Boycott Leads To Littleton SEA Resignations - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : top news : top news February 5, 2016

3/26/2011 9:17:00 AM
Boycott Leads To Littleton SEA Resignations
Robert Blechl
Staff Writer

Three State Employees Association members in Littleton, N.H., have tendered their union resignation in response to the SEA's recent boycott of 12 Littleton businesses.

The resignations were drafted late this week by David Ezyk, a retired U.S. Marine major from Lancaster, Ralph Hodgman, a veteran in Littleton, and by Mike Gilman, a veteran and Littleton's newest selectmen, all of whom work for the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security in Littleton.

The resignations come after SEA President Diane Lacey recently announced an SEA boycott of those Littleton business owners the union said advocated or expressed support for a reduced town budget that, in a motion made at the February deliberative session, called for eliminating four of eight firefighting positions and three of 11 police officer positions in the Littleton department, which is represented by the SEA.

The boycott was authorized by the SEA board of directors at the state level and not as a result of a vote of Littleton police officers, not all of whom support the boycott.

In response to its boycott of the Littleton businesses, Ezyk stated to Lacey, "I find it deplorable that I am forced to pay a portion of my salary as a condition of employment to an organization that spat in the face of a small town ...

"As is beginning here in New Hampshire, and as is now happening across America, your union is quickly losing its ability to hide behind the illegitimate and unconstitutional legislation that bred it," he said.

Gilman, in his letter to Lacey said, "Based on the arbitrary decisions and behavior of our state organization, I cannot in good conscience remain a member of an organization that places a priority on a national agenda and pursues a campaign of meddling in local affairs. I am referring to the targeting of local business for exercising their First Amendment right to express support for a budgetary position on the town warrant."




Hodgman, a nine-year SEA member, said in his letter, "I will not be a member of an anti-American organization such as yours that would deliberately attempt to shut down good neighborhood businesses by boycotting them because they used their rights as American citizens to vote their beliefs in a perfectly legal manner."

Lacey was unavailable for comment Friday, but in a SEA newsletter issued Thursday, said the union's board of directors authorized the boycott because targeting cuts to public safety services such as police, fire and highway "jeopardize the safety and well-being of the entire community including more than 50 SEA families residing in Littleton ...

"As an organization, we strongly support job creation and of course we want to see businesses succeed," Lacey said in the statement. "However, when businesses organize to lobby residents to drastically cut public safety services, under the threat of raising rents and prices for their products and services, we must consider the dangerous implications to families that is being advocated for in place of slightly less profit margins."

Said Lacey, "When a fire cannot be put out before a child dies, when a resident in a home invasion waits for police to save them but they arrive too late, no amount of profit margin is worth that price tag."

On Friday afternoon, Gilman, a business services representative for the employment security department and a SEA member for more than five years, said anger is not a strategy and there is a lot of anger out there. He also said the Littleton Police Department is not a monolith and not all of its officers are on board with the boycott.

In Thursday's statement, Lacey took NAPA Auto Parts off the boycott list after learning that town-school budget committee Chairman Steve Kelley, who supported the reduced budget, does not own the NAPA business.

On Friday, SEA communications administrator Mike Barwell said he hasn't yet seen the resignation letters from Gilman, Hodgman and Ezyk and is not aware of any other resignations from SEA members in Littleton.

SEA Littleton Chapter 57 President Michelle Soares could not be reached for comment Friday.





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