On October 31 at the State House several pension reclassification bills were heard in the Joint Committee on Public Service. SEIU Local 888 members came to support several bills that affect our members’ pensions. Members representing Emergency 911, nuclear reactor operators and veteran caregivers came out to testify in support of pension upgrade bills. Email Penelope Jennewein at firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of the testimony.
Labor-backed candidates won big on November 7. In Boston, Lydia Edwards won a hotly contested City Council seat in District 1. Michelle Wu, Ayanna Pressley, and Michael Flaherty won City Council At-Large seats.
In Malden, Local 888 member Emmanuel Marsh, lost his race for Malden School Committee by only two votes. The vote will be recounted because of how tight the election results were. It shows that every vote counts!
In Somerville, Local 888 candidates cleaned up, winning seats for challengers JT Scott (Ward 2), Ben Ewen-Campen (Ward 3) and SEIU member Jesse Clingan (Ward 4). Somerville also re-elected 888 endorsed incumbent Matt McLaughlin (Ward 1).
Building a strong organization in your workplace is based on our collective power, what individual members do together with a shared mission. In the coming months, it is likely that a Supreme Court decision (Janus vs Illinois) will make public sector union membership voluntary.
In states where laws like this have already passed, it can result in less bargaining power with management because the union is weaker with fewer members.
In anticipation of the Supreme Court decision, Local 888 leaders will be preparing members for the impact of the decision and discussing with all members ways to keep our union strong in the face of this attack.
In early October, Local 888 staff held the first of many upcoming Chapter Chair Regional Leadership Trainings to prepare for the Supreme Court Decision. Click here to read an interview with Josh Kusniesz who attended the training.
One benefit of the training was that participants got to meet other chapter leaders to share experiences. They talked about the roles and responsibilities of chapter chairs, how to get members to commit to the union, and worked in break-out groups to make plans and goals for their chapter.
Upcoming Chapter Chair Regional Leadership Trainings
All chapter chairs and chapter leaders are urged to attend a regional leadership training!
If you are interested in attending, please contact your union rep.
UMass Lowell members held their fifth annual Local 888 Hockey Night on October 14 at the Tsongas Arena. Pictured above are Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso, UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney, and chapter chair Nicholas Piscitello.
Suffolk University administrative and clerical staff have been fighting to win a union with Local 888 since August 2016. The workers have been organizing to win what they deserve—a voice in their workplace, good benefits, and job security. Because a good job and a lasting career is worth fighting for!
While dedicated Suffolk staff volunteered their time to help build an organization that can help them fight for improvements in their workplace, Suffolk management hired an infamous Chicago union-busting law firm, Seyfarth Shaw to dissuade workers from supporting the union. The law firm, which typically charges over $600 an hour, conducted “one-on-one” anti-union meetings with workers, and used weakness in our labor laws to delay the union vote.
After the March 2 NLRB election and the decision on the challenged votes, the final tally was 96 votes in favor of a union to 96 votes against. “The vote count was evenly divided, but our conversations during the campaign showed that a majority of staff want greater security in our jobs and our benefits, a voice on the job and regular raises,” said Meri Power-Ayer, a Senior Program Coordinator in the Political Research Department. “The only way to make these improvements is through a union and a collective bargaining agreement.”
Local 888 is a member of Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of grassroots, religious, and community groups working to win a new $15 minimum wage and Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit. We are collecting signatures to put both measures on the ballot in November 2018.
As union members with these benefits, we know that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 as the legislation calls for, will make it easier for people who work full time to earn enough money to make ends meet. Paid Family and Medical Leave will ensure that MA workers are not forced to choose between work and their own health needs or the well-being of their family members.
Community groups and unions across the state are collecting signatures to get these initiatives on the ballot. All together they need 250,000 to do this!
Would you like to sign the petition and get your coworkers to sign too? Anyone can succeed at collecting signatures! Contact Joe Lazzerini at 617 241-3369.
About Josh: Park Foreman 1 at Veteran Memorial Cemetery. Union member since 2004.
Josh is an active Local 888 leader and participated in the first Chapter Chair Regional Leadership Training on October 11. His workweek is always busy — burying the dead and maintaining the grounds of the Veterans cemetery. Chris answered a few questions about his involvement with the union.
What was your experience with your union when you first started he job?
“Honestly, the union was very absent back when I first started. There was very little of anything. We never heard or saw anybody or anything from the union…People started asking questions. We’re paying a union, but where is it? How is it benefitting us? We started to take initiative and reach out. Today we have a much better line of communications.”
Why have you decided to become involved in your union, and why is having a strong union important?
“I’m not afraid to say something. I don’t really care all that much if what I say it bothers the admin staff. I like to have a voice for my coworkers. Especially the newer people…For me the union’s important because the government can do or say as they please. You have to have numbers to stand up against them. If we didn’t stand up and speak out, we’d get railroaded.”
Like Josh said, the power of a union is in our numbers. Let’s keep talking to new members and organizing ourselves to win better wages and respect on the job.