A year marked by big campaigns

SHOWING SOLIDARITY: Members of the Brandeis Labor Coalition support the Local 888 librarians.

SHOWING SOLIDARITY: Members of the Brandeis Labor Coalition support the Local 888 librarians.

2019 was a milestone year for Local 888 in terms of strengthening the union to help members win better contracts, benefits and working conditions. The union conducted winning contract campaigns, led the fight to improve the standing of cafeteria workers, made legislative gains and extended Local 888 dental and vision plans to more members.

Librarians at Brandeis and Boston universities led very successful contract campaigns with support from students and other campus unions. (See related article page 4.).

Last March, Local 888 members were facing the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee’s plan to outsource their jobs. With support from Local 888 staff and leaders, the members fought back — waving signs, organizing a rally and harnessing community support. The 20 jobs were saved.

In fact, cafeteria workers are one of the 10 largest occupations in Local 888. To recognize cafeteria workers and highlight their low pay and apparent gender discrimination, the union organized “Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week.” Members across the state celebrated, putting up “Food is Love” banners and lawn signs, and Gov. Charlie Baker signed a proclamation. And the local held a public hearing with elected officials in Brockton. (For more information, email lhiggins@seiu888.org.)

At the State House, SEIU Local 888 and other labor unions won a major political victory. A new Massachusetts law aims to limit the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which undermined public workers’ collective bargaining rights.

This Janus-Fix legislation requires public employers to give chapter leaders time to provide orientation to new hires, during work hours and in the workplace. This is crucial for keeping Local 888 strong, with about one-fifth of the membership turning over every year.

Local 888 continues to push for legislation that would improve many members’ pensions and that would allow the MassDefenders to organize for their collective bargaining rights. (For more information, email tmckeever@seiu888.org.)

In addition, SEIU Local 888’s affiliated health plans continued to sign up new members. Seven new chapters joined the dental and vision plans: Blue Hills Regional Vocational, Lowell Day Nursery, the Woburn clerical and cafeteria chapters and the towns of Arlington, Norwell and Westwood .

For more information on Local 888’s affiliated health funds, contact Linda DeLuca at 617-241-3367 or ldeluca.funds@seiu888.org.

Comments are closed.