Union Updates

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Distribute the Spark to your coworkers!

Would you like copies of the Spark to distribute to your coworkers?

Extra Extra Read all about itTo receive multiple copies of the Spark, indicate how many copies you would like on an online subscription form at: http://tinyurl.com/z7l3jdm or just email the information to: rwilson@seiu888.org

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It’s Time to Stand Up, Show Up, Rise Up

By Mark DelloRusso, President, SEIU Local 888

Mark DelloRusso

Mark DelloRusso

Our country has been a beacon of hope for hundreds of years, yet our new president has chosen to scapegoat immigrants and refugees claiming that this will protect our jobs and national security.

Let’s be clear: immigrant families strengthen our communities and our economy by creating millions of jobs every year. Today immigrants are running almost a fifth of our small businesses, and doing much of the work our families depend on, including caring for our children, the sick and the elderly, and securing and cleaning our offices and airports.  Many immigrants are members of Local 888 or our sister SEIU locals here in Massachusetts.

In just his first few weeks in office, President Trump has launched a frontal assault on working families and our communities. But there is good news: Huge collective actions like the Boston Women’s March, the Day of Action for the Fight for $15, our campaign to protect affordable health care, and the outpouring of support at airports for our nation’s immigrants and refugees have given many Local 888 members hope and inspiration. These actions — and the millions of people coming together to demand better from our president — they represent the true spirit of America.

SEIU is encouraging all of us to Stand Up, to Show Up, and to Rise Up for an economy and a democracy that work for all us.
Here are three things you can do:

  1. Sign the petitionto say you will stand up against the attacks.
  2. Join an actionto be part of the growing movement for our families.
  3. Share on social mediato add your voice to those speaking out.

By uniting and organizing, we have overcome setbacks in the past. Together we can do it again.  Now is the time to stand up, show up, and rise up against these attacks on our families and our shared values.

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NLRB Sets Date for Suffolk Univ. Staff Union Election

Suffolk University staff members marched to the university president’s office on Jan. 31 to announce that a majority of their coworkers supported a petition to have an election supervised by the National Labor Board.

Suffolk union supporters are seeking to form a new union with Local 888.  Many of the above employees have worked for months to build majority support for their union. Their election is March 2.

Suffolk union supporters are seeking to form a new union with Local 888. Many of the above employees have worked for months to build majority support for their union. Their election is March 2.

“We asked them to not expend precious university resources trying to in any way disrupt our legal right to have a union election,” said Meri Power-Ayer of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center.

Organizing committee members were joined by both undergraduate and graduate students as they delivered a letter signed by 24 union leaders from across Suffolk.

The Labor Board has set the election for March 2 to be held on campus.

Library Circulation Assistant Jim Alexander of the Mildred Sawyer Library said that from his perspective, it’s about the stakeholder’s voice.

“This university is a community and communities are built on engagement and people actually participating. I think Suffolk really needs a boost on that,” said Alexander. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

“We’ve been working really hard to make sure our support is spread across campus,” said Power-Ayer. “We have a real coalition of support and we’re hoping to make this a great place to work like we know it can be.”

“I think that collective bargaining and giving Suffolk staff a voice will make Suffolk a better place,” said Esther Anastasia, of the physics department.

Local 888 members who are alumni or have friends or relatives who work for Suffolk are urged to contact organizer Ian Adelman at (508) 314-4417 or email iadelman@seiu888.org


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Member Spotlight: Big Win at Chelsea Soldiers Home!

Arbitrator’s decision reinstates member with back pay

Krupien had a blemish free disciplinary record. She was liked and respected by her coworkers, the patients she provided care for and their families. She received many glowing letters of support from members of the soldiers’ home community and her community in Chelsea.Teresa Krupien — a 20-year employee of the Chelsea Soldiers Home — was unjustly terminated in 2014 after false allegations were made against her.

Teresa Krupien

Teresa Krupien

Union leaders strongly believed that her termination was unjust and Local 888 filed to have a neutral arbitrator decide the case.

A Polish citizen who immigrated to the United States and later became a US citizen, Krupien started working in the Chelsea soldiers home kitchen and later became a clinical nursing assistant. When she was living in Poland Ms. Krupien was a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience.

The arbitrator ruled that the Chelsea soldiers home did not have “just cause” to fire Krupien. He further ruled that Krupien was to be “made whole” by returning her to the position and restoring her income as if she had never been unjustly terminated.

Krupien is an example of a proud union member who suffered an injustice at the hands of her employer. By using the grievance and arbitration procedure, the union was able to show that Teresa Krupien did not commit any of the alleged actions.

