Union Updates

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

Pension Justice Hearing Update

L-R: Sean Murphy and Darlene Osbourne (Boston Police Department), Nicole Annunziata and Cam Dunbar (State Police Dispatch), Sue Poppe (Holyoke Soldiers Home),Local 888 Secretary Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues, Leo Bobek, Steven Snay and Thomas Regan (UMass Lowell Nuclear Reactor) before the hearing.

L-R: Sean Murphy and Darlene Osbourne (Boston Police Department), Nicole Annunziata and Cam Dunbar (State Police Dispatch), Sue Poppe (Holyoke Soldiers Home),Local 888 Secretary Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues, Leo Bobek, Steven Snay and Thomas Regan (UMass Lowell Nuclear Reactor) before the hearing.

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 pjennewein@seiu888.org for copies of the testimony.

Steven Snay, UMass Lowell Radiation Safety, putting on the Haz-Mat suit he is required to wear. Next to him are Leo Bobek and Thomas Regan, who also work at the UMass Lowell Nuclear Reactor.

Steven Snay, UMass Lowell Radiation Safety, putting on the Haz-Mat suit he is required to wear. Next to him are Leo Bobek and Thomas Regan, who also work at the UMass Lowell Nuclear Reactor.

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Success for Local 888 Endorsed Candidates

SEIU Local 888 staff and volunteers getting out the vote for Emmanuel Marsh, member of SEIU Local 888 and the School Committee in Malden.

SEIU Local 888 staff and volunteers getting out the vote for Emmanuel Marsh, member of SEIU Local 888 and the School Committee in Malden.

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).

SEIU Local 888 member Steve Winslow won his race for Malden City Council At-Large

SEIU Local 888 member Steve Winslow won his race for Malden City Council At-Large

 

Local 888 member Marian Callahan with victorious Boston City Council candidate Lydia Edwards.

Local 888 member Marian Callahan with victorious Boston City Council candidate Lydia Edwards.

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Organizing Gets the Goods at Emerson

Emerson Local 888 members Richelle Devereaux-Murray, Dennis Levine and Elbert Lee joined the informational leafletting action.

Emerson Local 888 members Richelle Devereaux-Murray, Dennis Levine and Elbert Lee joined the informational leafletting action.

In late October, soon-to-be members of Local 888 at Emerson College participated in an informational leaflet outside the Emerson College Board of Directors meeting. Members wore signs and passed out leaflets to board members and executives about their low pay and frustration with the slow pace of negotiations.

Emerson staff members won their union back in April 2016, but are still in the negotiating process for their first contract. At the next bargaining session following the leafletting action, Emerson administrators and union representatives reached tentative agreement on health and safety. This shows how actions by a few people working together can influence those in power to pay attention to workers’ needs.

When we fight, we win!

Emerson members are continuing with their contract negotiations and are hoping to have a contract soon.

Would you like to make a similar impression on your boss? Contact your Local 888 Field Rep to talk about planning a workplace campaign where you work.

 

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Preparing for attacks on our collective power

President Mark DelloRusso and Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues lead the Together We Rise training at the Brockton Public Library on November 9.

President Mark DelloRusso and Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues lead the Together We Rise training at the Brockton Public Library on November 9.

Local 888 Staff and elected leaders will continue to train member leaders in anticipation of anti-worker attacks from an expected Supreme Court decision next year.

Additional trainings will take place throughout the fall and possibly next year.

Members at the Together We Rise training in Lowell on November 1.

Members at the Together We Rise training in Lowell on November 1.

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Mass Defenders “Walk-in” for Justice

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On November 13 at district courts across the state Massachusetts Public Defenders held “walk-in” actions to their courthouses. Workers at Worcester, Springfield, and Roxbury District Courts gathered at 8:30 am in the morning, protested, and then walked in to work together.

Public defenders gather outside the courthouse in Worcester to build support for their right to collectively bargain.

Public defenders gather outside the courthouse in Worcester to build support for their right to collectively bargain.

The workers at CPCS are fed up with low pay and no voice at work for a long time, so they took their case to the courthouse steps to build support for their effort to collectively bargain. The Public Defenders and staff at the state’s public defense agency (CPCS) are the only state agency employees denied the right to collectively bargain.

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Fall Scholarship Applications Open!

SEIU Local 888 offers post-secondary educational scholarships for members and their immediate families. The Fall application is currently open! The deadline is different this year – applications will be accepted until Friday, November 24. The announcement of the award will be via mail to applicants as well as posted on the website.

