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
• Vol. 33, Issue 7
House budget includes pay raises, extra leave By Jonathan Owens After a whirlwind week of committee meetings and floor debate, the N.C. House passed a budget in the wee hours of May 22 that included a 2-percent pay increase for state employees and a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees. SEANC members and lobbyists were also able to convince legislators to add 40 hours of extra bankable leave into the budget that passed with bipartisan support on a 93-23 vote. While the budget sustained most state jobs, a few items are troubling, specifically the 50 administrative positions in the Department of Transportation which will likely face outsourcing. But the budget dance isn’t over yet. State employees face their biggest challenge with the Senate’s proposal, which is slated to be released in mid-June and will likely differ greatly from the House’s proposal. Senate Leader Phil Berger outlined his own list of priorities recently with little mention of state employees. He wants to double the state’s reserves, raising the rainy day fund to a minimum of $1 billion. He also wants to cut taxes and set aside $350 million for Medicaid reform. The Senate will debate and pass its budget presumably by the end of June, setting up the usual scenario with three
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY SUZANNE BEASLEY
Director of Communications
SEANC members and lobbyists worked until the wee hours on May 22, when the N.C. House passed its budget proposal after midnight that included pay raises for active employees and cost-of-living adjustments for retirees.
separate proposals — from the House, Senate and the governor — to be considered while the legislature irons out a compromise, which Gov. McCrory will then be asked to sign. The assumed goal is to have the entire process completed by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. SEANC staff will continue to lobby for at least what’s in the House budget, and need your help. We’d love to have you come down to the legislature and state your case for your needs in person. email@example.com
Highlights of the N.C. House’s Budget Plan Pay • Funds a 2-percent pay increase and 40 extra hours of bankable leave for most state employees; funds a step pay increase for state troopers, assistant and deputy clerks, magistrates and other employees with a salary step plan. • Places funds in reserves to implement a custody-level pay plan effective January 1, 2016 for Correctional Officers such that Correctional Officers at minimum, medium, and close custody facilities are compensated on different salary grades. Retirement • Funds a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees. • Fully funds the Annual Required Contribution to the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System.
Health Plan • Fully funds the employer portion of the State Health Plan, but funding is subject to benefit reductions for the next biennium. Public Safety • Funds 66 positions at Central Prison Mental Health Facility to open 72 additional beds. • Establishes mental health behavior treatment units at eight close custody prisons. Four units are effective January 1, 2016, and four units are effective January 1, 2017. Transportation • Cuts 50 filled administrative positions to outsourcing. • Language inserted prohibiting consultants from bidding on projects for one year.
GET INVOLVED With the budget debate entering the home stretch, SEANC needs you at the General Assembly now more than ever! Many members have already taken the challenge. SEANC’s Member Strength Committee came to the General Assembly in May to speak with lawmakers about the need for pay raises for active state employees and cost-of-living adjustments for retirees just before the House voted on its proposal. The group had productive meetings with representatives on both sides of the political spectrum, and handed out cards detailing just how far state pay has lagged behind the cost of goods and services over the past five years. Their hard work paid off; the House budget included raises and bonus leave! All members are encouraged to talk to legislators in person at the legislature or by phone. SEANC staff can assist you with scheduling meetings and ensuring your conversations are productive by providing you with the most current information. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-222-2758 to let us know you are coming. — by Jonathan Owens
PHOTO BY BETH DEW
SEANC needs you at the General Assembly!
ALERT: SEANC to close post office box on July 1 SEANC will close its post office address (PO Box 27727, Raleigh, NC 27611) for good on June 30. After that date, any correspondences sent to that address may be lost. Please mail all membership items, dues payments or any other SEANC-related mail directly to: SEANC Headquarters 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609
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
The Reporter • June 2015
Above, District 60 member Hiawatha Jones speaks with Sen. Louis Pate (R-Wayne) about state employee pay raises. At left, District 47 Chairman Danny Rose discusses state employee pay raises and retiree cost-of-living adjustments with Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston).
Jonathan Owens, Editor-In-Chief Beth Dew, Associate 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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919-836-9993 or Toll Free: 1-800-788-7771 email@example.com The Reporter • June 2015
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LYNN TUTHILL
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LYNN COTE
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY A.J. ALBERTSON
PHOTO BY BOB GIBBARD
District 65 volunteered during the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration Broadcast May 29-31 and helped raise $1,083,593 during the weekend, all of which will benefit eastern North Carolina and provide much needed programs, equipment and services for children that are being treated in the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center. Pictured from left are District 65 members Debbie Austin, James Willis, District 66 member Sandra Dunn and District 65 member Lynn Tuthill, who volunteered during the telethon.
