Union Updates

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Serving up love every day

Food is Love logo 9-16-19

Local 888 cafeteria chapters are gearing up for Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week from Oct. 15 to 18. Local 888 leaders held a press conference Sept. 30 at the State House to kick off events. A public hearing with state legislators is set for Thurs., Oct. 17, 6 p.m., at the West Brockton Middle School, 271 West St., Brockton.

Local 888 is currently conducting a survey of its food service members about their work and job satisfaction. A summary of survey results will be shared with elected officials, school and community leaders and the general public during Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week. The survey is at: https://tinyurl.com/888survey.

For the full report on Food Service Workers’ Week, see www.seiu888.org.

To see a copy of the governor’s Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week, visit: http://www.seiu888.org/cafe/ .

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Mass. candidates forum eyes Dems’ fiery U.S. Senate fight

TOM McKEEVER

TOM McKEEVER

Sparks are already flying in the Massachusetts race for U.S. Senate — and that’s just between the two front-runners.

Now, Local 888 is co-sponsoring an SEIU candidates forum, where members can learn all about the issues and grill the U.S. Senate rivals. The event is set for 10 a.m., Sat., Oct. 26.

“We need labor-friendly advocates in the Senate who are willing to fight for our issues,” said Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever. “Members should come to hear from the candidates — and ask them tough questions, too.”

The forum will feature a round-robin setup. That means SEIU members — and the four candidates — will be split up into four separate rooms, allowing for more informal conversations.

The candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and Steve Pemberton, a human resources executive.

The forum will feature a round-robin setup. That means SEIU members — and the four candidates — will be split up into four separate rooms, allowing for more informal conversations.

The candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary:

  • S. Sen Ed Markey, who served as the U.S. representative for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District before winning the special election vote to the Senate in 2013.
  • S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, who served as a Massachusetts assistant district attorney before his election victory in the state’s 4th Congressional District in 2012.
  • Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer who has won class-action suits for workers against major companies, including ride-hailing giant Uber.
  • Steve Pemberton, a human resources executive who has written a memoir on growing up as an unwanted foster child.

SEIU’s U.S. Senate Candidates Forum is set for Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sponsors include the SEIU State Council along with Locals 509, 32BJ, 1199 UHE, 888, 1957CIR, and 3FO. The event will be at the 1199 UHE Headquarters, 108 Myrtle St., Quincy.

For more info, call 617-241-3300. Other details:

  • Lunch served after the forum.
  • Buses will pick up Local 888 members in Springfield, Worcester and Lawrence.
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Make your voice heard Oct. 26

SEIU’s U.S. Senate Candidates Forum is set for Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sponsors include the SEIU State Council along with Locals 509, 32BJ, 1199 UHE, 888, 1957CIR, and 3FO. The event will be at the 1199 UHE Headquarters, 108 Myrtle St., Quincy.

For more info, call 617-241-3300. Other details:

  • Lunch served after the forum.
  • Buses will pick up Local 888 members in Springfield, Worcester and Lawrence.
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Full menu for food-service week

GANG’S ALL HERE: Brockton cafeteria workers, front row from left, Lisa Mather, Karen Warren, Jean Roy and, standing, Tina Rabs are seen with Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues and political organizer Michael Kelly at a Brockton event.

GANG’S ALL HERE: Brockton cafeteria workers, front row from left, Lisa Mather, Karen Warren, Jean Roy and, standing, Tina Rabs are seen with Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues and political organizer Michael Kelly at a Brockton event.

“It’s great to have food service workers recognized for all that we do,” said Karen Warren, president of SEIU Local 888’s Brockton cafeteria workers chapter. “Yes, we cook and serve breakfast and lunch — but we’re also trained in such things as how to handle kids’ allergies, so as to keep them safe.”

“Over 1,000 of our members cook and serve food to students and veterans in dozens of communities every day,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues. “But these workers do so much more than just serve good food; they create a safe and comforting environment for all. Everyone says that, ‘Food is Love,’ and our members do a great job of serving it every day.”

Local 888 cafeteria chapters are gearing up for Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week from Oct. 15 to 18.

Local 888 leaders held a press conference Sept. 30 at the State House to kick off events. A public hearing with state legislators is set for Thurs., Oct. 17, 6 p.m., at the West Brockton Middle School, 271 West St., Brockton.

Local 888 is currently conducting a survey of its food service members about their work and job satisfaction. A summary of survey results will be shared with elected officials, school and community leaders and the general public during Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week. The survey is at: https://tinyurl.com/888survey.

For the full report on Food Service Workers’ Week, see www.seiu888.org.

To see a copy of the governor’s Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week, visit: http://www.seiu888.org/cafe/ .

The Brockton chapter has 195 members whose schedule ranges from 20 hours per week to a full 40 hours. Warren works as a cafeteria manager at Brockton High School. All told, there are about 17,000 students attending the Brockton Public Schools. The system offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, under state and federal programs.

The state, municipal and school food service workers in Massachusetts are dedicated to serving the children in our schools, clients in their homes, and patients and veterans in hospitals and nursing facilities. These workers deliver healthy, high-quality food. They also use their expertise to take care of those with food allergies and special dietary needs.

