Union Updates

For press inquires or to share your story please contact media@seiu888.org

All Local 888 members are urged to “stand with Verizon workers!”

IBEW and CWA are calling on union members and allies to turn out for a rally on the day before their contract, covering 39,000 Verizon workers, is set to expire. This comes amid another tough round of contract negotiations with Verizon, which may lead to a showdown on August 1st.

Verizon rallyJoin other members of Local 888 at the rally to support workers at Verizon who want good jobs and to provide quality service, NOT higher executive pay and more lay-offs.

Stand in solidarity with workers against Verizon’s corporate greed!

When: Thursday, July 30th

6:00 PM

Where: The Verizon Building at 6 Bowdoin Square, Boston 
(Corner of Cambridge and New Chardon Streets)

For more information go to http://standuptoverizon.com/

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Supreme Court to Hear Controversial Case on Union Dues

The Supreme Court will soon take up a controversial case that could have a profound impact on the rights of members of public service unions, including Local 888. In the session that begins next fall, the justices will hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that centers on the constitutionality of so-called “agency fees,” which require non-members to pay fees related to union bargaining and member representation efforts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASays Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso, “No matter what any court decides, I’m confident that the hardworking members of Local 888 will want to continue to improve life for themselves and their families. By organizing in our workplaces and at the ballot box, Local 888 will remain a powerful force for the good jobs and quality services that our communities need.”

In this FAQ, we look at what’s at stake in the case—and who is behind it. Got questions of your own? Send them to myunion@seiu888.org.

What is the Friedrichs Supreme Court case about?
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is a Supreme Court case aimed at making it harder for working people to improve their lives by sticking together and pooling resources. Funded by billionaire extremists, it is the latest in a long line of lawsuits and laws pushed by big corporations seeking to limit the power of teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and other public service workers to achieve good jobs and better services for themselves and all Americans. Their strategy to limit working class power is to eliminate the fee that non-union members pay toward covering the costs of bargaining contracts that improve pay, benefits and other working conditions. These fees, which the Supreme Court has upheld for decades, mean that everyone covered by a contract contributes to the costs of negotiating those benefits

Why should someone be compelled to pay a fee that the union then turns around and uses to support political causes that worker opposes?
The truth is no one has to be involved in the union’s political work or pay for it. That’s the law already. People pay only for covering the costs of bargaining contracts that improve our pay, benefits and other working conditions.

And that’s just common sense. Everyone has the freedom to choose whether or not they want to contribute to support advocacy around issues that impact their lives outside of the contract–and there’s nothing more democratic than that.

How does the Friedrichs case relate to Harris v. Quinn?
The Harris v. Quinn decision in June 2014 made it harder for home care workers to join together but the court declined to eliminate the commonsense fees that require public employees covered by a contract to contribute to the costs of those benefits. Now the billionaire-funded lawyers are trying once again to weaken the power of working people to improve their lives and their communities by bringing the Friedrichs case to the Supreme Court.

What’s the timeline?
The Supreme Court will hear the case and announce its decision during the 2015-16 term, which runs from October 2015 through June 2016.

For more resources about Friedrich v. California Teachers Association, visit www.seiu888.org.

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BCYF Members Elect New Chapter Leaders

Local 888 members at Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF) concluded their election for new SEIU Local 888 chapter leadership positions on June 26. The election resulted in a solid majority of votes cast for the “Solidarity Slate” of Jeron Cotton for Chair, Hajji Glover for Co-Chair, Tiffany

Jeron Cotton, BCYF Chapter Chair

Jeron Cotton, BCYF Chapter Chair

Pierce for Recording Secretary and Tany Lopes for Chief Steward.

All four had previously served as stewards and Jeron had previously held the Chief Steward position. The election was necessitated by a vacancy in two of the four chapter positions.

The new chapter leadership campaigned on a platform to increase membership involvement and participation while striving for greater transparency and better internal communications.

The upcoming negotiations for contracts for BCYF and the other City of Boston chapters that expire in less than one year will undoubtedly be challenging. Winning good agreements will require internal unity and solidarity with the other city’s unions and the community.

Tany Lopes, BCYF Chief Steward

Tany Lopes, BCYF Chief Steward

 

Hajji Glover, BCYF Co-chair

Hajji Glover, BCYF Co-chair

Tiffany Pierce, Recording Secretary

Tiffany Pierce, Recording Secretary

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Local 888 Member Wins Super Lunch Hero of the Year Award

Each year the School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts (SNA) chooses one food service employee to be Super Lunch Hero of the year. This year the students and staff of the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth nominated Missy Gauvin with a massive letter writing campaign, but they didn’t tell her. In fact, Gauvin, who is a third generation lunch lady, wasn’t even aware that she’d been nominated.

