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Blue Hills Chapter contract victories

Blue Hills Regional School Custodians:
Blue Hills Custodians recently voted unanimously to ratify an MOA providing for almost 6% over three years (retroactive) plus a step increase of 2.5% which a majority of its membership will benefit from during the term of the new contract. An increase in the clothing allowance and paid stipends for attaining certain required certifications were also gained, along with other advantageous contract language.
Blue Hills Clerical:
Clerical workers also recently voted unanimously to ratify an MOA providing for a 6% increase over three years (retroactive) plus an increase in its longevity benefits at all levels.  Advantageous contract language was also gained, including language upholding seniority rights.

“I wanted to thank both negotiating teams,” said Local 888 Internal Organizer Larry Higgins. “Each team did a tremendous job in researching and providing relevant and impactful information that was instrumental in the negotiation process.”

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Use contract to fight sexual harrassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is everywhere in the media right now. Women are coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment atUntitled3 the hands of powerful men across many industries. In our society, few workplaces are free of sexual harassment. Union members are finding that their contracts can be used to fight against it and ensure proper recourse if there is a problem.

Our union contracts help equalize the imbalance of power between workers and their bosses. Without a union, the boss has complete control. With a union, workers have contract language that gives them a voice in the decisions and policies of their workplace.

If a boss is sexually harassing a worker in a unionized workplace—there is recourse. Members can use the grievance procedure and the “just cause” provisions to protect them from being fired or disciplined for speaking out. With a union, workers can stand together against employers who violate basic principles of respect and dignity.

What can Local 888 members do to protect yourself when you are sexually harassed?

  • Talk to your fellow co-workers about the incident. Don’t suffer in silence.
  • Document it in writing immediately and call your steward or chapter chair to let them know.
  • Make a plan with coworkers about what to do the next time someone is harassed.
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Mendon Upton ABAs and Paras win new contract

Nipmuc_Regional_High_School_circleLogoMendon Upton regional school district ABAs and Paras unanimously ratified a new three-year contract which included:

  • Lengthening the filing period for grievances from 7 to 10 days.
  • Memorializing the school work day hours at all work sites.
  • Winning paid release time for the chapter leadership to attend trainings, union meetings and conferences.
  • Improvements to the step raise system such as moving up the steps and scale faster.
  • Three-year agreement with annual increases of 2%, 2.3% and 2.5%
  • Additions to the paid bereavement coverage for aunt, uncle and first cousin.

The tentative agreement was approved by the membership with 80% support.

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U-Mass Lowell members petition the legislature to fund union contracts

Higher Education professionals who are united in SEIU Local 888 at UMass Lowell have been bargaining with management in good faith since last March. After months of negotiations, Governor Baker has not authorized reasonable cost of living increases.

Nick Piscitello headshot“We launched this petition campaign to request that our state reps urge Governor Baker to fund reasonable and fair cost of living increases for state higher education professionals,” said chapter chair Nicholas Piscitello. “Now that over 250 members have signed the petition, I’m confident that Administration and Finance will get the message.”

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Be sure to use a membership survey before your contract expires

Contract Survey

Example of a Local 888 contract survey

About one-third of Local 888’s contracts will expire in 2017.  If your contract expires in 2017, a contract survey can be a useful tool to begin preparing for negotiations:

  • A contract survey can give your union bargaining team useful information and help build unity on the job.
  • Surveys can help get members involved. Filling out a survey is an easy first step to begin building wider participation in your contract campaign.
  • The survey is an opportunity to update membership contact information with cell phone numbers and personal email addresses.
  • The response to the survey helps track where support for the union is strong and where you need to do more organizing. Similarly, the survey is an opportunity to identify and evaluate workplace leaders who motivate members to fill out and return the surveys.
  • Finally, the survey results provide a foundation of data to strengthen your committee’s positions at the bargaining table.

Sample contract surveys are available from your field rep or from myunion@seiu888.org.