Service Employees International Union Local 888 unites food service workers in the following school districts: Andover, Blue Hills Regional, Brockton, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional, Falmouth, Fitchburg, Groton-Dunstable Regional, Haverhill, Hopkinton, Lawrence, Malden, Marlborough, Medford, Millbury, Oxford, Quincy, Randolph, Scituate, Shrewsbury, Tantasqua Regional, Watertown, Weymouth, Winthrop and Woburn. Local 888 members also work in food service at the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers Homes. To learn more about Local 888, visit http://www.seiu888.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/SEIULocal888/.

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Local 888 leaders gear up for Oct. 19 event

Eight Hours graphic

“The upcoming 2019 Leadership Conference is a great time to learn more about the nuts-and-bolts of organizing, talk shop with other members in the same industry sector, and hear from inspirational speakers,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues. Local 888’s 2019  Leadership Conference is set for Sat., Oct. 19, at the  Braintree Hill Office Park in Braintree. After registration and coffee from 9 to 10 a.m., the conference will kick off with a general session. This will feature Local 888 leaders, a guest speaker and an overview of proposed changes to bylaws, which will then be voted on by the general membership (see related article, page 3).

“I’m excited to share our experiences at the Chelsea Soldiers Home with other Local 888 members,” said Elmer Arriaza, the chapter vice president. “We are fighting for people’s rights,” he said, adding it will be his first time attending an 888 leadership conference.

Morning workshops: 11 a.m. to noon will cover such topics as:

  • Using your rights at work to win grievances and resolve on-the-job problems.
  • Conducting new member orientations so they keep your chapter strong.
  • Employing your chapter funds to build members’ power.
  • Running a rewarding membership meeting.
  • Communicating effectively to build unity.

Industry sector breakouts:  12:30 to 2:00 p.m., will cover: schools, early childhood education, higher education, municipalities, state government, public authorities, and the MassDefenders.

Pre-register for a Door Prize: Members who pre-register for the conference by Oct. 11 will be eligible for a special door prize: https://forms.gle/744wHjqZ5KjNsBsh6

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Members to vote on bylaw reform plans

SUSAN WINNING

SUSAN WINNING

The Local 888 Executive Board has recommended bylaw changes in order to strengthen the union. These will later be voted on by the entire Local 888 membership.

One proposed bylaw change spells out that members shall not take part in sexual harassment or conduct that causes “an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.”

“We felt it would be good to be proactive and provide leadership on this issue,” said board member Susan Winning, who was on the committee that drew up the bylaws proposals.

Another bylaw change has a “back to the future” look: the creation of a chapter for Local 888 retirees — which will have a seat on the executive board. While retirees would not be eligible to vote on chapter contracts, they could take part in caucuses and Local 888’s Committee on Political Action.

Another addition is futuristic: It allows for the use of electronic voting if the technology ultimately meets the standards of federal labor law.

Other proposed bylaw changes include:

  • Calling on Local 888’s elected president, secretary treasurer and recording secretary to lead and work collaboratively. “We were concerned, in particular, with a president just doing what they wanted to do, and not working as a team,” said Winning.
  • Allowing for workers who want to be part of Local 888 to become associate members. One example: workers who have not yet gotten their first collective bargaining agreement.

Members who are laid off or on “appropriate leave from work” can maintain their membership status by continuing to pay dues, at a rate to be determined by the Local 888 Executive Board.

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Mass. lottery to pay medical leave tax

Lottery_Graphic

The Massachusetts State Lottery has agreed to fully cover the payroll tax that will fund the state’s new family and medical leave law.

“I’m excited that our members are not going to have to pay any additional money for the new law,” said John Kallmerten, the Local 888 lottery chapter’s president. “I’m very pleased with the overall agreement with management that made this possible.”

The state’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave Act began took effect Oct. 1. SEIU locals in Massachusetts helped pass the new law as part of the Raise Up Coalition.

Under the law, companies with more than 25 workers have to pay a 0.75 percent payroll tax. Municipalities are exempt from the law, but they can opt in.

In general, all employees must cover a portion of that tax, up to about 40 percent of it. That amounts to a maximum of $190 for a worker making $50,000 annually. Now, lottery workers won’t have to worry about that.

Gov. Charlie Baker has told State House News Service that it’s “only fair” that public employees pay the new tax.

Under the state’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program, the maximum amount of paid time that’s available in one year is 26 weeks.

Workers will be eligible for the following on Jan. 1, 2021:

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a new child or sick family member.
  • Up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave for a serious health condition.

Up to 26 weeks of paid family leave to care for a service member.

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B.U. worker honored for growing her gardens, a library

GROWING SUCCESS: Nasim Parveen, who works at B.U.’s Stone Science Library, has been honored for her home gardens.

GROWING SUCCESS: Nasim Parveen, who works at B.U.’s Stone Science Library, has been honored for her home gardens.

After winning the mayor of Boston’s annual gardening contest three times, a Local 888 librarian’s passion for gardening has landed her prime billing in a Boston University news publication.