Labor education scholarships are available from Local 888!  (see photo below)

Former Executive Board member Mike Kelly (retired), Kathleen Porrazzo (Quincy Housing Authority), Brenda Rodrigues, Jorge Vargas (BPS), and Local 888 organizer DJ Cronin at the Labor Guild's fall semester graduation ceremony.

Former Executive Board member Mike Kelly (retired), Kathleen Porrazzo (Quincy Housing Authority), Brenda Rodrigues, Jorge Vargas (BPS), and Local 888 organizer DJ Cronin at the Labor Guild’s fall semester graduation ceremony.

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Coming Attractions

10 Year Agenda: Lawrence Regional Gathering
Sat, November 18, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Northern Essex Community College, 45 Franklin St, Lawrence, MA

calendarWithin Community Labor United’s (CLU) network, there is an understanding that our movement must have a longer-term view of our struggle. CLU envisions building an agenda that is both aspirational and concrete. The process will culminate in the fall of 2017 with a Member Congress. For more info contact Isabel at isabel@massclu.org

Labor Guild Cushing-Gavin Awards
IBEW Local 103, 256 Freeport StFri, December 1, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Dorchester, MA

This unique event gathers the labor-management community together to honor four extraordinary professionals for the competence, vision, and integrity they bring to labor-management relations. For questions contact Dan at the Guild office at 781-340-7887.

Grabbing the Torch
Sat, December 2, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, 108 Myrtle St Quincy, MA

Greater Boston Labor Council’s Future’s Committee, 7th Annual Young Worker Conference. Register by Nov. 24. Contact Vanessa Snow, 617 723-2370 or vsnow@gblc.us.

Greater Boston Labor Coalition Delegates Meeting
Tue, December 5, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
IBEW Local 103, 256 Freeport St., Dorchester, MA

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“Together We Rise” Chapter Chair Trainings

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.

Western Mass Leadership Training participants: Kwesi Ablordeppey (Holyoke Soldiers Home), Chris Gouin (Barnes Air National Guard), Teresa King (Soldiers Home), Willie Mathieson (Barnes), Angela Dickinson (Soldiers Home), Josh Kusnierz (Veteran's Cemetery), Paul Moriarty (Berkshire Reg. of Deeds), Pedro Ortega (Amherst Housing Authority), 888 Sec.-Tres. Brenda Rodrigues, and Lance Bedford (DCAM)

Western Mass Leadership Training participants: Kwesi Ablordeppey (Holyoke Soldiers Home), Chris Gouin (Barnes Air National Guard), Teresa King (Soldiers Home), Willie Mathieson (Barnes), Angela Dickinson (Soldiers Home), Josh Kusnierz (Veteran’s Cemetery), Paul Moriarty (Berkshire Reg. of Deeds), Pedro Ortega (Amherst Housing Authority), 888 Sec.-Tres. Brenda Rodrigues, and Lance Bedford (DCAM)

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!

  • October 25, Central Mass
  • November 1, Merrimack Valley/North Shore
  • November 9, South Shore
  • November 16, Cape Cod
  • November 29, Boston Metro
  • December 5, Boston Metro North

If you are interested in attending, please contact your union rep.

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Local 888 / UMass Lowell Hockey Night Social

Local 888 Hockey Night

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.

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A Tie at Suffolk University

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!

Our-Suffolk-FinalWhile 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.”

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Petition campaign underway to Raise Up workers

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.

"The agency I work for just released its strategic plan," said Local 888 member Jonathan Dudley who is collecting signatures in Central Mass.  "With high poverty rates and income inequality in North Central Mass, the plan cited reducing barriers to living wage jobs as a major goal.  But what if we reduce barriers and none of the jobs in the area pay a living wage? I work with families that are struggling. I know the difference $15 an hour would make in their lives. Heck, many of my co-workers make less than $15 an hour. It would make a big difference in our lives!"

“The agency I work for just released its strategic plan,” said Local 888 member Jonathan Dudley who is collecting signatures in Central Mass. “With high poverty rates and income inequality in North Central Mass, the plan cited reducing barriers to living wage jobs as a major goal. But what if we reduce barriers and none of the jobs in the area pay a living wage? I work with families that are struggling. I know the difference $15 an hour would make in their lives. Heck, many of my co-workers make less than $15 an hour. It would make a big difference in our lives!”

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.

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An Interview with member Josh Kusniesz

About Josh: Park Foreman 1 at Veteran Memorial Cemetery. Union member since 2004.

Josh is second from left at the Chapter Chair training.

Josh is second from left at the Chapter Chair training.

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.

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