Union Updates

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Vote yes on bylaw reform; ballots due Dec. 20

FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS: Massachusetts public defenders attended a board meeting of their employer, the Committee for Public Counsel Services. A proposed bylaw change would welcome them as associate members of Local 888, as they are not yet union members, but are seeking their collective bargaining rights.

FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS: Massachusetts public defenders attended a board meeting of their employer, the Committee for Public Counsel Services. A proposed bylaw change would welcome them as associate members of Local 888, as they are not yet union members, but are seeking their collective bargaining rights.

“All members are urged to vote yes on the proposed bylaw reforms,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues. “We worked very hard on drafting these changes, which were unanimously approved by the executive board.”

The goals of the bylaw changes are to increase participation and promote greater democracy in the union and to strengthen members’ rights to a safe and fair work environment. The changes are based on the executive board’s experience with the current bylaws.

The deadline for voting on changes to the Local 888 bylaws is Dec. 20. The proposed changes would:

  • Create a chapter for Local 888 retirees.
  • Call on the local’s elected president, secretary-treasurer and recording secretary to lead and work collaboratively.
  • Allow for the use of electronic voting as allowed under federal labor law.
  • Welcome associate members into the Local 888 fold. One example: workers who have not yet gotten their first collective bargaining agreement.

For more on the proposed Local 888 bylaw changes, see: www.seiu888.org/bylaws/. If you have not received a ballot in the mail, call the union at 617-241-3300 for more information or email myunion@seiu888.org.

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‘Unions For All’ looks at presidential race

BERNIE SANDERS: Told SEIU members that his overall goal 'is to bring people together by the millions to demand a government and an economy that works for all of us.'

BERNIE SANDERS: Told SEIU members that his overall goal ‘is to bring people together by the millions to demand a government and an economy that works for all of us.’

Local 888 members and leaders took part in a live streaming-video interview with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The U.S. senator said his overall goal “is to bring people together by the millions to demand a government and an economy that works for all of us.”

The national event was emceed by Valarie Long, an SEIU executive vice president. Affordable health care was the No. 1 issue for members in an informal live poll; retirement security was No. 2. Sanders answered questions on topics ranging from racism to health care.

More than 7,000 SEIU members and organizing leaders across the country took part in the digital town hall. Long said that the power of SEIU was demonstrated by having nine presidential candidates come before our members to seek their votes and the union’s endorsement.

The event was a follow-up to the grilling of candidates that took place at SEIU’s recent Unions for All Summit. SEIU wants all candidates to endorse the platform.

Sanders was unable to attend the summit due to an illness, but was able to address members and answer their questions via the November streaming-video event. “We need an unprecedented grassroots movement of working people to defeat President Trump,” Sanders said.

Several Local 888 Executive Board members and President Brenda Rodrigues were among the 1,000 SEIU members — and workers fighting for a union — who attended the summit.

Rodrigues said the goal of the summit was “to inspire attendees to work together and turn this country around.

All people should have the opportunity to join in a union, no matter where they are from, what color they are, or where they work.” To download or print a copy of SEIU’s “Unions For All: Building Power To Win”
booklet, in English or in Spanish,
click here.

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A move to right Supreme Court’s wrongs

LABOR SAVORS VICTORY: Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues, at far right, was on hand to celebrate a new law that will require employers to allow union leaders to give an orientation to new hires.

LABOR SAVORS VICTORY: Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues, at far right, was on hand to celebrate a new law that will require employers to allow union leaders to give an orientation to new hires.

A new Massachusetts law could blunt the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which undermined public workers’ right to collective bargaining.

The official bill-signing marked a major legislative achievement for Local 888 and the labor movement. The new law requires public employers to give union leaders time to provide orientation to new hires, during work hours and in the workplace.

In addition, the law shields public employees’ contact information, such as emails and home addresses, from the general public. This will curb groups backed by corporations and wealthy donors, such as the Koch brothers, from launching campaigns that attack public sector unions.

