History of The NDPSA – 1998: A Dark Year

During 1998 it was becoming apparent that SEIU was losing interest in representing state employees. It was determined after several meetings that something was going on behind the scenes that wasn’t being shared with the NHPA or the newly appointed executive SEIU Local 1864 Director Kathy Naumann. After it was learned that SEIU was negotiating with SNEA/AFSCME to bail out on state employees and automatically transfer all automatic payroll deductions to SNEA, the NHPA immediately notified SEIU of their intent to disaffiliate. In a letter written to all SEIU state affiliates, Gail Milne President of SNEA/AFSCME Local 4041 confirmed the deal that was made between SEIU International and SNEA and the letter written to state SEIU members by Kathy Naumann confirmed that a deal had been made without the knowledge of SEIU Local 1864 officials. All SEIU affiliates including the NHPA and SEIU Local 1864 Officials were outraged and felt betrayed over the actions of SEIU International and SNEA and took a strong stand against the so called merger.

The actions of SEIU and SNEA left a bitter taste and the NHPA would again stand alone until trust and commitment could be reestablished with another national labor organization. Although it would take several years to re-establish a relationship with organized labor it didn’t take long for the NHPA to join forces with other state associations to remove the state committee on benefits which was heavily influenced by SNEA. The NHPA and other organizations had been complaining for years over the performance of the committee. In fact, during the 1995 Legislative session the NHPA strongly supported and worked very hard lobbying a bill that would have changed the makeup of the committee. The bill passed out of the assemble 42-0 and had the support of Governor Bob Miller, but died in the senate. Although the bill failed the Committee on Benefits fearing a similar attempt would be made in 1997 seemed to get the state health plan on the right track, but their attempts were short lived. Little did anyone know what was going on until medical bills were not being paid. Due to the failure of the state health plan the NHPA submitted a proposed bill to State Senator Ann O’Connell which would allow it’s members to seek their own medical insurance. After a meeting with Senator O’Connell, Assemblyman Lynn Hetrick, Gary Wolff and EX-Chief of Staff Scott Cragge, O’Connell agreed to sponsor a bill now known as the opt out provision under Senate Bill 316, which became part of SB 544.