Chapter Chair Jennifer Reynolds reports that Amherst Town Employees settled a new 3-year contract for 68 members. Workers won 2% each year, raised their Hazmat/EMD stipend, increased the boot allowance, expanded sick time to nontraditional household members, and many more gains.
The MOU contains the following highlights:
Congratulations to the Fitchburg Registry of Deeds bargaining team for negotiating a contract that members unanimously ratified. The agreement includes a nine percent raise over three years, additional monies into the dental plan and an attendance policy related to inclement weather. Members are looking forward to upcoming Labor/ Management meetings within the next few months.
Custodians at the Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School ratified a new contract on July 15, 2014. Highlights of the new agreement include language protecting against layoffs, cost of living increases of 2% each year of the three year contract, an increase in vacation to five weeks after 17 years, and shift differential eligibility for part-time employees who fill in for full time employees for two weeks or more.
Local 888 voting locations will include the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers Homes and the Local 888 Office in Worcester MA.
A group of more than 20 professionals who work for the town of Framingham were frustrated when they received no raises for three years. They realized that they needed a union and collective bargaining to get raises and address many other concerns they had.
They formed their union in 2011 and it took a resolute bargaining committee nearly two years to win their first contract. Finally on March 22 the team reached a three-year contract with the town’s top management.
Bargaining committee member Kitty Mahoney says that the team is thrilled with the outcome. “Our first contract represents the best interests of our workforce, with solid employment protections through articles which serve us all as a collective; cooperatively and with solidarity. It was an honor to work with the members of this committee. I am humbled by the process and thankful for the opportunity. All the work was worth it!”
How often do you have to go to mediation after two negotiating sessions? Not too often—but Local 888 did in the case of the Steamship Authority. Parity between contracts was management’s answer to almost every proposal until it came to wages, then it was a different story. The team held firm on some proposals and ended up with a three year contract with raises of 2.75%, 2.75% and 2.5%, “super seniority” for the steward in the event of layoffs, as well as an additional day for travel in excess of 200 miles. All in all, not a bad contract in this economy. Thanks to Donna St. John, Ruth Grundhoefer, Pat Jette, Beth Rowe, Camille Carter and Shari Duncan for their hard work.
Sometimes winning a new contract takes a lot more than just negotiating with management.
Local 888 members at the Valley Works Career Center in Lawrence were frustrated after two tentative agreements were turned down by the Mayor and the City’s Financial Overseer, appointed by the Governor. Meanwhile other city employees began getting raises.
“We went four years without a raise,” said Mariah Germosen, a Career Service Advisor. “When that many years go by, you don’t feel appreciated or valued. You’re not keeping up with the cost of living.”
“We needed to step up the pressure and start making some noise,” said Cardel Bennett who also works as a Career Service Advisor.
“That’s why a group from the negotiating committee and Local 888 Field Service Director Jen Springer went to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. “A good part of our funding is from the state. We told Secretary Joanne Goldstein’s office and the Governor’s office just how frustrated we were and that something had to be done,” said Springer.
“After that meeting the ball got rolling with the city!” said Marco Ruiz who in addition to being a Career Service Advisor is also the union steward at Valley Works. “This was a tough battle and I’m happy with the outcome.”
Members won some significant improvements over the previous tentative agreement. Instead of a 3 percent bonus, they got a 3 percent increase in base pay going back to July 1, 2011. Members also won 2.5 percent increase in wages each year for 2013 and 2014 for a total of 5 percent, instead of the original 0 percent with only a promise of a “reopener.”
“SEIU Local 888 members and staff were aggressive and we didn’t let up until we won. Our political strategy complimented the bargaining strategy,” said Springer. “It was great to see the leaders at Valley Works step up to make it happen and finally get a contract.”
Chapter chair Barbara Begin reported that the contract was ratified 18- 0 on February 12.
Congratulations to Local 888 members at the Brockton Public Library for settling their contract.The three year agreement includes several provisions that members fought hard for, including the extension of recall rights from two years to three, a wage differential for library staff who work at night or on the weekends, vacation buy back, an increase in longevity for both full-time and part-time employees and an annual increase in money that can be used to help staff obtain degrees. Chapter chair Sue McCormick credits a bargaining team that worked well together. “This was the first contract I’d ever negotiated so having a team of great people around me and assistance from our local was really important,” says McCormick. When negotiations are scheduled to begin again this summer (the new agreement covers the period July 2010-July 2013), McCormick says that she’s hoping to see some new faces on the bargaining team. “It’s good to have new sets of eyes on each contract.”
Congratulations to the Springfield crossing guards for ratifying their first-ever contract. The agreement came after months of difficult bargaining. The two-year contract includes raises of 1% the first year and 2% the second year, which will bring all of the crossing guards up to the same salary. Now members say that they plan to create safety and grievance committees to address problems they face on the job. Safety is major issue for crossing guards. Since a crossing guard was struck and killed in Everett last year, guards from across the state have been advocating for improved safety measures. Congratulations to the Springfield crossing guards for winning their first contract.