Union Updates

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Local 888 leaders attend convention

By Mark DelloRusso

A delegation of ten delegates and three alternates attended SEIU’s quadrennial International Convention in Detroit from May 19 – 24.

Kwesi Ablordeppey (pictured on the convention monitor) spoke out against racism and other social injustices at the SEIU convention

Kwesi Ablordeppey (pictured on the convention monitor) spoke out against racism and other social injustices at the SEIU convention

Mary Kay Henry was reelected President along with a slate of seven Executive Vice Presidents and 37 Executive Board members.

Eileen Kirlin, Executive Vice President for Public Services (which includes Local 888) announced her retirement as did current Secretary-Treasurer Mike Fishman.

The convention passed resolutions in support of the Fight for $15, against racial injustice, and alongside AFSCME, in support of protecting members of our unions and those that want to be part of one.

Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues did a great job as our “whip” for the Local 888 table.

Kwesi Ablordeppey (Holyoke Soldiers Home) stood up at the microphone and spoke out against racism and other social injustices.  He received a huge applause from the entire convention.

Sue Noel (Dracut) stood with Hillary Clinton on stage while she addressed the convention and got a hug from her afterwards.

Local 888 delegates enjoying a meal while at the SEIU convention.

Local 888 delegates enjoying a meal while at the SEIU convention.

Local 888 got a shout out from Mary Kay Henry for our participation in the Clinton campaign and support of workers on strike at Verizon.

Other members of Local 888’s delegation included: Carolyn Carey (Harwich), Frank Chillemi (Westwood), Jim Corcoran (Mashpee), Mike Kelly (Lottery), Charlotte Killam (Water & Sewer Boston), Dave Reno (BPD Boston), Kelly Shay (DND Boston), Fred Simmons (Haverhill), Jorge Vargas (BPS Boston), alternates Tom McKeever (Lottery) and Jen Springer (staff), and guest Lorna Pleas Heron (DND Boston).

This convention was a huge success and the strong participation by members of the Executive Board made it one of the best conventions I have ever attended.

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CPCS staff push for organizing rights

About forty staff from the Committee for Public Counsel Services (The Public Defender Agency of Massachusetts) spent June 2 at the statehouse to meet with their elected representatives about legislation that would include them in the state’s collective bargaining law.

CPCS Data Analyst David Colarusso met with State Representative Sean Garbally urging passage of House Bill 2374

CPCS Data Analyst David Colarusso met with State Representative Sean Garbally urging passage of House Bill 2374

David Colarusso, a Data Analyst and former Staff Attorney at CPCS met with his state rep. “I found my conversation with State Representative Sean Garbally very worthwhile,” said Colarusso. “I was impressed by how receptive he was to hearing my concerns as a constituent and left the meeting feeling that he better understood our issues and why we need a seat at the table with management.”

“The momentum is really building within the legislature to finally fix this “oversight” in the state’s collective bargaining law,” said Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888. “It’s simply inexcusable for the state to deny hundreds of state employees their right to bargain collectively for a voice at work.”

An impressive group of CPCS attorneys and employees gathered for today's Lobby Day!

An impressive group of CPCS attorneys and employees gathered for today’s Lobby Day!


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SEIU Votes for “Medicare for All!”

Declaring that healthcare is a “human right, not a commodity,” delegates to the 26th International Convention unanimously passed a resolution that puts SEIU on record in support of national and state single-payer initiatives, often called “Medicare for All.”

Click on this link to take the Pledge to Fight for Single Payer Healthcare!

Click on this picture to take the Pledge to Fight for Single Payer Healthcare!

“Our local union was founded on the principle of quality healthcare for all,” said Diane Sosne, President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW whose local submitted the resolution. “The resolution we passed shows that SEIU stands alongside the majority of Americans who believe that we need to build a new healthcare system that works for everyone.”

The resolution commits SEIU to support “enacting state-based single payer models and public options and, when politically feasible, will advocate for single payer on a national basis.” It supports the core principles of healthcare justice and the inclusion of everyone, regardless of immigration status, under a single standard of care.

Until recently, SEIU focused most of its attention on defending and implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But, in addition to 1199NW, a number of regional locals have been involved in state single-payer battles. For example 1199 Healthcare Workers East is a key supporter of New York Health, a bill that would establish a publicly financed universal healthcare system to cover all New Yorkers. And SEIU Local 1021 has been a strong supporter of the Campaign for a Healthy California.