Missy Gauvin, the kitchen manager at the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth, has been named Super Lunch Hero of the Year. More than 400 students and staff from her school wrote letters on her behalf.

Missy Gauvin, the kitchen manager at the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth, has been named Super Lunch Hero of the Year. More than 400 students and staff from her school wrote letters on her behalf.

So what happened when Gauvin was the featured guest at a surprise party on May 8th where the entire school gathered to inform her that she’d won? “Speechless,” would be one way to describe Gauvin’s reaction as she arrived in the school gym to find hundreds of students chanting her name.

The award ceremony featured excerpts from some of the more 400 letters sent by students and staff to recommend Gauvin for the honor. One student wrote “I know Mrs. Gauvin works hard because she has stains on her apron!” Another wrote: “When you smile, the whole world stops and stares,” adding that he considers Gauvin a personal friend and would be glad to provide a shoulder for her to cry on should she ever need one.

Gauvin told the packed gym that she was shocked by the award. “I thought I was getting in trouble,” she said. “I get very excited to come to work knowing that I get to see each and every one of you. I get far more from all of you than you get from me. I feel like I have 500 best friends in this room,” she said.

Gauvin, who is the kitchen manager at Station Avenue Elementary, comes from a long line of lunch ladies— three generations to be precise. Her mother and her grandmother were lunch ladies in the Barnstable School District. In the 1970s, Missy’s grandmother, Shirley Jones, worked in a school dedicated to special needs students only. An annual award was dedicated to Mrs. Jones and presented to the “Most Improved Student.”

Gauvin will be attending a Nutrition Conference in September, proudly representing DY Regional School District. In the meantime, she is the recipient of a “Number One Lunch Lady of the Year” apron which she wears with pride!

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888’s Rosa Matias Makes “Most Powerful” List

Congratulations to Local 888 member Rosa Matías, for being named one of the top 100 most powerful people in Massachusetts by El Planatera, Boston’s Latino daily. El Planetera singled Matias out for her activism and work supporting Democratic candidates.

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Rosa Matias

“Rosa Matias is the treasurer of the Latino Democratic Caucus. Rosa has focused on supporting a large number of democratic electoral campaigns. She is also an active in other organizations from social justice and environmental conservation to low-income communities and ethnic minorities.”

Matias works at Chelsea City Hall and is an active leader in Local 888’s Latino Caucus and member of the COPA committee. Congratulations, Rosa!

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New Local 888 Publications Coming Soon

Members often have questions like “What do I get for my dues?” or “How does the union benefit me?” and “Why are we part of SEIU (and what do those initials stand for anyway)?”

Local 888 is preparing three new publications to help you answer these and many other questions about the benefits of membership, the rights and responsibilities of members, and how to better organize your chapter and access your chapter funds.

The three new publications are:Stewards manual cover
• “All About SEIU Local 888”
• “Getting the most out of your union”
• “Using your Chapter Funds for a stronger union”

They will be available in hard copy after August 1 and on the website soon thereafter.

Members may also request a copy of the SEIU Stewards Manual that provides many valuable lessons and tips for union stewards.

Write to myunion@seiu888.org with your chapter name and home mailing address if you would like any of these publications sent to you

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Public Defenders Get Shout Out in Boston Globe

The campaign by public defenders to join Local 888 got a recent boost when it was the subject of a major story in the Boston Globe. Writer Katie Johnston detailed the efforts by defenders to unionize— something that will require a change in state law—in hopes of stemming sky-high turnover.

Public Defender Rachel Scotch

Public Defender Rachel Scotch

Low pay means career uncertainty, lawyer Rachael Scotch told the Globe, the combination of which means that lawyers doing the essential work of representing clients in desperate straits, rarely stick around for long. The Globe story comes on the heels of a recent study that found that Massachusetts ranks dead last in the compensation of public defenders. According to the Mass. Bar Association, which conducted the study, “The unvarnished truth is the compensation is so poor that it drives these lawyers away from the criminal justice system or into the ranks of the working poor.”

More information about the campaign is at www.seiu888.org/massdefenders.

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Former 888 Member Only Rep to Vote Against State Budget

Citing his experience as a union member, Michael Brady, the state rep from Brockton, cast the lone House vote against the state budget because of his concerns over its treatment of workers at the MBTA.

mbrady

State Rep. Michael Brady used to work at the Lottery and was a member of SEIU Local 888

“I’m against suspending the rights of workers for three years,” Brady told the State House News Service following the 153-1 vote.