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Latino Caucus hosts California Sec. of State

SEIU Local 888’s Latino Caucus hosted a political event honoring Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State on Jan. 27. The event was sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens and featured many prominent Boston politicians.

Local 888 leaders gathered at the League of United Latin American Citizens event on Jan. 27

Local 888 leaders gathered at the League of United Latin American Citizens event on Jan. 27

“Local 888’s Latino Caucus fights hard to support issues that face Latinos in our union as well as the communities we live and work in,” said Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues.

Rodrigues drew on her experience in the Jan. 21 Women’s March in Washington to make a point about the urgent need for unity: “Millions of people came together across Massachusetts, the country, and the globe to stand up for justice, equality, and fairness for all. We will not forget what we marched for and those who marched with us.

“If there’s anything we learned last weekend, it’s that our voices are powerful. We must not just push back [against the Trump agenda], but push forward to help promote secure employment, accessible health care, affordable housing, and safe communities for everyone. Because no matter what boat we came to America on, we are all in the same boat now!”

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Defend ACA (ObamaCare) by winning Medicare for All!

The Trump administration and most republicans are moving ahead with plans to restructure Medicaid, repeal the ACA, and privatize the Veterans Health Administration.

Brenda Rodrigues (shown above with author Les Leopold) attended a national Single Payer strategy conference in NYC on Jan. 14. SEIU members voted to support Medicare for All at the 2016 International Convention in Detroit.

Brenda Rodrigues (shown above with author Les Leopold) attended a national Single Payer strategy conference in NYC on Jan. 14. SEIU members voted to support Medicare for All at the 2016 International Convention in Detroit.

If they succeed, these efforts could jeopardize health care coverage for millions of Americans — especially seniors, people of color, single parents, veterans, the disabled, lower income workers and the unemployed.

Moreover, the Republican plan will put even more of the funding burden for social safety net programs onto already overstretched state budgets.

Rolling back the modest gains the ACA achieved will financially burden state and local governments to plug the holes in health care’s sinking ship.

Speakers at the national Single Payer strategy conference unanimously believed that the best way to fight proposed cuts to the ACA and defend Medicare was by aggressively campaigning for Medicare for All.

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Mike Kelly Retires!

Longtime Local 888 member, COPA Committee activist, and Executive Board member Mike Kelly retired from the Mass Lottery after 42 years and from the Local 888 Executive Board on Feb. 1.

IMG_2712President Mark DelloRusso presented Mike Kelly with some congratulatory cake and grateful thanks from all of the members and staff of Local 888.

“Mike was never shy about expressing his views, even if they were unpopular or controversial,” said DelloRusso. “No one could ever doubt his commitment and dedication to our union and the labor movement.”

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Tree Warden of the Year

Congratulations are an order for Chris Hayward, a Local 888 member and Tree Warden for the Town of Watertown. Hayward was selected out of 351 Massachusetts Tree Wardens as the recipient of the 2017 Seth H. Swift Tree Warden of the Year Award. A reception with a special cake was held in Chris’s honor on Jan. 17.

Tree Warden

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Coming Attractions

calendarExploring Class and Classism
Thu, Feb.16, 5:30pm – 9:00pm
SEIU Local 32BJ, 26 West St., Boston, MA 02111
In this workshop, participants will explore: How class identities affect our lives, our work and our relationships, and how we can become more inclusive with others from different class backgrounds. Pizza and refreshments will be served upon arrival. Register online here: http://www.classism.org/events/exploring-class-classism/

COPA monthly meeting
Thurs, Feb 23, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
SEIU Local 888, 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Braintree, MA.
For more info contact: Joe Lazzerini jlazzerini@seiu888.org

Down the Pike: The Future of Boston Area Labor Markets
Tue, March 7, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Papa Razzi, 16 Washington St, Wellesley, MA 02481
The Labor and Employment Relations Association, Boston Chapter – Winter Dinner Meeting
Member-$55 – Non Member-$65 – Student-$25
Professor Barry Bluestone will discuss, “Down the Pike: The Future of Boston Area Labor Markets.” Registration deadline is Feb. 28, 2017.

Labor Guild Classes begin
Mon, Mar. 13, 7:00 – 9:30pm 66
Labor Guild School
Brooks Drive, Braintree, MA 02184
Scholarships available
Info & Register online at: www.laborguild.com/school

SEIU 888 Executive Board meeting
Wed, Mar. 15, 10:00am at SEIU Local 888, 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Braintree

Conference on the state of labor in Boston
Saturday, Apr 1, 2017
University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125
This conference will bring together a wide range of people who share a commitment to understanding the state of labor and working people in the Boston region.