“Local 888 is thrilled to have SEIU help lead the fight to win Medicare for All,” said Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues. “Just as we have helped to change the terms of debate in the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign, we can be a game changer organizing the movement for healthcare for all!”

For more information about Labor support for Medicare for All, visit the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Health Care.

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Member Spotlight: Leader on the job becomes new leader in Local 888

Long time UMass Lowell employee (and former student) Nick Piscitello was recently elected chapter chair for the professional bargaining unit at the university.  The UMass Professionals are one of the largest chapters in Local 888 with over 580 members working in a wide variety of jobs throughout the university.

New UMass union leader Nick Piscitello: "The opportunities I've had at Lowell are just amazing. So many people here shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today. I wanted to give back and help others."

New UMass union leader Nick Piscitello: “The opportunities I’ve had at Lowell are just amazing. So many people here shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today. I wanted to give back and help others.”

Piscitello never expected to be a union leader.  “I dreamed of becoming a computer scientist or engineer like my dad,” he told the Spark.

But first he had to overcome serious learning disabilities that left him unable to read or write in the sixth grade.  Fortunately, his parents fought for the resources that he needed and one teacher made an extraordinary effort to help him overcome his disability.  By the time he got to high school he was a national honors student!

After enrolling as an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, that experience inspired him to become involved as a resident assistant in the resident life program and eventually appointed resident director at Fox Hall.

“The opportunities I’ve had at Lowell are just amazing,” said Piscitello. “So many people here shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today.  I wanted to give back and help others.  That’s why I loved working in the Student Affairs department.”

It inspired him to get his Master’s in Education at UMass Lowell.

It wasn’t long before management recognized Piscitello’s abilities and transferred him to Facilities.  Initially wary of not being in student development, he soon found that he was working with dozens of students in an equally important role.

As his responsibilities in administration expanded, Piscitello decided to pursue a second Masters in Business.  The university made him director of Administrative Services last August.

“I’ve realized that as you move into leadership at the university it’s an opportunity to make great changes – and have fun doing it!” Piscitello emphasized.

“You can make a significant difference in people lives, especially when we find those ‘win-win’ opportunities for synergy and collaboration.”

Piscitello wants to bring that same approach to his new role as chapter chair and to helping his coworkers in the union.  “Our jobs are critical to the success of the university.  By working collaboratively with management we can find many more ‘win-win’ opportunities that help the university while helping members to grow and succeed too.”

Piscitello will be sworn in as a new Executive Board member in September.

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SEIU Local 888 Membership Convention (save the date now!)

The bi-annual SEIU Local 888 Membership Convention will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at 30 Braintree Hill Office Park, Braintree, Massachusetts.

A delegate from the Chelsea Soldiers Home speaks out at Local 888's 2014 Convention.

A delegate from the Chelsea Soldiers Home speaks out at Local 888’s 2014 Convention.

Registration opens at 10:30 AM.  After the convention adjourns, there will be an office warming and celebration of our new union headquarters in Braintree.

Members who pre-register for the convention by Sept. 9, 2016 will be eligible for a special door prize!

For more information and updates on the convention, visit SEIU Local 888 website at www.seiu888.org/convention

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Who are billionaires behind the radical right?

A new book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer describes the effort by right wing billionaires to remake our political system and control the terms of the debate through foundations, think tanks, and university institutes.

Dark Money coverA review of the book is reprinted below.  Win a free copy of this new book!  Enter a raffle by emailing rwilson@seiu888.org. Put the words “Dark Money” in the subject line and include your name, work location/chapter and phone number.  Winner will be drawn on June 30.

Koch World, By Tom Gallagher
Los Angeles Review of Books, May 14, 2016

JANE MAYER’S DARK MONEY: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right is almost too good for its own good. On the one hand, this tale of how the Koch brothers persuaded “hundreds of the other richest conservatives in the country to give them control over their millions of dollars in contributions” compels us to read on. On the other, the story is so outrageous it should make any citizen want to go out and do something about it. So likewise, read on here, but if you should decide that you’ve just got to stop and get on with changing things — well, that’s the point.