The budget suspends for three years the Pacheco law, which requires state agencies to prove to the State Auditor that any privatization of state service will result in cost savings and will not reduce the service. Brady, who served on the Brockton School Committee and the Brockton City Council, formerly worked in the customer service department of the Massachusetts State Lottery where he was a member of Local 888.

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Coming Attractions

Los Latinos y el Movimiento Obrero: Organizando por Justicia/ Latinos and the Labor Movement: Organizing for Justice
Wednesday, July 15, 5:30—8PM.
Where: Organizing for Justice, 1532 Acushnet Ave, New Bedford, MA 02746
José A. Soler, of the Labor Education Center, will lead discussions, in Spanish, about Latinos and the Labor Movement.

July COPA meeting
When: Wed, July 15, 6pm – 8pm
Where: 1275 Elm St, West Springfield, MA 01089, USA (map)
The July COPA meeting will be held on a special date, WEDNESDAY, July 15th, at 6:00pm at the our West Springfield office located at 1275 Elm Street West Springfield, MA 01089.

calendarLabor Day Cookout on the beach!
When: Saturday, Aug 29, 2015, time TBD
Where: Demarest Lloyd State Park, 115 Barneys Joy, Road, Dartmouth, MA
Let’s celebrate Labor Day with a Cookout on the beach! Co-hosted with the Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council

Bread and Roses Labor Day Festival
When: Saturday, September 7th, noon-5PM
Where: Campagnone Common, 200 Common Street, Lawrence, MA
The 31st Annual Bread and Roses Heritage Festival will be held, as always, on Labor Day. Don’t miss this FREE, open air, labor and social justice event.  www.breadandrosesheritage.org

Solidarity Conference: Labor and Community Organizing Conference
When: Saturday, September 12, 9AM– 2PM
Where UMass Dartmouth Main Campus, Woodland Commons Conference Center
Learn and participate in building new alliances between traditional union members and other workers in our communities to build worker power. Stay tuned for announcements about speakers and workshops.

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Your email to Local 888 did not “fail”

SEIU Local 888 is experiencing a small glitch in our email system.  When someone sends an email message to @seiu888.org they will receive this message:

Email glitch“Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:”

If fact, the email message is being delivered.  Please be patient while we get this problem fixed.   Thank you.

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Wanted: Your Stories About Importance of Paid Family Leave

Local 888 is looking for stories from City of Boston members about why they would need the new paid family leave benefit or how beginning a family without the benefit has been a hardship.

City of Boston employee William Epperson has twins on the way, and says that a paid family leave policy would be a huge benefit for him and his growing family.

City of Boston employee William Epperson has twins on the way, and says that a paid family leave policy would be a huge benefit for him and his growing family.

Local 888 members who work for the City of Boston are understandably outraged by the Walsh administration’s decision not to extend the new paid family leave benefit to all city employees. Which is why Local 888 leaders are not going to stand by idly while members justifiably need this benefit now. The union’s political department is working with members of the City Council to prepare a new city ordinance to extend the benefit. Local 888 has also retained a benefits consultant to calculate the anticipated costs of extending the benefit to all city employees based on the utilization experience of workers in California and New Jersey who already have paid family leave. (Hint: very preliminary estimates show that it is not going to be a high cost item.) Finally, we are preparing to build a pro-family, pro-health care coalition to broaden public support for extending the benefit to all employees. Do you have a story to tell? Please contact Rand Wilson 617 398-7102 or rwilson@seiu888.org.

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Apply Now for Education Scholarships

The deadline to apply for fall 2015 education scholarships is July 6.

Patrick Scannell with his mother Maryanne Carty, who works at Westwood Town Hall. The deadline to apply for fall scholarships is July 6.

Local 888 scholarship recipient Patrick Scannell with his mother Maryanne Carty, who works at Westwood Town Hall. The deadline to apply for fall scholarships is July 6.

Local 888 will award three scholarships of up to $500 (by lottery) to enable members or their immediate family to attend any post-secondary school of their choosing, including community college, university or vocational training. Also available: scholarships of up to $500 for approved labor study programs or courses.

Applications will be screened by the Scholarship Committee and the winner will be picked by lottery by July 31, 2015. Scholarship winners are required to submit a picture of the Local 888 member with their family member to receive their award. Scholarship applications are available at the Local 888 union hall or online at: www.seiu888.org/888members/benefits/scholarships.

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