District 3 Chairperson Pat Reighard and District 3 member Bob Gibbard signed up Dr. Sheri N. Everts, Chancellor of Appalachian State University, for a SEANC membership on April 28. She also agreed to send a letter to all ASU employees encouraging them to join.
District 21 members held a luncheon for current and perspective members on May 20.
Show off your district
Submit a picture from a district activity (fundraisers, membership drives, advocacy efforts, etc.) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: SEANC c/o The Reporter 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 Be sure to include names of all members pictured as well as when and where it was taken. Also include any important information about the event.
The Reporter • June 2015
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LARESHA FORTSON
Members of District 22 recruited new members at a probation and parole event in Spring Lake. District 39 Chairman Doug Skinner speaks to a potential member at an Ice Cream Social for current and perspective members at N.C. State’s Avent Ferry Rd. Complex on May 21.
MEMBER ACTION Did you know you can earn money by helping SEANC grow? Right now through the end of July, the statewide membership committee has decided to pay $25 to each member for every five new members they recruit. A perfect opportunity for you to recruit is just around the corner. SEANC will hold a statewide recruiting day on June 16. The committee would like to have at least one event in each of the 52 districts. Contact your district chairperson to see if your district has planned an event already. If it has, come out and join the effort — and sign up your five new members! If not, work with your chairperson to plan an event of your own! Another way to recruit is to contact SEANC’s Member Action Department and have one of our team members come to your worksite and deliver a legislative and membership update to your coworkers. Visit seanc.org/RecruiterResources today for more information on recruiting! — by Jonathan Owens
PHOTO BY AJ ALBERTSON
Earn money by helping SEANC continue to grow
SEANC Super Recruiter and District 20 member Ron Fields signs up his 300th new member of the year in late April.
Welcome New Members!
SEANC has added 872 new members since March 1 from a wide range of agencies, including: • Stanly Community College • UNC Hospitals • Office of Information • Department of Administration Technology Services • Department of Agriculture • Asheville-Buncombe Technical • Wake Technical Community • N.C. Wildlife Commission College College • Department of Commerce • Appalachian State University • Bladen Community College • Wilson Technical Community • Department of Cultural College • East Carolina University Resources • Durham Technical Community • Department of Environment and Natural Resources
• Fayetteville State University
• Department of Health & Human Services
• N.C. Central University
• Department of Insurance
• N.C. A&T State University • N.C. State University
• Department of Justice
• N.C. School of Science and Math
• Department of Labor
• UNC-Chapel Hill
• Department of Public Instruction
• Department of Public Safety • Department of Revenue • Department of Transportation • Admin. Offices of the Courts
• Fayetteville Technical Community College • Haywood Technical Community College • James Sprunt Technical Community College • Mayland Technical Community College
• McDowell Technical Community College
• Western Carolina University
• Randolph Community College
• Winston-Salem State University
• Southwestern Technical Community College
• Schools in Alamance, Ashe, Bladen, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Chapel Hill/Carrboro City, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chatham, Clinton, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Durham, Gaston, Granville, Guilford, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Johnston, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Union, Wake, Weldon, Wilkes, Wilson and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. • State Employees’ Credit Union • Active Military
The Reporter • June 2015
Spend the day at Water Country USA!
Are you looking for a fun way to spend a hot summer day in the sun and the water? Then look no further than Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Va.! Fun for the whole family, Water Country USA offers thrilling slides, tubes and chutes, excitementand surprise-filled splash pads, the ever-popular wave pool, plenty of lounge chairs and everyone’s favorite — not one, but two lazy rivers! With names like Jet Scream, Big Daddy Falls, Aquazoid, Colossal Curl, Meltdown, Malibu Pipeline, Rampage, Nitro Racer, Wild Thang and Vanish Point, you are sure to be wowed and thrilled. There’s also Rock ‘n’ Roll Island, Surfer’s Bay Wave Pool and Cow-A-Bunga, H20 UFO and Kritter Koral for the smaller children. Add to that exciting dive shows, plenty of places to dry off, lockers for rent and lots of snack options, it’s the perfect place to spend a day or two this summer with your family. Discounted tickets are available for purchase both online at seanc.org/watercountryusa and through the SEANC office by calling 800-222-2758. You can purchase adult tickets for $34 and child tickets for $30. You can also purchase a two-day flex ticket for Water Country USA and Busch Gardens for $73.
