Union Updates

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

Winning for All Workers

SEIU Local 888 wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season. Read a holiday message from Mark DelloRusso and Brenda Rodrigues by Holiday Message from Mark and Brenda 2014.

holly_corner_largeAs we look forward to new opportunities for progress in 2015, it’s a good time to reflect on all that we have accomplished together over the last year. Check out an overview of Local 888′s achievements in our “Highlights of 2014.”

This year, workers organized and formed new unions with Local 888 across cities and towns throughout Massachusetts, including employees for the City of Boston, MassPort, and the Central Mass Education Collaborative.  Public Defenders and staff with CPCS are continuing to work closely with Local 888 staff to achieve their collective bargaining rights.

Local 888 members had a very busy year. Together, we:

  • Won better wages and benefits in our contract campaigns.
  • Learned new skills in leadership and steward trainings.
  • Celebrated our varied cultural heritages and diversity through our caucuses.
  • Stood in solidarity with striking Walmart, fast food and many other workers in the Fight for $15 protests across the Massachusetts.
  • Won a major victory in our fight for good local jobs in Malden.

Congratulations to all of the members of Local 888 for your hard work and dedication to quality public services and building an economy that works for all of us.

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Now Available: Discounts for Local 888 Members

Did you know that your membership in Local 888 entitles you to special discounts on everything from movie tickets to clothes to Celtics tickets? That’s because membership in a union gives workers more bargaining power, not only on-the job, but in the community too.

Don't miss out on Local 888 member discounts

Don’t miss out on Local 888 member discounts

Featured this month: half-price movie tickets good for admission to most shows playing at AMC, Regal and Showcase Cinemas. How does it work? Simple: just visit http://www.seiu888.org/888deals/ to order tickets, or pick them up at the Local 888 union hall. And while you’re ordering your tickets, why not do a little holiday shopping? T-shirts and hoodies are available in a full range of sizes for as little as $12. Best of all: no mall traffic…

If you know of a business or service where Local 888 members could negotiate a better deal, please contact myunion@seiu888.org or call (617) 241-3300.

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Instructional assistants form union with Local 888

Instructional Assistants at the Central Mass Special Educational Collaborative have formed a union with Local 888.

The 75 instructional assistants from five different schools located in Worcester started organizing in late April.  Using the state

Instructional Assistants at the Central Mass Special Educational Collaborative have formed a union with Local 888.  The 75 instructional assistants from five different schools located in Worcester started organizing in late April.  Using the state labor law that streamlines union recognition with a simple majority sign up, they filed for recognition with the Dept. of Labor Relations in October.  Throughout the organizing drive the workers realized that they could do better for themselves and their students by forming a union to create a fair and consistent work environment.  "Fair is fair. When we came together and started to talk with each other, we realized that our pay, benefits and work rules were different for different people," said Tracy Pirperis, an instructional assistant at Hartwell Learning Center. "We just want to have a union contract that makes these issues fair for all the instructional assistants."

Instructional Assistants at the Central Mass Special Educational Collaborative have formed a union with Local 888.
The 75 instructional assistants from five different schools located in Worcester started organizing in late April. Using the state labor law that streamlines union recognition with a simple majority sign up, they filed for recognition with the Dept. of Labor Relations in October.
Throughout the organizing drive the workers realized that they could do better for themselves and their students by forming a union to create a fair and consistent work environment.
“Fair is fair. When we came together and started to talk with each other, we realized that our pay, benefits and work rules were different for different people,” said Tracy Pirperis, an instructional assistant at Hartwell Learning Center. “We just want to have a union contract that makes these issues fair for all the instructional assistants.”

labor law that streamlines union recognition with a simple majority sign up, they filed for recognition with the Dept. of Labor Relations in October.

Throughout the organizing drive the workers realized that they could do better for themselves and their students by forming a union to create a fair and consistent work environment.

“Fair is fair. When we came together and started to talk with each other, we realized that our pay, benefits and work rules were different for different people,” said Tracy Pirperis, an instructional assistant at Hartwell Learning Center. “We just want to have a union contract that makes these issues fair for all the instructional assistants.”

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Deadline for Local 888 Scholarships is January 16

graduation-cap-diplomaSEIU Local 888 offers college scholarships for members and their immediate families. Local 888 will award three $500 scholarships to enable members (or family) to attend any post-secondary school of their choosing. Also available: scholarships for approved labor study programs or courses. Applications and information about additional scholarships are available at http://www.seiu888.org/888members/benefits/scholarships/ and at the Local 888 union hall.

Eligible members can also apply for national SEIU scholarships online at www.seiu/scholarships.  Deadline is March 2, 2015.

The Mass AFL-CIO awards scholarships to deserving high school seniors.  Application must be returned to the Mass AFL-CIO (and your school guidance counselor) no later than Monday, December 15, 2014.  More info at: www.massaflcio.org/scholarship-program

 

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Van Driver Speaks Up for Respect, Student Safety

By Jill McCaughey, special needs van driver for the Weymouth Public Schools

Jill McCaughey, special needs van driver for the Weymouth Public Schools

Jill McCaughey, special needs van driver for the Weymouth Public Schools

Note: I posted this note on Facebook because I was concerned about some of the inaccurate and unfair portrayals of the van drivers.  Before I started the job, I had no idea how hard the work is or what goes into doing the job.  Now that I’ve been a driver for three years, I’ve gained a real appreciation for the work we do with the students, parents and teachers.  It truly is a labor of love.

