Liquor Retail Employees Unify Under New Chapter

From left, Norm Girouard, Cindy Sanborn-Dube and Mike Derderian, all members of the new Chapter 54, pose for a photo after the chapter was approved by the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors.

Challenged by geography, employees of the NH State Liquor Commission have been spread across chapters around the state.  After a sustained and lengthy process, the members will now be more unified.  Last week, the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors approved new NHSLC Retail Store Chapter 54, which is specifically for employees of the Liquor Commission’s retail stores.

“When we were so spread out, we couldn’t really focus on issues that pertained specifically to us,” said Mike Derderian, a store manager in Nashua and formerly in Chapter 17 in the Lakes Region. “We are hoping to have more solidarity now that we have our own chapter.”

The Liquor Commission has been riddled with labor/management issues over the last few years. Working together, employees have brought attention to issues and resolved many of them.

“There’s still work to do,” said Norm Girouard, store 54 manager in Gorham, and formerly a member of Chapter 19. “Now that we have our own chapter we will be able to tackle some issues; by not having to work with numerous Chapter presidents, we will be able to streamline things and get work done in a more unified, focused fashion.”

When asked about the process of securing a new SEA/SEIU Local 1984 chapter, Cindy Sanborn-Dube, formerly a Chapter 41 member on the Seacoast said it had taken a fair bit of time to achieve.

“We had our first meeting with President Gulla in January.  He was supportive of the idea; but we had to survey the Liquor Commission employees,” she said.  “So we put together the petition to see if there was enough interest.  The response rate was great and the support was there in a big way.”

Nearly 65 percent of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members in the NHSLC retail bargaining unit signed and approved the petition.

The next step was to turn the petition results over to the eight presidents of chapters with Liquor Commission employees in their membership.  The presidents all approved the change and the item went before the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors for approval on July 9, 2015.

Now that it’s official, the chapter is in the midst of nominating and electing chapter officers. Ninety-eight percent of Liquor Commission retail employees are members of our union.

Congratulations and hats off to our most recent chapter, Chapter 54!

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