The seemingly unlimited and often untraceable money now flooding our political system has everything to do with Citizens United — the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling, by a 5-4 majority, that the First Amendment to the Constitution precludes the government from restricting independent political expenditures. But Mayer’s book goes way past that, describing an exceedingly impressive effort by the United States’s right wing to remake our political system and control the terms of the debate through foundations, think tanks, university institutes, and even by paying political commentators to sing their song.

The Koch brothers, David and Charles, heirs to Koch Industries, now the second largest privately held company in the United States, are each ranked 5th to 10th out of the wealthiest individuals in the world. (There are four brothers in all and Mayer tells the entire family history, but these are the two most commonly identified as “the Koch brothers.”) Combined, their wealth, estimated between $80-$95 billion, constitutes the largest single fortune on earth. When they talk, the littler billionaires and the wannabe billionaires tend to listen; when the brothers concluded their 2015 annual winter donors conference they were able to announce commitments of $889 million for electing conservatives in the 2016 presidential and congressional races — more than the combined total spent by the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees in 2012.

The group’s goals are fairly straightforward. Mayer quotes Richard Fink, “introduced as Charles Koch’s ‘grand strategist,’” telling the donors’ 2014 summer conference, “We want to decrease regulations. Why? It’s because we can make more profit, okay? Yeah, and cut government spending so we don’t have to pay so much taxes.” He did, however, remind his audience that the “middle third” of the electorate, the sector that can go either way, would not likely respond to such a frank presentation. Instead the donors would need to “launch a movement for well-being,” arguing, for instance, that minimum wage legislation denied the “opportunity for earned success” to an estimated 500,000 Americans who would want the chance to work for less than $7.25 an hour.

It is the infrastructure developed to create such “movements” that constitutes the real subject of Mayer’s book. She traces its roots back to the Watergate scandal, after which “conservative think tanks pitched themselves to businesses as the safest way to influence policy without scandal.” Among the early movers was Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon family fortune and “the leading financial supporter of the movement that reshaped American politics in the last quarter of the 20th century,” according to The Washington Post. After donating nearly $1 million to Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign (equivalent to about $5.5 million today) through 330 separate front groups, Scaife turned to the intellectual front and became the largest backer of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Heritage came into full bloom following Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election, when he gave every member of Congress a copy of its program, Mandate for Leadership. According to the foundation’s president, the Reagan administration ultimately adopted 61 percent of their 1,270 separate policy proposals. Perhaps most significantly, Mayer notes that, “Between 1981 and 1986, the top income tax rate was cut from 70 percent to 28 percent.”

Scaife himself subsequently became obsessed with bringing down Bill Clinton, believing that White House aide Vincent Foster had been murdered and telling an interviewer that Clinton “can order people done away with at will.” Hillary Clinton once considered him the center of a “vast right wing conspiracy” to bring down the Clinton administration, but after the two finally met, Scaife would describe his feelings toward her as “very favorable indeed.” As for Heritage, more recent activities have included donating $2 million to Premiere Networks, the operation that syndicates Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Mayer also reports that FreedomWorks, another Scaife-funded operation, has paid Tea Party bell ringer Glenn Beck over $1 million for reading “‘embedded content’ blended […] seamlessly […] Making it sound as if it were his opinion” on his Fox News broadcasts. This arrangement was “described on FreedomWorks tax disclosures as ‘advertising services.’” Free thinking does not come cheap these days.

Another early player was John M. Olin of the Olin Corporation, a chemical company that began to run afoul of the government soon after the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Olin’s greatest ambition, Mayer writes, was “to see free enterprise reestablished in this country” so that “[b]usiness and the public […] awakened to the creeping stranglehold that socialism has gained here since World War II.” By the time his eponymously named foundation spent down all of its assets in 2005, as his will stipulated, it had laundered money for the CIA, financially supported right-wing commentator William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line television show, and spent more than half of its $370 million “bankrolling the promotion of free-market ideology and other conservative ideas on the country’s campuses.”

The Kochs too entered the picture in a significant way following company run-ins with the government, converting a family foundation into the Cato Institute after allegedly violating oil price controls in 1974 and overcharging for propane gas in 1975. Mayer writes that,

It’s difficult to disentangle Charles’s [Koch] philosophical opposition to regulations from his financial interest in avoiding them […] What is indisputable is that whatever the motivations were, in the quarter century between 1980 and 2005, under Charles Koch’s leadership, his company developed a stunning record of corporate malfeasance.