Greater Boston Labor Council Annual Legislative Breakfast
Mon, April 10, 8:30am – 10:00am
Omni Parker House, 60 School St, Boston, MA 02108
Annual Legislative Breakfast for state lawmakers from within GBLC’s twenty-four community jurisdiction. The breakfast provides an opportunity to outline labor’s state legislative agenda to lawmakers. http://gbclc.com/legislative-breakfast

Jobs with Justice Annual Dinner
Thu, April 20, 6pm – 11pm
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Metro-Boston, 4, 108 Myrtle St, Quincy, MA 02171
An evening of celebration, food, and fun with the whole Jobs with Justice family! Save the date – more info coming soon! https://massjwj.net/2017/01/31/april-20-2017-jobs-with-justice-annual-dinner/

March for jobs, justice and the climate
Saturday, Apr 29, 2017, Washington, DC
WE RESIST. WE BUILD. WE RISE. Join the People’s Climate Movement on April 29 in Washington, D.C. and across the country to stand up for our communities and climate. Join the march in a powerful mobilization to unite all of our movements.

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Great Homebuying Opportunity for Boston Residents

Boston Home Center is offering two attached single family homes and four two-family homes for sale by lottery to a first-time homebuyer. Click here to learn more about these homes for sale

downloadApplicants must have completed an approved homebuyer education course prior to closing; have a minimum household size of the number of bedrooms, minus one person; and meet income and asset requirements.  These homes are deed restricted, owner-occupancy, Boston residency and household size preferences. Other restrictions apply. Buyers will be selected by lottery.

Interested homebuyers should apply to the Neighborhood Homes Initiative.  Applications for NHI are accepted on a rolling basis; however those interested in the Thetford/Dyer Lottery must have a completed application with all required documentation submitted by February 8, 2017 at 5:00 PM to be included.

Applications are available in person at the Boston Home Center, 26 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108 or on-line at www.bostonhomecenter.com; or can be requested by calling 617 635-4663.


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Members urged to turnout for Boston Women’s March

Womens march Banner-1-to-2-ratio-1000x500On the day after the Inauguration (January 21), thousands of union members will march in solidarity with communities most affected by the hate, intolerance and acts of violence being perpetrated especially in communities of women, immigrants, people of color, people who identify as LGBT and people with disabilities.

“Local 888 and the other SEIU locals in Mass-achusetts are ‘Community Partners’ to help energize and strengthen the march with our vision and people power,” said Mari Cooney, a field rep who is spearheading Local 888’s participation. “We are one of hundreds of organizations in Massachusetts that are educating our members and seeking meaningful change.”

The march is a unique opportunity for Local 888 members to connect with thousands of other energized activists interested in working for equality, decency and justice for all.

The Boston Women’s March for America is one of over 100 happening nationwide and internationally inspired by the Women’s March on Washington.

“We stand for religious freedom, human rights, climate justice, racial justice, economic justice and reproductive justice,” said Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso. “Together, we will send a message to our leaders and the world, that the United States stands for values of human decency, equal rights and freedom from discrimination.”

Click here to download the Local 888 Boston Women’s March for America flyer to boost turnout from your coworkers, friends and family.

Register for the march at Eventbrite: http://tinyurl.com/zw7tk4p

Womens’ March RideShare Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155205758297373

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Raise Up Mass plans ambitious agenda

Local 888 is a member of the Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition committed to building an economy that works for all of us.

Raise Up won a significant increase in the minimum wage in June 2014 — raising it from $8 to $11 over three years. Raise Up then led the campaign to ensure access to earned sick time for all workers by passing Question 4 in November 2014.

In 2015 and 2016, Raise Up passed a paid family and medical leave bill in the state Senate, fought to win a $15 wage for working people as part of the national Fight for $15 movement, and won the first of two votes by the full state Legislature needed to advance a new Fair Share Amendment to the 2018 ballot.

RaiseUpMA_LogoNext Steps
This year, Raise Up is focusing on winning three issues of critical importance to working families in Massachusetts:

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave to ensure that workers in Mass. are not forced to choose between work and their own health needs or the well-being of their family members.
  • A $15 Minimum Wage to make sure workers can earn a living wage so they can make ends meet and support their families.
  • The Fair Share Amendment that creates an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars for investments in quality public schools, affordable higher education, improved transportation, and high-quality early childhood education.

New fact sheets to help educate your coworkers, friends, and family about these three campaigns are available from Local 888. Email rwilson@seiu888.org

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