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Welcome to our inaugural edition of the Governor Wentworth Education Association Web site. It is our hope that this web page will provide valuable information to our association members.  Please let us know what you would like on our web page.  Email me at lisetierney@gmail.com
 
 

NEA-NH Endorses Hassan

posted Aug 11, 2012, 7:20 PM by Lise Tierney

Teacher of the Year: “Great teachers lead with both their heads and their hearts."

posted Jul 6, 2012, 6:50 AM by Lise Tierney   [ updated Jul 6, 2012, 6:51 AM ]

Go Joe

posted Jul 3, 2012, 7:24 PM by Lise Tierney   [ updated Jul 3, 2012, 7:25 PM ]


Attention all GWEA Members

posted Apr 10, 2012, 4:37 AM by Lise Tierney

Health Insurance informational meetings have been scheduled.  Please try to attend.  Important information will be shared and all your questions will be answered.
Here are the meeting times:

  • May 14th 3:45 New Durham
  • May 16th 2:40 Kingswood
  • May 16th 4:00 Kingswood
  • May 24th 3:45 Ossipee
  • Room numbers will be posted soon.

Court: NH can't raise vested workers' pension rate

posted Feb 2, 2012, 5:38 PM by Lise Tierney

Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:30 pm | Updated: 8:00 pm, Thu Feb 2, 2012.

Associated Press | 0 comments

A New Hampshire judge has ruled that recent pension reforms illegally raised contribution rates for workers vested in the state retirement system.

Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara's ruling gives a coalition of unions who sued on behalf of the workers and the state 30 days to appeal. The ruling signed Jan. 6 was released Wednesday in a lawsuit over pension changes lawmakers enacted in July that _ among other things _ raised workers' contribution rates.

McNamara said the law change was substantial "because it requires employees, who have already met the requisite service and age requirements, to pay additional amounts _ which may be an amount reserved for other expenses, like mortgage, housing, and food _ without receiving additional benefits."

McNamara dismissed the unions' arguments on other provisions in the pension reforms, including that the hike constituted a tax. McNamara said it was a fee. McNamara disagreed with the unions that workers' pension protections start when they become permanent employees. He said those protections start when the workers are vested at 10 years.

Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro said both sides are still digesting the ruling.

"We won on the important parts," he said. He said McNamara's ruling upheld the law changes that affect workers who aren't vested, including changes in work rules, years of service to full retirement and other changes in calculating benefits.

David Lang, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Hampshire, said the unions that sued _ including his _ are still discussing the decision weighing their options.

Under the law change, teachers, state and municipal workers began paying 7 percent instead of 5 percent last July. Firefighters' contributions rose from 9.3 percent to 11.8 percent. Police pay 11.55 percent, up from 2.3 percent.

Bradley said it isn't clear how much the change will cost if the state loses. The changes were estimated to bring in $100 million over the two-year budget, but McNamara's ruling would only mean returning money to vested employees.

Legislative Update

posted Jan 21, 2012, 3:34 PM by Lise Tierney

Representative Manuse (R-Derry):  "Public Employees are not taxpayers.”

On Thursday January 19, 2012 the House Labor and Rehabilitation Committee heard a number of bills ranging from eliminating the collection of union dues through wage deduction to eliminating public sector collective bargaining altogether. During the testimony on HB 1645, the bill which would make collective bargaining for public sector employees “against public policy, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect”, one of its sponsors,Representative Andrew Manuse stated that "Public sector employees were not taxpayers.”

The committee also heard testimony on HBs 1163 and 1206, two bills which would remove your ability to pay your union dues by wage deduction even if you wanted it done that way. The sponsors of the bill could not explain why union dues different from other expenses which would remained deductible under the law. They also could not explain how they stood for the freedom of individuals to refuse to join a union while supporting legislation to remove the freedom for individuals to pay dues by voluntary deduction. The committee will combine the two bills and vote on them in the future.

While this was going on, in another room the House Municipal and County Government Committee was hearing a bill sponsored by Representative Neal Kurk, (R-Weare) which would require locals to re-open their contracts to reduce the cost of medical benefits if asked to do so by their employers. Under the bill, if amended as requested by Representative Kurk,  a local would have to open its contract to re-negotiate cheaper medical coverage if the school district request it to do so. If the district and local could not agree on reduced costs within 45 days of their first meeting, the last best offer of each side would be placed before an arbitrator who must issue a ruling within 45 days of that hearing. Once the decision is rendered, the local governing body-not the school board- but the voters in the district-could decide to reject the arbitrator’s report. If they do so there would be no changes to the medical provision of the contract. If they accept it then the decision would over-rule the prior contract provision.

On Wednesday January 25, 2012 the House Education Committee will hear HB 1575, relative to alternate course selections for certain pupils. This bill is sponsored by Representative JR Hoell (R-Dunbarton). He is the sponsor of HB 542 which allows parent to opt-out of the curriculum being taught in classrooms. The bill allows students to opt out of classes at school and participate in a parent directed course. A pupil participating in this program is placed in the library or study hall or other appropriate place while class from which they opted-out is being taught. In place of that class the pupil may participate in community service, internships, on-line courses, performing groups..you get the picture.