This included a 1999, then-record $296 million wrongful death judgment resulting from a corroded pipeline; a $30 million fine for Clean Water Act violations in 2000, also a record at the time; a 1989 Senate finding of stealing $31 million worth of oil from Indian lands; and a 1999 jury finding that the company had made 24,587 false claims to the government. In 2010, Koch Industries was rated one of the top 10 air polluters by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; in 2012 the EPA called the company the country’s number one producer of toxic waste.

By the late 1980s, Cato and the Kochs had embarked on what Mayer describes as “a libertarian production line,” starting with “an ‘investment’ in intellectuals whose ideas would serve as the ‘raw products,’” followed by “investment in think tanks that would turn the ideas into marketable policies,” and finally the “subsidization of ‘citizens groups’ that would, along with ‘special interests,’ pressure elected officials to implement the policies.” By 2015, she writes, Charles Koch “was subsidizing pro-business, antiregulatory, and antitax programs in 307 different institutions of higher education in America and had plans to expand into 18 more.” Some of the resulting work was, well, interesting, such as that of Susan Dudley, of the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University, who argued that in proposing emissions controls on oil refineries, the EPA failed to take into account the beneficial aspects of smog, which she argued would prevent as many as 11,000 additional cases of skin cancer that might occur if the nation’s air were cleaned. One former professor reports that applicants to the Koch-funded Institute for Humane Studies on the same campus had their application essays run through a computer program that tallied the mentions of right wing notables such as Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman — the more the better was the idea. Numerous colleges have accepted programs whose funding required the teaching of Rand’s work.

In the overtly political realm, attention naturally tends to focus on the national level where the Kochs’ efforts are the culmination of a dramatic turnaround from 2004, when the $185 million spent by Democratic-aligned outside groups was more than twice that of their Republican counterparts. Particularly significant in the shift was the so-called “hedge fund switch,” following President Barack Obama’s support of (ultimately unsuccessful) legislation to eliminate the “carried-interest loophole” that allows the taxing of fund managers’ income at the lower capital gains rate. Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and chairman of the Blackstone Group, compared the proposed change to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Others didn’t go quite that far, but Mayer quotes Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledging that “a spending edge is the only thing that gives a Republican a chance to compete,” as well as telling colleagues, “If we can stop this thing [proposed campaign finance regulation], we can control the institution for the next twenty years.”

But the spending on the lower levels is equally important — and much less well known. In 2012, Democrats won more overall votes in congressional races, and yet Republicans won the House. Some of this is due to the concentration of Democratic votes in cities and some to gerrymandering in state legislatures, for which, Mayer writes, North Carolina has become “something of a test kitchen.” Acknowledging that this is “a bipartisan game as old as the Republic,” she argues that what was “different after Citizens United was that the business of manipulating politics from the ground up was now heavily directed and funded by the unelected rich.”

And then there is the American Legislative Exchange Council, which Scaife funded in the 1970s and now produces as many as a thousand bills a year for state legislators to introduce as their own. Mayer reckons that about 200 of them become law. Although organized as a educational organization, ALEC’s members-only newsletter has described it as “good investment” for companies because, “Nowhere else can you get a return that high.” In 2009, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity came online with bureaus in 40 states to disseminate news stories based upon the work of the 64 think tanks belonging to the State Policy Network, an operation funded — by the usual sources — at over $83 million in 2011. Twenty-nine of its think tanks are members of ALEC. And all of this, of course, is tax-exempt, nonpolitical, charitable work.

There are inherent limitations, however: the “confidential investors update” of Americans for Prosperity — the actual name of the Kochs’ political organization — acknowledged that “Americans in general are concerned free-market policy — and its advocates — benefit the rich and powerful more than the most vulnerable in society,” and concluded, “We must correct that misperception.”