The law maintains unions’ access to members’ contact information. In addition, unions will be given the option of charging fees for services to those who aren’t paying dues. This includes grievances and arbitrations.

The Massachusetts law comes in a response to the Supreme Court decision that overturned  decades of legal precedence. The court ruled that public unions could not require those who opt out of joining to pay “fair share” or agency fees.

For more info on the new law, contact Tom McKeever at tmckever@seiu888.org.

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‘Big victory’ at Head Start

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Management for the Community Action Agency of Somerville was looking to cut costs by making Local 888 members pay more for a new health insurance plan with less-comprehensive coverage. The negotiation team held firm — and won the day.

“This was a big victory for us,” said Carla Elder, who was on the negotiating team. “Health insurance is a major concern for our members.” Most get their health insurance through CAAS, which runs Head Start in Cambridge and Somerville.

Having their own health care expert at the negotiating table allowed union members to have an independent evaluation of management’s proposals.

Under the chapter’s new contract, CAAS will continue to pay 89 percent toward workers’ health insurance. Management had sought to lower that percentage to 80 percent — and have members pay for the increases retroactively for six months.

Instead, the 45 Head Start teachers and family advocates will be able to stay on their existing health insurance plan, offered through Local 888. They won’t owe retroactive insurance payments.

“It was a huge win,” said Linda DeLuca, director of the SEIU Local 888’s Affiliated Funds. Overall, the insurance premium is set to go up by 4 percent.

Elder praised Local 888 staff who took part in negotiations: DeLuca, internal organizer Madeline Soto and chief of staff Rand Wilson. “Everybody did their part and they executed well,” said Elder, a family advocate at CAAS for more than 10 years. She recently joined the Local 888 Executive Board.

CAAS and Montachusetts Opportunity Council Head Start workers are united in SEIU Local 888. But thousands of other Head Start workers in Massachusetts don’t have the benefits of a union contract and a voice at work. Do you know someone in a Head Start program interested in the benefits of collective bargaining? Contact rwilson@seiu888.org or call (617) 241-3300.

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Steamship clerks tie up a win

FULL SPEED AHEAD: A fast-moving Massachusetts Steamship Authority ferry is part of the fleet that services Nantucket and the Vineyard. The authority’s Local 888 clerks have ratified a new contract.

FULL SPEED AHEAD: A fast-moving Massachusetts Steamship Authority ferry is part of the fleet that services Nantucket and the Vineyard. The authority’s Local 888 clerks have ratified a new contract.

Local 888 members at the Massachusetts Steamship Authority were all “steamed up” over management’s proposed terms for a contract. But a new contract with bigger raises sailed through on a recent vote.

Members will receive average raises of 12 percent over the course of the three-year contract. Also, members will get several months’ worth of raises retroactively.

The October wind storms may have turned the tide in the chapter’s favor, said John Magner, Local 888 staff attorney. “Our guys did a good job handling all the trip cancelations,” said Magner. “It helped with negotiations.”

Wind gusts up to 58 mph were registered on Martha’s Vineyard during the October storms.

The chapter’s 25 members are reservation clerks for passenger and commercial vehicles for the ferries, which service the Vineyard and Nantucket. Most clerks are located on the mainland, but several work on the pricey islands.

Contract talks had dragged from last year into fall of this year.

The new agreement calls for management to continue to pay 80 percent of members’ health insurance, which is an SEIU Local 888 affiliated plan.

If you or your co-workers are interested in learning about the SEIU Local 888 Affiliated Funds — which include health, dental and vision plans — call Linda DeLuca at 617-241-3367 or email ldeluca.funds@seiu888.org.

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Winchester talks ‘successful’

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“Very successful contract negotiations” will mean major improvements for Winchester DPW workers, said Tony Donlon, the Local 888 chapter president. Overall, the town estimates there will be a 27 percent increase in payroll under the three-year contract.

“We had a great negotiating team, with members who complemented each other well,” said Donlon. He praised Josh Clancy, Local 888 internal organizer, for leading the team and advocating for making changes to the salary scale.

