NEA New Hampshire Scott McGilvray testified on three bills before House Committees this morning, HB 253, HB 347 and HB 324.
HB 253 would require all new public charter school applications to provide an educational mission statement that includes details of the specific purpose and goals of the school. The educational mission statement shall “count for not less than 25 percent in the criteria for evaluating a chartered public school application. The mission statement shall make a clear and documented case that the proposed school will meet a need not currently being met in the school district in which it will be located by broadening learning opportunities for an underserved student population, offering an alternative curriculum, employing an alternative and innovative methodology, or some combination of the same.
NEA-NH Supports HB 253
HB 347 would allow the Department of Labor to allow ESP and other hourly employees an option to be paid in 21 equal school year installments, or 26 equal calendar year installments provided such an arrangement is negotiated into a collective bargaining agreement.
NEA-NH Supports HB 347
HB 324 permits the members of a union to vote to decertify the union if membership falls below 50 percent. This bill also permits employers to require such a vote if the number of employees who pay union dues falls below 50 percent of the total number of employees.
NEA-NH Opposes HB 324
President McGilvray’s testimony for each bill appears below:
NEA-New Hampshire is in full support of HB 253 in requiring all public charter schools to submit a mission statement when they submit their application.
Having been a certified teacher in NH public schools and a member of 3 accreditation teams for NEASC which accredits schools in New England, the mission statement of any school is the foundation and pillar for all work and the starting point for their evaluation.
Making a clear and definitive statement of what the school’s goals and purpose is, is not only necessary but vital when you set out to teach young children. Without clear goals and purpose, knowing what you truly want to accomplish at the end of the day is impossible.
The NEA-NH supports public charter schools in New Hampshire and encourages charter schools to partner with the public schools in the community in which they are located.
Schools today teach much more than the 3 R’s and public charter schools are valuable when they supplement the local public school and meet a purpose not currently being met by the public school, especially with the focus today on STEAM education.
It is just basic common sense that every school, whether public or charter, have a clear mission and purpose, and all schools be held to the same standard and requirements.
I ask you to support HB 253.
NEA-NH fully supports HB 347 which looks to allow, through mutual agreed upon negotiations in a collective bargaining agreement, to even out hourly school employees pay throughout the school year.
NEA-NH represents over 3,500 ESP members like para professionals, custodians and food service workers who are paid hourly, unlike teachers who are salaried employees.
We met with the Commissioner of Labor and 2 members of his staff to vet the language and gain their support for this legislation. The NH Department of Labor fully supports this legislation.
A few elements of this bill are important to highlight. First, its provisions have to be negotiated and mutually agreed upon by both the employees or bargaining unit members and the local school district.
Secondly, any employee that does not want to receive their pay in this manner can opt out and receive weekly pay for exactly the hours worked that week.
For example, if there was a holiday on Monday and the employee had the day off they would only receive payment for the 4 days they actually worked instead of leveling out their pay over the entire school year.
Today you will hear testimony from two of our Uniserv Directors who work in school districts as Chief Negotiators of Collective Bargaining Agreements for NEA-NH and they can speak firsthand to this issue.
Additionally, we have written testimony from a number of our ESP members to the issue of leveling out their pay throughout the school year. These members could not be here today because they are working with students in schools across the state.
House Bill 324 is unnecessary and seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
The first section of the bill is unnecessary. The second section anticipates a problem that does not exist.
Currently, RSA 273-A:1 (a) provides that, for public employees, when 30% of the employees in the bargaining unit “assert that the employee organization which has been certified by the board, is no longer the representative of the majority of employees in the bargaining unit”, they can file a petition to request an election to decertify the bargaining unit. Because this is current law, there no need for the change proposed by this bill.
Additionally, this section of the bill presents a problem as it provides for a decertification election when union membership falls below 50% of the entire workforce, not just the members of the bargaining unit.
Using the total number of employees, even those who are not eligible to be a part of the union, does not make sense.
Employees who are not eligible to join the union did not get a vote to establish the union, so why do they get a vote to decertify it? These employees are not even subject to the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement.
This section also creates a problem in that there are some union locals that meet the 10 member minimum threshold to organize, but that do not even come close to equaling 50% of the employer’s workforce.
For example, a school district might have ten ESP members who voted unanimously to form a union and who represent one hundred per cent of the bargaining unit, but, after taking into consideration the number of teachers hired by the district, the ESP local does not equal 50% of the district workforce. The result is that local could always be subject to decertification votes called by the employer.
Section two of the bill would also be an administrative nightmare for employers and be an intrusion into the private affairs of union members. Payroll records do not accurately reflect union membership. This bill does not delineate how an employer would know when dues payers fall below 50%.
Some of our members elect to pay dues through dues deduction, others pay directly, or their dues are paid by a third party. What business is it of the employer who pays a member’s dues? What if the member refuses to divulge this information to the employer? In short, NEA-NH believes payment of dues is a private matter between the bargaining unit and the member.
This section suffers from the same problem as section one as it defines the standard for decertification elections as 50% of the employer’s total number of employees, and not of those eligible for membership or defined as a bargaining unit.
It is difficult to determine the motivation for legislation such as this. On its face it is clearly an attempt to bust unions and serves no other public policy or educational interest. We would ask the committee to kill this legislation at the first opportunity.
If, instead, the committee wishes to spend its time considering measures such as this, I would ask that you inquire as to what other reasons could exist for this bill to be introduced. NEA-NH will be more than willing to assist in this inquiry.