A light may actually have appeared at the end of the tunnel since the publication of this book. Just a year ago, if you said that a presidential candidate could run a competitive race by rallying people against the idea of billionaires controlling our political system and could fund that campaign with people giving 25 bucks a pop, you’d probably have put yourself in line for a psychiatric evaluation — or at least a urinalysis. But voila: In February 2016, the Bernie Sanders campaign set a monthly presidential fundraising record of almost $43 million, and in March, broke it with $44 million — not with the money of billionaires, but with contributions averaging $27! The Kochs and their ilk have done, and are doing, a lot of work that needs to be undone. But it does appear that there might be millions of people prepared to take up the fight.

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/koch-world/

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Union discounts on summer fun!

Six Flags:
Day Ticket          $41.00
Season Pass       $56.99

six-flags-new-england1Water Country
Online Ticket    $29.99
Paper Ticket      $30.99

Canobie Lake Park
Ticket                   $31.00

Visit www.seiu888.org/888deals to get these discounts and more!

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Coming Attractions

calendarLocal 888 Committee on Political Education (COPA)
Tuesday, June 21 at 6:30 PM Local 888 office, 25 Braintree Hill Park, Suite 306, Braintree, MA. The committee will go over its second round of endorsements for the fall elections.

Please RSVP by Monday, June 20 to Joe Lazzerini, Political Organizer (508) 418-3370 or email jlazzerini@seiu888.org

COPA helps members fight against budget cuts to public services and threats to contract rights. Membership involvement in electoral campaigns and legislative advocacy is key to winning locally and statewide!

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD)
Weekend Leadership Conference, Bridgewater State College, June 24 – 26
More info at http://wildlabor.org
The conference costs $30. Local 888 will reimburse up to 10 members who attend. Contact myunion@seiu888.org for more info.

Bread & Roses logoBread and Roses Labor Day Festival
Lawrence Common,
September 5, 12 to 6 PM.

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SEIU Local 888 has a new address & FAX number!

Local 888 is now located at 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Braintree, MA 02184

we-have-moved1Local 888’s also has a new FAX number: 617 241-3303.  All other numbers remain the same.

Directions and information about free shuttle from the Red Line is online at www.seiu888.org/my-union/directory/directions888/

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Important events for Local 888 members

Know Your Rights Training
Wednesday, May 18
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
112 Exchange Street, Lynn MA, 2nd floor
Knowledge= Power!  All are invited to learn about how to stand up for your rights on the job. Sponsored by the North Shore
Labor Council Women’s Committee.
Topics will include: Wage Theft, Earned Sick Time, Sexual Harassment, and the campaign to win Paid Family Medical Leave

Childcare, translation and light dinner will be provided. RSVP to Rebecca at northshorelaborcouncil@gmail.com

Gompers-Murray-Meany Educational Conference 2016
Wednesday, May 25 through Friday, May 27
Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Falmouth MA

Join hundreds of union leaders and activists to learn, network, & get ready for a high stakes election season.
This year’s theme is ELECTIONS 2016: WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR LABOR? WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR AMERICA? In an election year that has already stirred unprecedented controversy, this year’s Gompers will feature a host of engaging and provocative speakers on the Presidential election, other key US Senate races across the country, important ballot initiatives here in MA and what is at stake with the US Supreme Court. Click here to view the agenda.

For more info: call Meghann Vergato at 781.324.8230 or visit http://www.massaflcio.org/Gompers

Local 888 Committee on Political Education (COPA)
Thursday, May 26, 6:30 PM (Monthly meeting)
26 West Street, 2nd Fl., Boston

COPA helps members fight back against budget cuts to public services and threats to contract rights. Membership involvement in electoral campaigns and legislative advocacy is key to winning locally and statewide!

CPCS Lobby Day
Thursday, June 2
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
State House.
Local 888’s proposed legislation to win basic right to form a union is in House and Senate Committee on Ways and Means right now. This is the last step before they are voted by their respective chambers.
Call (617) 722-2000 to urge your State Rep and Senator to support organizing rights for public defenders!

9:30 am   Coffee and Donuts at Church on the hill, 140 Bowdoin St, Boston, MA 02108
10:00 am Lobby Day program begins with a briefing from the Organizing Committee and SEIU Political Staff
10:30 am Lobbying begins with visits to Senators and Reps offices.
12:30 pm Lunch
1:00 pm   Debrief and turn in lobby materials

All members who care about collective bargaining rights or criminal Justice reform are encouraged to attend.

