N.C. Central University Member of District 27 N.C. Central University

School: Lees-McRae College Member of District 6 Dept. of Health and Human Services

School: Wingate University Member of District 20 Sandhills Community College

Megan Ennes Wilmington

School: N.C. State University Member of District 62 N.C. Aquariums

Shauna Burger Gastonia

School: Fayetteville State University Member of District 22 Dept. of Public Safety

School: Capella University Member of District 10 Dept. of Public Safety

Allie Scism Nebo

School: Gardner-Webb University Member of District 7 Dept. of Health and Human Services

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The Reporter • July 2015

Kayla Hardin Marble

School: Tri-County Community College Daughter of District 1 member Lisa Hardin Tri-County Community College

School: Western Piedmont Community College Daughter of District 6 member Lisa Moorefield Dept. of Health and Human Services

Thomas Cowan Williamston

Rashia Norman

Mercedes Fordham Concord

School: Western Piedmont Community College Daughter of District 5 member Gary McKinney Dept. of Public Safety

Karly Moorefield Morganton

Member-Only ($500)

Rosa McAllisterMcRae Raeford

Lanna McKinney Nebo

School: Belmont Abbey College Member of District 13 Central Piedmont Community College

LaNatria Ellis Garland

School: Argosy University Member of District 24 Dept. of Transportation

School: Florence Darlington Technical College Son of District 65 member Bonnie Cowan East Carolina University

Two from SEANC win SEIU scholarships Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEANC’s national affiliate, announced in June that two dependents of SEANC members won SEIU Lottery Scholarships to help further their education. A one-time $1,500 SEIU Lottery Scholarship was awarded to John Fraser of Pittsboro, the son of SEANC member Joseph Fraser of District 25 and a renewable $1,000 SEIU Lottery Scholarship was awarded to Darnisha Pulley of Oxford, the daughter of SEANC District 21 member Catherine Demming. SEANC congratulates these winners and wishes them the best luck in their future endeavors. — By Beth Dew


PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LYNN TUTHILL

MEMBER ACTION

PHOTO BY JOHNNY DAVISON

District 18 members Sharon Thompson and Deborah Christon, shown here with Member Action Coordinator A.J. Albertson, won tickets to Carowinds on June 30 at a membership event at Southern Correctional Institution.

District 5 Chairwoman Sherry McCracken and Johnny Burnette attended lineup at Caldwell Correctional Institution in Lenoir on June 16 to speak about SEANC.

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LYNN TUTHILL

A highlight during District 65’s annual meeting was the presentation of $500 checks to Riley’s Army, Children’s Miracle Network and Greenville Community Shelter. Pictured are Casey Holland of Greenville Community Shelter, Caroline Wilkerson and Elise Ironmonger with Children’s Miracle Network and Kirk and Kelly Philpot with Riley’s Army.

PHOTO BY JOHNNY DAVISON

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY AJ ALBERTSON

District 65 participated in the Pitt County Relay for Life May 15-16 at Boyd Lee Park in Winterville. The team consisted of SEANC members, their families and friends. They raised approximately $2,500 doing various fundraisers throughout the year that will go to the American Cancer Society. Pictured from left are Tanya Cannon, Adorian Bell, Tiffany Cannon, Joanne Tyson, Lynn Tuthill, Martha Latham, Inga Jones, Neichelle Bell, Cathy Collins, Bailey Cannon, LaRanda Boone, Stasia Austin, Debbie Austin, DeAnne Smith, James Chapman, Tiasia Andrews, Dorothy Andrews, Haley Clayborne, Lina Johnson and Lauren Arnold. Team members not pictured include Linda Sawyer, Linda Nelson, Alesia Warren, Kim Gutfield and Kendra McCurdy.

District 2 member Linda Pless with a new member at the DHHS Western Regional Office in Black Mountain.

The Reporter • July 2015

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Periodical Postage PAID Raleigh, NC 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609

Senate cuts retiree health care for future workers By Jonathan Owens

SEANC Director of Communications

It wasn’t enough for the Senate to thumb its nose at current and retired state employees in its out-of-touch budget. It also crippled the state’s chances of hiring good employees in the future, by cutting retiree health care benefits for anyone hired after Jan. 1, 2016. State government wages have been stagnant for years, but good benefits have always been able to draw talented workers. The promise of health care at retirement is a major factor for many prospective workers. This change puts the state at a severe disadvantage in recruiting the best and brightest to work for the state. No one is immediately affected by the change. No current workers would lose their benefits. But future employees, who may be willing to work for less if it meant good health care when they retire, will look elsewhere. SEANC Director of Operations Chuck Stone, an expert on the State Health Plan, was interviewed by several media outlets about the cut. He pointed out several other bad provisions in both the House and Senate and major problems in the health plan in general. The plan provides no help to workers who want to cover

SEANC needs you in Raleigh

SEANC’s Government Relations department is here to help with your visit with lawmakers. All you have to do is let us know you’re coming. Just email tbooe@seanc.org or call 800-222-2758 or 919-810-0272. If you can’t make it to Raleigh, call, write or email your legislators. Visit seanc.org/ legislators to find your representatives’ contact information.

their dependents and spouses. The state has always used the retirement benefit as a response to calls for dependent coverage. Now with this provision, even that benefit would disappear. Both budgets call for the spending of reserves rather than adding funds to pay for the employer contribution next year – reserves that have been built up on the backs of state employees because of premium increases and surcharges. Stone told N.C. Policy Watch, “Premium surcharges and other expenses associated with the State Health Plan have occurred, resulting in a cost shift to members of more than $1,300 on average per state employee – active or retired – each year.” The provision will be a hot topic when the conference committee meets to hash out differences in the House and Senate budget plans.


July 2015 Reporter