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UML Professionals hold “Know Your Contract” training session

Justin Lawler and Nick Piscitello (shown above) presented a “Know Your Contract” training for UMass Lowell members to explain key provisions of their contract and how to take advantage of the on-the-job rights it provides for members. UMass Lowell collective bargaining training session

The chapter leaders developed a special power-point presentation on their contract that could be adapted for similar use by other chapters. Request a copy from Field Services director Jen Springer at jspringer@seiu888.org

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Contract enforcement forms

While every chapter and contract are different, the Grievance and Incident Report forms may be useful to stewards and other members who want to make sure that the employer follows the contract.

Incident Report who what when where and whyThe forms may be filled out online and then printed or saved with the information you provided.  Be sure to give a copy to your Local 888 rep.

Click here to read and download the Grievance Form.

Click here to read and download the Incident Report Form.

Incident Report date time and location

 

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CMSEC members ratify first contract!

Workers at the Central Mass Special Education Collaborative formed their union in 2014 because of concerns about pay equity, safety and favoritism. After nearly 24 months and dozens of tough bargaining sessions, they reached a tentative agreement with management on their first contract.

Christian Lamoureux“We made significant progress on many of the priority issues, although not all of our objectives were achieved,” said Christian Lamoureux, an instructional assistant in the Thrive Program. “Without a contract spelling out our pay scale, no one knew where they stood. Now, with this agreement, we have a new wage grid that is equitable and transparent. There are 18 steps with 2.5% between each step. This is a major achievement. It allows us to know where we are headed and should cut down on turnover.”

“This agreement gives us “just cause” job protections, a grievance procedure with arbitration rights, and the fairness and respect provided by a union contract,” said RossRoss Lapetina Lapetina, an instructional assistant at the Hartwell School. “We love our jobs and the kids we work with. But we are really underpaid for the work we do. We will be back at the negotiating table in no time, to continue making progress.  I voted yes for this contract because it gives us a voice in our future.”

Kim Wellington“I’ve worked here for 14 years, yet I was making less than some others for the same work,” said Kimberly Wellington, another instructional assistant Hartwell. “That was so unfair to me and I wasn’t the only one.”

“In the past management played favorites with our raises. With the union contract we’ve eliminated the inequities and for the first time everyone will be treated the same. I’m not going to see a huge increase in my pay, but with the union we can team up and support each other.”

Members ratified their contract 29 – 13 on Sept. 8.

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13,000 Janitors Need Our Support  for a Fair Contract

Please stand with SEIU members on Saturday, September 10th
1:00-3:00pm
Boston Common Bandstand

Local 32 bj janitorsSEIU Local 32BJ unites 13,000 janitors across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. On September 30, their current contract will expire. SEIU Local 32BJ janitors are fighting for adequate staffing, just wages, and benefits such as medical insurance. They need public support to win.

Four years ago, community organizations like Jobs with Justice, many elected officials and the entire labor movement rallied to help SEIU janitors win a good contract. Our commitment made a difference four years ago, and we can make a difference again.

These workers maintain office buildings in Boston including the John Hancock, Prudential Tower, Vertex and Biogen buildings. They provide services to the pharmaceutical, finance, tech, transportation and higher education industries — all key pillars of the Massachusetts economy. The mostly immigrant janitorial workforce has contributed greatly to our strong local economy.
With a commercial real estate industry enjoying low vacancies and sky-high rents, cleaners at the bargaining table are calling for a new contract that expands opportunities for full-time employment and ensures raises that keep up with the cost of living in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country.

Raise America with Good JobsIt’s time for our SEIU community to come together again to preserve and advance our hard-fought victories. Join our SEIU sisters and brothers and Local 32BJ members on Saturday, September 10th at 1:00 PM for a major mobilization to Raise Up America with Good Jobs!

Find our event on Facebook here.  All Local 888 members should let your union know if you will be attending or have any questions by contacting us at: rwilson@seiu888.org.

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Amherst Town Employees win new contract

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.

Jennifer Reynolds“They were actually looking to cut our sick time. Who in their right mind would give up their sick days?” said Reynolds.