Right off the bat, the 35 members will get a $1 per hour increase to their base pay in the first year and a similar half dollar increase the second year. In addition, the agreement includes cost-of-living increases of 1.5 percent annually.

The addition of step raises at the top of the pay scale “went over really well with our members,” said Donlon. Most of the DPW workers had, after five years, hit the top of the pay scale.

In its first year, the new contract drops the two lowest pay steps, while adding five steps at the top. In addition, workers can earn yearly stipends for getting several additional licenses, such as one for operating backhoes. Existing stipends will also be increased.

“These stipends are a win-win arrangement for the town and our members,” said Donlon. Workers are rewarded for training for, and maintaining their licenses. In turn, the town has employees who can perform a variety of functions. The Department of Public Works members do everything from maintaining and repairing equipment, to plowing and repairing roads to keeping the water and sewer running.

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Medford chapter hammers away to get new pact

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The Local 888 carpenters chapter in the Medford Public Schools presented a detailed itinerary of what they do every day — and how members save the district money.

In turn, the superintendent of schools listened, and made the case to the school board.

The result? Members got a bump in their base pay of $5,000. On top of that, they will receive 7 percent in raises over the life of the three-year contract.

While the job title is carpenter, “these guys can troubleshoot almost anything,” said Neal O’Brien, Local 888 internal organizer. “And they know when to call in an outside vendor and when they can do the job themselves.”

“This makes these guys very valuable to the city — since calling in a vendor costs $75 to $100 just to have them show up,” said O’Brien.

In addition to carpentry work, the Local 888 members have HVAC licenses, so they can go up on the roof to identify heating and ventilation issues. They also do a good deal of painting and take care of basic plumbing issues.

If they determine that an outside contractor is truly needed, only then do they call one in.

The Medford school department has seven buildings and more than 4,500 students.

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UMass Lowell Hockey Night

SKATING INTO FUN: Local 888 members teamed up for an entertaining Hockey Night. This popular outing featured UMass Lowell’s River Hawks, a top-ranked team. The River Hawks fell to the Providence College Friars, 4-1.

SKATING INTO FUN: Local 888 members teamed up for an entertaining Hockey Night. This popular outing featured UMass Lowell’s River Hawks, a top-ranked team. The River Hawks fell to the Providence College Friars, 4-1.

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Coming Up

Coming up

LOCAL 888 LEADERS MEET: The SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meets Wed, Dec. 11, 10:00 a.m. at the union’s conference room at 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, in Braintree. The Executive Board is the governing body of Local 888. It is authorized and empowered to take all lawful action consistent with our Constitution and by-laws. Meetings are open to all members.

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Holiday schedule for SEIU Local 888 office

happy-thanksgivingLocal 888 will be closed for Thanksgiving on November 28 and 29.

Golden-Christmas-bells-with-Holly-berries-tinsel-and-red-bow-Local 888 will be closed for the Christmas holiday on December 24 and 25.

 

Local 888 will be closed on New Years Day, January 1, 2020.

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Boston Home Center has programs that can help working families

PrintBoston Home Center has some great programs that can help working families in Boston!
1) Senior Saves
2) Senior Home Repair/ Home Repair(for all)
3) Financial Assistance
4) Education and Counseling for home buyers & home owners
The Home Center has resources for folks to get their credit on track, budgeting and great home lottery opportunities! Lots of great listings and links here:
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Local 888 bylaw reforms up for vote

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The Local 888 Executive Board encourages a yes vote on the proposed bylaw changes that members will be receiving in the mail. These reforms are designed to make the union more democratic and ensure a safe and fair work environment.

The proposed changes would:

  • Allow for electronic voting.
  • Create a chapter for Local 888 retirees.
  • Call on the local’s elected officers to lead and work together collaboratively.
  • Welcome associate members into the fold.

For a full description of proposed changes, see: http://www.seiu888.org/bylaws/

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