The Reporter • June 2015
Where to get your tickets
• Tickets can be purchased online by credit card at seanc.org/watercountryusa or by calling the SEANC Headquarters (919-833-6436 or toll-free 800-222-2758) and speaking to a Member Benefits Program Specialist. • Tickets are not instantly available and will be mailed or emailed Monday through Friday from the SEANC Headquarters within 3 to 5 business days of your order being received and processed.
Quotes to Note “We’re very happy about it, and we’re happy to see that there is a two percent pay increase in the budget. We would just like to sweeten it a little bit more.” District 47 member and Insurance Board of Trustees Chairwoman Doranna Anderson, in a story “NC House Rolls Out State Spending Proposal” on News 14 Carolina on May 18.
“If you take out ‘the most qualified,’ and all you have to do is meet the minimum qualifications, it sort of flies in the face of what that section is supposed to be about, which is preventing politics. The taxpayers deserve the most qualified employee for every single state job.” SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins, in a May 4 story in The Insider on proposed changes to the State Human Resources Act.
“We’re always concerned about knee-jerk reactions to move towards privatization.” SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins, in a May 19 WRAL story “Officials want to give private firm keys to state motor fleet.”
FROM SOCIAL MEDIA I voted for the 2015-2016 Budget because of the salary provision for educators, SEANC and retirees. There are issues that give me heart burn. A tweet from Rep. Bobbie Richardson (D-Franklin) (@BobbieR26045199) on May 22.
Thank you SEANC for representing us! Our population is very demanding and stressful to work with but we love them all and do our very best for their life quality every day, every shift. It’s wonderful to be rewarded and makes us feel appreciated! District 2 member Melanie Reising on a post on SEANC’s Facebook page after the House budget passed.
Good job, SEANC! You made an impact. Thank you! Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), on a post on SEANC’s Facebook page after the House budget passed.
I’m just thankful to have received something. Much better than $0.00. District 7 member Joshua Hildebran on a post on SEANC’s Facebook page after the House budget passed.
Thanks for your efforts on our behalf! District 2 member Steve Noblitt on a post on SEANC’s Facebook page after the House budget passed. The Reporter • June 2015
Periodical Postage PAID Raleigh, NC 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609
Harmful personnel bill heads to Senate floor By Jonathan Owens
SEANC Director of Communications
Though the state budget always gets the spotlight for SEANC, another bill just as important to state employees is making its way through the Senate. House Bill 495 was requested by Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration to change several key aspects of statutes protecting state personnel. SEANC had serious problems with the bill when it changed in a House committee in May from a simple technical corrections bill to include changes to due process, hiring and RIF rights procedures and political hirings provisions. SEANC lobbyists were able to work with House members to remove several parts of the bill to which we objected, but serious problems remained. It still left the door wide open to political hirings and opened parts of performance management documents to public scrutiny that should remain closed. When it moved to the Senate, SEANC was able to convince three senators to call for amendments during the Senate Pensions and Retirement & Aging Committee meeting on May 27. One amendment would have changed a part of the bill that would essentially give the State Human Resources Commission the ability to set policies governing state employment. This
constitutes “lawmaking” and circumvents the normal legislative process. It also violates the state constitution, which states that only legislators have the authority to create laws. Another amendment dealt with a portion of the bill that would open performance records up to hiring managers when a state employee applies for a different position in state government. The third proposed amendment advocated for the state to hire the “most qualified” candidate for a job rather than just someone who is qualified. All three amendments failed in the committee, and the bill passed with a favorable report through voice vote though there was controversy over whether or not it had actually received a majority of the votes. No one called for a paper vote, so the bill was sent to the Senate floor. The floor vote on the bill has been scheduled and withdrawn twice (May 28 and June 3). SEANC lobbyists continue to work with senators to amend the bill to a version that is fair to state employees. Please read the weekly Legislative Update, published at seanc.org/ legislativeupdate every Friday during the General Assembly session, to keep up with the bill’s activity. email@example.com