The MOU contains the following highlights:

  • All custodial maintenance staff are now considered essential personnel and must report to work when called. In the case of a weather related closure, maintenance personnel who are called in to work early or on time are guaranteed to be paid for their regularly scheduled shift, plus any overtime. They will not also get call in pay. The point here is that they won’t lose any pay by coming in to shovel or clear sidewalks, and they should be given enough work for their entire shift.
  • Sick leave- defines what sick leave can be used for, and provides a waiver process for non-traditional family member outside of the household. Also if an employee runs out of sick leave they have to use other forms of accrued leave before entering no pay status.
  • Overtime pay for working a holiday is limited to the holiday itself, not the day observed if different.
  • Bereavement leave now allows for extension of time off by using accrued personal vacation or comp time in addition to bereavement time.
  • Personal Days for new hires: hired 7/1-10/31 get 3 days for fiscal year; 11/1-2/29 get 2 days for fiscal year, 3/1-6/30- get one day for fiscal year
  • One free Town Center parking permit per employee, upon request. Each additional one =$25
  • Dispatchers will be notified Sept one of each year of availability of clothing to be ordered
  • $125 boot and clothing allowance for Parking Enforcement Officers, Inspectors, maintenance staff, Land Management Assistant, Wetlands Administrator
  • New $25/day training stipend for training new hires using Department Head approved training curricula for APCO certified dispatchers and Lead PEO.
  • $50 per year incremental increase for dispatchers for EMD/Hazmat certification ($150 increase over life of contract)
  • New position created- Lead Inspector in new Level I
  • 3 year contract with 2% COLA each July 1
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Early childhood educators at Lowell Day Nursery launch social media campaign to win better contract

Sixteen early childhood educators and staff at the Lowell Day Nursery (LDN) have not received raises to keep up with the cost of living or the increase in their health insurance in years.  Staff members’ health insurance premiums have risen from about $30 a week in 2008 to more than $55 in 2014.  Meanwhile, the only raises staff have received averaged .27 cents in 2008 and .32 cents in 2012.  In other words, pay for these hard working and highly qualified educators has actually been reduced!

Local 888 members are pictured on Facebook holding signs with short statements about why they teach at LDN.

Local 888 members are pictured on Facebook holding signs with short statements about why they teach at LDN.

Local 888 member Scott Larmand set up a Facebook page for the group that features his co-workers holding signs with short statements about why they teach at LDN.  In just two weeks, the page got more than 150 “likes” and some very supportive comments from parents of children who attend LDN.

Now the group has launched an online petition to LDN’s board of directors saying, “It’s time for respect and a real raise!”

Local 888 member and UMass Professional Darcie Boyer made a little flyer for the teachers that says "Super Sid supports his teachers at LDN."

Local 888 member and UMass Professional Darcie Boyer made a little flyer for the teachers that says “Super Sid supports his teachers at LDN.”

Darcie Boyer, a Center Manager at UMass Lowell whose son Sidney attends LDN posted a picture of him in a superhero costume, with a purple cape that said “Super Heroes for Fair Pay.”  Boyer made little flyer for the teachers that says “Super Sid supports his teachers at LDN.”  Boyer said, “Cute kids, and acts of solidarity, do get people’s attention. I was hoping that the teachers could use his picture to help the cause!

Local 888 members can support the LDN campaign by ‘liking’ their Facebook page at  and signing their online petition to the board of directors.  

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New Contracts at Registry of Deeds and Bay Path Regional

Registry of Deeds members unanimously ratify new contract

Pictured above are Gerald Fleming, Labor Liaison for the Sec. of State, Registry of Deeds SEIU bargaining team member Marcia Boudreau, Sec. of State Atty Michael Pagones, Sec. of State General Council Laurie Flynn and Registry of Deeds SEIU bargaining team member Donna Regan.

Pictured above are Gerald Fleming, Labor Liaison for the Sec. of State, Registry of Deeds SEIU bargaining team member Marcia Boudreau, Sec. of State Atty Michael Pagones, Sec. of State General Council Laurie Flynn and Registry of Deeds SEIU bargaining team member Donna Regan.

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.

New Contract for Baypath Custodians

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.

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