Salt of the Earth Awards
Community labor United 11th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, June 10
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Intercontinental Boston Hotel, 510 Atlantic Ave. Boston, MA
Award recipients: Sen. Dan Wolf, Brian Doherty, Building Trades Council, Beborah Hughes, Brookview House, Greater Boston Legal Services
For more info: call Bob Bower, 508-450-3238 or email danielle@massclu.org

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD)
Weekend Leadership Conference
June 24 – 26
Bridgewater State College,
More info at http://wildlabor.org

The conference costs $30. Local 888 will reimburse up to 10 members who attend. Contact myunion@seiu888.org for more info.

Save the Date: Local 888 Biennial Convention, Saturday, September 24.  More details in the June 2016 Spark!

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Local 888 relocating to new offices in Braintree

SEIU Local 888 is relocating to a new headquarters in Braintree on June 1.

aerial_view_bhop

An aerial view of the new Local 888 office.

Background on the decision to move
Early in 2015, President Mark DelloRusso spoke with Local 888’s current landlord about several issues regarding the 52 Roland St. property. The elevator did not work for several years making it difficult for disabled members to climb the stairs to the second floor. Despite repeated requests, the landlord never fixed it.

The landlord also took several months to correct persistent heating and cooling issues (sometimes the office hit 100 degrees!) and removed our SEIU signs and banners pointing to the office location.

Traffic in the Charlestown area was already very congested and with a new casino expected in Everett, access would become even more difficult.

President DelloRusso asked the landlord to be released from the remaining four years of the lease and the Executive Board formed a committee to assist in the search for a new home in the area of Quincy, Braintree, or Dorchester. The final selection was presented by the committee to the Executive Board without objections.

Advantages
By downsizing to 6,400 square feet, SEIU Local 888’s members will save hundreds of thousands of dollars and help keep Local 888 financially stable for years to come.  Local 888 also received four month’s rent free.

“Members are going to like the safety and security of our new offices,” said Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso.  “It will be significantly less expensive than the Charlestown union hall and easily accessible by shuttle bus from the Quincy Adams station on the Red Line.”

An “open house” for members to see the new space will likely coincide with Local 888’s biannual convention tentatively scheduled for late September.

The new address for SEIU Local 888 is 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 306, Braintree, MA 02184. Local 888’s main phone number will remain the same as will addresses for the Lowell, Worcester, and Western Mass offices.

In addition to the free shuttle to the Quincy Adams Red Line T Station, the new offices have ample free parking, a fitness center, and it is close to a child care center and two hotels. South Shore Plaza with over 200 stores is just five minutes away.

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More Emerson staff unite in Local 888

Three new Emerson College groups voted to join SEIU Local 888 on May 3. The Communications and Marketing, Institutional Advancement, and Information Technology units voted in separate NLRB elections. The organizing win follows a successful bid last month by employees in the Academic Affairs unit. The combined four groups are expected to become a bargaining unit of about 150 members.

Left to right: Jaqi Holland, Elbert Lee, Sarah Benkendorf, Phyllis Meyers, Richelle Devereaux-Murray, Ashley Tarbet-Destefano, Anna Feder, Jim Delaney, Estelle Ticktin

New Local 888 members (left to right): Jaqi Holland, Elbert Lee, Sarah Benkendorf, Phyllis Meyers, Richelle Devereaux-Murray, Ashley Tarbet-Destefano, Anna Feder, Jim Delaney, and Estelle Ticktin.

The new units will each elect their coworkers to a bargaining committee to negotiate their first agreement with Emerson management.

“As an alumna of Emerson College and now a staff member, I am proud to be part of a group that has come together to form our union so that we can make our school a better place to work and learn,” said Nerissa Williams Scott, an Assistant Manager at the Paramount Center.

“We built relationships across departments and across job titles. We heard from our colleagues about why they love to work at Emerson as well as the things they would like to see improved,” said Nancy Howell, a Senior Copy Editor. “Now that we have voted in our union, we look forward to negotiating a first contract that addresses our concerns.”

The workers will be joining hundreds of similar employees at UMass Lowell, Boston University, and Brandeis University who are already united in Local 888.

“The momentum is building in area colleges and universities for a voice on the job and collective bargaining,” said Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888. “We welcome all of the new Emerson members to Local 888 and to the Boston-area labor movement.”

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