This alternate course will count toward the required number of credits to graduate.

More information about these bills, and other legislation we are tracking, can be found at our Legislative Dashboard on our website, www.neanh.org. If you wish to communicate with the members of the committee hearing these bills you may also do so by visiting the Dashboard.                           .

Rick Trombly
NEA-NH Director of Advocacy and Policy

To all GWEA members

posted Jan 12, 2012, 3:23 PM by Lise Tierney

TO:                 All NEA-NH Members
FROM:           Rick Trombly, NEA-NH Director of Policy and Advocacy
DATE:           1/12/12
RE:                 NH Legislatures Seek to Eliminate Collective Bargaining

New Hampshire Legislators are seeking to end the right to collectively bargain in NH, making any and all future collective bargaining agreements illegal.

If passed, HB 1645 has the potential to be far worse than what was enacted in Wisconsin, and represents the most serious threat to our profession in decades.

All of your negotiated benefits, including: salary, medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, sick days, the sick leave bank, personal days, retirement benefits, the length of your school year and work day, and all other working conditions would be completely at the discretion of the school district and school board - and could be changed or revoked at any time.

If the House falls short of this goal, they have also introduced other bills to severely limit collective bargaining in the state including those listed below.

We need your help.

We are asking all our members to attend as many of the hearings as they can in a show of support for our rights, and to consider testifying before the committee in opposition to these bills. We can help you prepare to testify if you are interested. 

Contact us here if you can attend or testify at any of these hearings listed below.

JANUARY 19, 2012, Rooms 305-307, Legislative Office Building, Concord, NH

9:00 a.m.          HB 1163, prohibiting the withholding union dues from wages.
                         
9:01 a.m.          HB 1206, prohibiting the state from withholding union dues from the wages of state employees.
                         
11:30 a.m.        HB 1570, relative to the duty of a public employee labor organization to represent employees who elect not to join or to pay dues or fees to the employee organization.
                         
1:15 p.m.          HB 1663-FN-L, relative to payment of union fees by non-members.
                         
3:00 p.m.          HB 1645-FN, prohibiting all public employees from participating in collective bargaining.

These hearings represent the beginning of the process to enact HB 1645. We hope to show the bill’s sponsors and committee members that eliminating collective bargaining in New Hampshire hurts the hard-working middle-class families that make this state a great place to live and raise children. They need to see from the very first hearing that enacting HB 1645 will be a difficult struggle that will damage the quality of education, impact the safety of all citizens and endanger their political careers. Please join us in this effort. 

HB 542

posted Jan 12, 2012, 10:53 AM by Lise Tierney

The New Hampshire House and Senate voted today to override Governor Lynch’s veto of HB 542. That bill requires school districts to adopt procedures that allow parents to provide a district with alternative course material which shall be taught to their children when the parent finds the teacher’s material to be objectionable. The law does not define the word “objectionable.”
 
The law in New Hampshire now gives every parent an absolute veto over what is taught in the classroom.  Public school children in New Hampshire traditionally score well on national tests. That will be threatened because any parent can refuse to allow their child to be taught subjects which will later appear on these tests. Further, the cost of teaching these alternative material is passed on to taxpayers with no reimbursement from the state or the parent. The parent pays only the cost of the material , not the additional instruction  needed to teach it.
 
In the classroom, educators will no longer have common knowledge or curriculum.  NEA-NH worked to defeat this bill but the supporters who believed it was a parental rights issue ultimately prevailed.
 
Rick Trombly
Director of Advocacy and Policy
NEA-NH

403b Workshop

posted Jan 5, 2012, 12:36 PM by Lise Tierney

GWEA is hosting an informational workshop in order to educate all GWRSD contracted employees about 403b retirement savings opportunities available to you through payroll deductions. You can meet representatives from six different investment companies to ask questions, browse brochures, and get contact information. This information is not available at the SAU, so this is a good opportunity to see what is out there with some one-stop shopping.

WHO will be there? Representatives from six investment companies will be at the workshop to answer questions, educate, and provide contact information.

            Ameriprise Financial

            Horace Mann

            ING

            MetLife

            Midland National

            New York Life

WHAT is 403b? 403b is a tax deferred retirement savings plan. Investments are deducted from paychecks and may be in increments as little as $25 per paycheck. The representatives at this workshop can explain how you can save on your taxes while investing in your retirement.

WHEN is the workshop? The workshop will be an open house format on Thursday, January 26 from 2:30 – 6:00. Come when you can and stay for as long as you would like to.

WHERE is the workshop? The workshop will be held at the Kingswood Regional Middle School cafeteria.

WHY should I be interested in 403b? Many educators are worried about the pension reform happening at the state level right now. This is an opportunity to learn about your financial future and how you can take matters into your own hands.

Light refreshments will be served.

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

posted Jan 4, 2012, 11:24 AM by Lise Tierney

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