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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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Lottery workers wrap up new contract

Local 888 members at the Massachusetts Lottery overwhelming ratified a new contract in August and held a “signing ceremony” with Treasurer Steven Grossman, Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan and Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso on September 3.

Local 888 Lottery steward team gathers with Treasurer Steven Grossman, Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan and Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso to sign the new three year agreement on September 3.

Local 888 Lottery steward team gathers with Treasurer Steven Grossman, Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan and Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso to sign the new three year agreement on September 3.

Gordon Luciano led the Lottery steward team through the negotiations with assistance from Local 888 attorney Maureen Medeiros.

Treasurer Grossman could barely contain his excitement about concluding a timely agreement with a minimum of acrimony or disagreements.

“I’ve embraced unions and collective bargaining my whole life [in the private sector] and I’ve never been prouder than I am now of the two strong teams that came together to get to ‘yes’ with this contract,” said Grossman. “It’s a win – win that comes with the mutual respect we’ve established here at the Lottery.”

DelloRusso praised all the stewards for getting the contract done in a timely fashion and particularly thanked those who travelled long distances from the regional offices for the long negotiations with management.

Reflecting back on the bargaining process, Luciano said, “We wanted to focus on some of the ambiguities in the contract and strengthen some of our language.  Our bargaining team felt it was especially important to have additional protections for our job security.”

“As result we won new language that is clearer on employee protections such as bumping rights and leave time,” Luciano concluded.

The contract has wage increases of 1.5 % every six months for 3 years.

The ratification vote the highest in recent memory with members voting 234 to 5 to accept the contract.

The Local 888 negotiation team.

The Local 888 negotiation team.

DelloRusso thanked Gordy Luciano and the rest of the Local 888 team: Greg Barry, Jim Harrington, Mike Kelly, Joe Poppalardo, Joseph Ravino, Rob Stephen, Kevin Wilder, and Chris Willis.

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New Contract for Malden Cafeteria Workers

Malden Cafeteria workers overwhelmingly ratified a new four year contract. Many members got significant pay upgrades and everyone will get an additional personal day. Food service workers will receive 1 percent across the board increases on July 1, 2015, again on January 1, 2016 followed by a 2 percent raise on July 1, 2016. Utility workers will get 2 percent on January 1, 2014, 2 percent on July 1, 2014, 1 percent on July 1, 2015, again on January 1, 2016 and a 2 percent raise on July 1, 2016.
Malden cafeteria members met to review and vote on their new contract.

Malden cafeteria members met to review and vote on their new contract.

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Tentative agreement ratified for new Unit 2 state contract

Massachusetts-State-Seal
Update:  In onsite voting on July 10, Unit Two members ratified the new tentative agreement 1,493 yes to 161 no.  There were 24 challenged ballots.
Click here to read the new tentative agreement for Unit 2 that will be subject to a ratification vote on July 10, 2014 at the 18 locations listed within the agreement.  The Alliance Bargaining Committee recommends ratification.

Local 888 voting locations will include the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers Homes and the Local 888 Office in Worcester MA.

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New Sandwich Contracts Signed

Local 888 members at the Sandwich DPW recently approved their new contract.

Local 888 members at the Sandwich DPW recently approved their new contract.

Sandwich DPW Seals New Deal
Congratulations to Local 888 members at the Sandwich DPW who recently approved a two year contract. The new agreement includes wage increases of 2.5%, 2.5%, 2.5% and ends a number of ‘two-tier’ practices that members say threatened to weaken the union. Scheduled overtime during the workweek will be offered to union members before part-time employees, while cross-training will be offered to all staff. Other provisions include an end to a ‘two-tier’ vacation policy; all members will receive 25 days vacation after 15 years.

Sandwich Clerical Unit
Members of the Sandwich Clerical Unit recently approved a new agreement that includes several improvements to wages and benefits, including for new employees. New employees are now entitled to sick leave after 3 months instead of 6, and all employees are now eligible for 25 days vacation after 15 years. Employees who work on holidays and Sundays will now receive double-time pay. The contract also includes a 2.5% cost of living increase for each year of the agreement.

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Framingham Professionals Win First Contract

Framingham Professionals

Framingham Professionals

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!”

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New Contract for Steamship Authority

Steamship authority bargaining team.

Steamship authority bargaining team.

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.

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Career Service workers win new contract

Local 888 members at the Valley Works Career Center in Lawrence. After going four years without a raise, the group decided it was time for some tactics that went beyond the bargaining table.

Local 888 members at the Valley Works Career Center in Lawrence. After going four years without a raise, the group
decided it was time for some tactics that went beyond the bargaining table.

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.

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