For information about the SEIU Local 888 officer and executive board election, please visit the Elections Page.
Members interested in obtaining candidate nomination petitions or signing candidate petition forms must log into the Local 888 Member Portal:
These are unprecedented times. Now, members can give valuable feedback to SEIU on how the pandemic has affected their workplaces. To take the survey, go to: https://tinyurl.com/SEIU2020survey.
STEPPING UP: Elmer Arriaza, chapter vice president at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, takes the oath of office on Zoom for the executive board.
The Local 888 Executive Board has ratified the nominations of new officials, electing one new member to the board and one trustee. They are:
Also in recent months, the Local 888 board approved the nominations of:
The international union is taking the next step in its Respect Us. Protect Us. Pay Us campaign.
In the November election, SEIU members voted for health care and long-term care that everyone can afford — along with:
SEIU members voted for leaders who will support them. Now, the International Union said, it’s time for officials at all levels of governance to “do what we elected them to do.”
To sign the pledge. Go to: https://secure.everyaction.com/dfab1X7d_UWSTvWcPRR8oQ2.
The need to reform the U.S. healthcare system has become even more pressing an issue due to the pandemic and record levels of unemployment. To address that problem, SEIU Local 888 supports setting up a Medicare for All, or single-payer, system. One way Local 888 leaders can get more involved in the movement for reform is to attend the 2021 Medicare for All Strategy Conference in January.
As many as 12 million Americans may have lost their health insurance when the COVID-19 economic crisis hit, a study from the Economic Policy Institute concludes.
The 2021 Medicare for All Strategy Conference, co-sponsored by the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, will be held online on Sat. and Sun., Jan. 23 and 24. “Single payer” means that the government will pay the bills, as insurance companies do now.
The aim of the conference is to meet with other labor and healthcare activists to strategize how to win this fight under a new administration and a new Congress.
The organizers’ goal is to make this online event as participatory and interactive as possible. Workshops will consist of short presentations, with most of the hour dedicated to breakout sessions for discussion.
Some workshops will be geared to those who are fairly new to the issue while others will target seasoned activists. There will also be opportunities to talk with participants during caucuses, workshop breakouts — even “Happy Hours” hosted on the social networking platform Gather.
BOUND FOR COLLEGE: Local 888 held a raffle for college scholarships at its recent online convention on Zoom. The $1,000 award went to John Devane and his mother, Tracey Monti, Blue Hills Regional clerical chapter. $500 awards went to: Abigail Leigh Soukup and her mother, Lynne, Westborough town clerical chapter; and Lenroy Sulph, Boston Centers for Youth & Families chapter, and his daughter Jameeka; and Palesa Cochran-Allen, of the Boston Admin Guild.
“During the global pandemic, our union’s top priority has been protecting the health of our members and getting them the safety equipment that they need,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues. “Nowhere was this more evident than at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.”
Rodrigues said: “I’ve never been so proud of our union, our staff and our members as I was during the crisis there. I’m proud of how our leaders stood up for the vets and for their co-workers.”
The local’s president spoke about Holyoke and the state of the union during the recent Local 888 Convention. Over 150 members participated in the online event.
In contrast to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Rodrigues said, “management at most employers has been a good partner — working with our chapter leaders to ensure access to PPE and safe workplaces.”
In fact, the two top officials in charge of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home during the COVID-19 outbreak have been arraigned on criminal neglect charges related to the deaths of at least 76 veterans. (See related article, below.)
“It was Local 888 that gathered the evidence of gross mismanagement and first brought it to the attention of the governor,” added Rodrigues.
Ultimately, the state took a number of measures to stabilize the situation, including bringing in the National Guard (For a full report, see http://www.seiu888.org/2020/07/16/weve-been-vindicated/.)
Fittingly for the COVID-19 era, the convention keynote speaker was Carlene Pavlos, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.
Local 888 Executive Board member and Emerson College chapter leader Shaylin Walsh-Hogan introduced Pavlos, who promoted the State Action for Public Health Excellence bill in the Legislature. It would reform the state’s fragmented public health system.
Executive board member and Holyoke Soldiers’ Home chapter leader Kwesi Ablordeppey introduced a resolution in support of the legislation that members voted to adopt overwhelmingly.
That was the first of three convention resolutions, which were all supported by the executive board and the convention as a whole. (For the full text of the resolutions adopted by the convention, see http://www.seiu888.org/convention.)
Jonathan Dudley, chapter member at the Montachusett Opportunity Council, introduced a resolution to “Protect the Vote, Protect the Results.” The measure was in support of members taking action should one of the presidential candidates refuse “to concede if the results are clear.”
On behalf of the Latino Caucus, Boston Public School’s member Jorge Vargas introduced a resolution calling on Local 888 to draw up a “Membership Bill of Health Rights” necessitated by the pandemic.
Seven elected leaders and candidates for state office briefly attended the convention to recite a pledge to support Local 888 members and working families.
In addition, Local 888’s new secretary-treasurer, Kevin Nascimento, gave his first report on the union’s budget.
While much of the convention’s work was serious, there was time for levity. Executive board member and town of Harwich chapter leader Carolyn Carey was the MC for rolling out door prizes and calling the names of raffle winners. She also served as parliamentarian.
The new chapter for Local 888 retirees had its public unveiling with a workshop, with its executive board member, Susan Winning, as host.
Conference workshops were geared to Local 888’s key industry sectors and job categories, covering: early childhood education, higher ed, school employees, as well as state and municipal workers. There was a separate session for the city of Boston, which has 1,800 Local 888 members covered by 12 contracts.
Workshop leaders were:
For a convention slide show and the updated resolutions, see http://www.seiu888.org/convention/.