Nasim Parveen works at B.U.’s Stone Science Library, whose notable collections include the fields of archaeology, earth science and geology. While the library now has 14,000 books, when Parveen arrived there in 1989 it had just 250.

The B.U. Librarians’ new contract included overdue recognition for her dedication: An 8 percent raise on top of her cost-of-living raise.

Similarly, when Parveen originally bought her West Roxbury home about 17 years ago, the house was still under construction and the back yard was largely vacant. The city had used it to store sand and salt.

Now it is home to more than 250 perennials that bloom from early spring to late fall, along with many annuals. She has statues, a fountain, a paved walkway and even a gazebo.

Parveen compares the practice of gardening to working as a librarian. She told the BU_Today: “Both are creative, full of dreams, and require hard work, education, and imagination. The Stone Library is my garden, too. It’s my child, because, like my garden, I helped make it from scratch.”

For more on Parveen, including a video, see http://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/this-bu-librarian-turned-her-backyard-into-an-urban-eden-one-plant-at-a-time/

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Weymouth cafeterias’ pact

Members of the Weymouth Public Schools cafeteria chapter unanimously approved a new three-year contract, which includes:

  • A pay increase of $2 per hour for cooks.
  • An increase of $1 per hour for assistant cooks.
  • An increase of 6 percent for other workers over three years.
  • The addition of another step to the current salary schedule, which will result in an additional 2 percent raise for those already at the top of the pay scale.

The three-year contract includes 2 percent raises in 2020 and 2021 as well. The new contract also clarified exactly what grade and step a member would move to when promoted to a higher position — with at least a 5 percent pay increase involved.

The agreement calls for the Weymouth schools to pay for the members’ certification in food safety, and also for their recertification as required by law. Sick leave when retiring or resigning will increase from 20 percent to 35 percent of the value of unused sick leave, with a cap of $2,500 — up from $2,000.

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2020 Hopefuls to Speak at #UnionsForAll Summit

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Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues and four members of the Executive Board will be attending the Unions for All Summit from October 3rd – 6th. At the Summit, 2020 presidential candidates have been asked to share their plans to ensure all people have the right to join together in strong unions.

You can hear what the candidates have to say too. RSVP to watch the action in Los Angeles LIVE

The candidates confirmed to attend so far include:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Former US Representative Beto O’Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

We know that coming together in unions is the best way for working people of all races and backgrounds to build power and win raises and other benefits to improve working conditions.

RSVP to tune into our #UnionsForAll Summit to build a shared vision for America. 

The 2020 election is our opportunity to make sure all workers have the right to join together in unions by electing a candidate that puts people before corporations. 

Join other SEIU members to hear what the candidates have to say at the Unions for All Summit. Sign up to watch the livestream.

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Local 888 looks to election as leaders gear up for races

FRED SIMMONS

FRED SIMMONS

Local 888’s Committee on Political Action has endorsed two members of the union’s executive board in their bids for elective office. These endorsements are part of COPA’s activities for the fall election.

As a member of the Chelsea City Council, Enio Lopez has supported community members working to improve the city. Lopez backed the council’s bid to ban single-use plastic bags, noting that they are bad for the environment and an all-too-common ingredient of litter.

Lopez is a Local 888 leader at the Chelsea Soldiers Home.

Fred Simmons, a Haverhill custodians union leader, is running for one of the hotly-contested City Council seats there.

Simmons told a Haverhill cable TV host: “One of my biggest issues is that we need to bring more affordable housing to the city. Time after time I hear from people that they can’t afford to live here.” He said that his passion for the issue has been fueled in part from serving on the board of the Haverhill Housing Authority.

In Boston’s upcoming City Council race, Local 888’s COPA is backing at-large incumbents Michael Flaherty and Michelle Wu. Also endorsed for City Council:
* Lydia Edwards, District 1, which covers Charlestown and East Boston.

* Ed Flynn, District 2, which covers South Boston and Chinatown.

* Andrea Campbell, District 4, which covers Mattapan and parts of Dorchester.

* Kim Janey, District 7, which covers Roxbury and parts of Dorchester and the South End.

In May, Wu and Edwards held a discussion with labor activists, including Local 888 political director Tom McKeever, prior to City Council hearings on a Fair Workweek Ordinance. Such a law would require city contractors to provide employees with advance notice of changes to work schedules, fairly compensate workers for last-minute changes and acknowledge the right of employees to rest between shifts.

During the discussion, McKeever stressed the importance of unions in addressing workplace problems. He also talked about the need to raise the minimum wage as housing and other costs skyrocket.

In other activity, the Local 888 COPA recently organized its first social event for members — a day trip to the MGM Springfield, a newly opened casino. For more info on the Local 888 COPA, contact Tom McKeever at tmckeever@seiu888.org.

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Make sure your voice is heard

Food is Love 9-9-19

Over 1,000 Local 888 members cook and serve food every day. If you are a food service worker, please fill out the Local 888 survey about you and your workplace. All responses will be kept confidential. A summary of the survey results will be shared during Food Service Workers’ Recognition Week in October. The survey is at: https://tinyurl.com/888survey

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