I realize we live in a very cynical world at a very cynical time. We also live at a time that social media is a platform for every random thought, opinion or even blatant lie. I had read some pretty negative perceptions and outright lies about my profession on social media, so I’m taking this opportunity to describe what being a special needs van school “bus” driver actually means.

The job, simply described, is to transport special needs students to school and home, whether their program is in town or out of town. We also transport to other events, such as field trips or life skills programs.

We fully understand that parents are entrusting us with their children and fully recognize what an awesome responsibility that is. We safely transport these kids in rain, hail, sleet and snow. We drop off and pick up with an extra cautious eye, as experience has taught us a majority of motorists do NOT stop for our bus stop lights. We have to calmly handle tailgating when society is late for work, as our job is going the speed limit. We recognize what a meltdown is (as opposed to a tantrum and yes, we know the difference) and how to calm that situation. We are compassionate, loving and understand that every student is different and special.

We consider our vehicles not just moving ‘stuff’ from point A to point B, but as an extension of the classroom. The same social skills taught in class are reinforced on the vans. We constantly communicate on a daily basis with the teachers to ensure we are meeting the student’s needs. We wipe noses and make sure surprise bathroom needs are addressed. We clean our vans frequently, sometimes as a preventative health measure and sometimes due to an unforeseen upset tummy or bathroom accident. It comes with the territory and we fully understand.

We are prepared to handle any medical emergency, any seizure, any sudden violent outburst or self-injurious behavior. We have all been punched, kicked, spit upon, scratched and/or bitten and fully and calmly accept that this is part of our responsibilities. We voluntarily take up collections when “our kids” are in need; money, food, gift cards, clothing, diapers; whatever the situation calls for. We voluntarily buy our kids end of the year gifts, Christmas gifts and birthday gifts. We voluntarily attend the annual Special Olympics on our own time, because we WANT to; not because we have to. We check your car seats to make sure they are safely installed and not expired (yes, they have expiration dates). We make sure the seats are age/weight/height appropriate. We keep an eye out for all the students, whether we transport them or not. We support each other with the ultimate goal that every student gets to where they need to be when unforeseen situations arise.

Please know this; we know your kids. We love your kids. We protect your kids as if they were our own. We take our jobs very seriously and love what we do. And we’re damn good at it. While the importance and professionalism required may be lost on some people, I can assure you it is never lost on us.

Have a story to submit? Send it to rwilson@seiu888.org.

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Toys for Tots

photo 1 (2)Local 888 members and staff gathered at the Toys for Tots warehouse to begin packing presents.  If you’d like to donate, bring new, unwrapped toys to the union hall by noon on 12/17.

For more information call 617-241-3300.holly_corner_large

Happy Holidays from Local 888

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Wanted: Chapter Communicators

Extra Extra Read all about itLocal 888 is in search of chapter communicators and social media “stewards.”  The union is looking for members who are willing to commit a few minutes per week to help spread the union message.

Chapter communicators agree to help out with one or more of the following: distributing Local 888’s Spark newsletter to co-workers, writing articles or providing chapter updates for the Spark, posting on Twitter and Facebook, or taking photos. For more information, email rwilson@seiu888.org

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MassCOSH Celebrates the Movement and Local 888′s Lisa Field

On December 3, MassCOSH celebrated its 38 year with an awards ceremony that recognized Local 888 Field Director Lisa Field forher leadership, creativity and hard work to promote the safety and wellbeing of workers.

Lisa Field with Brenda Rodrigues and Mass COSH executive director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb.

Lisa Field with Brenda Rodrigues and Mass COSH executive director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb.

“MassCOSH has stood side-by-side with workers to fight for safe and healthy working conditions,” said Field. “The coalition’s work has saved lives and kept millions of workers from occupational injury and disease.  Local 888 is proud to partner with MassCOSH as part of our commitment to fight for safe, healthy and fair working conditions.”

Other Awardees included: Senator Dan Wolf and Representative Thomas Conroy,  Co-Chairs Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development; Jamie Tessler, Occupational Ergonomics Consultant; and temporary workers employed at Fulfillment America for standing up to defend their rights to safe conditions and to their hard-earned pay.

For more info visit: www.masscosh.org or call 617-825-7233.  

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Executive Board report

Rick Moffatt

Rick Moffatt

SEIU Local 888 Executive Board met on Nov. 19 at the union hall in Charlestown.  President Mark DelloRusso swore in Rick Moffatt from the Chelsea Soldiers Home who will serve as a new Trustee. The Executive Board thanked Lori Moran from Watertown for her years of service on the board. Lori will chair the Election Committee for the upcoming officer elections.

Lori Moran

Lori Moran

The Board heard a presentation by Tom MacDonald, Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary-St. Catherine Parish who runs the Harvest on the Vine Food Pantry and Donna O’Brien, a retired teacher and former Boston Teachers Union member.  They described how the food pantry provides Thanksgiving turkeys for many families in Charlestown. The Executive Board voted to contribute $1,000 to assist the food pantry.

The Board also heard a presentation from Kyle King, who told members about his experience as a fast food worker at Burger King and the planned national day of action for “$15 and a union” on Dec. 4.

Tom MacDonald, Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary-St. Catherine Parish who runs the Harvest on the Vine Food Pantry and Donna O'Brien, a retired teacher and former Boston Teachers Union member with Mark and Brenda.

Tom MacDonald, Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary-St. Catherine Parish who runs the Harvest on the Vine Food Pantry and Donna O’Brien, a retired teacher and former Boston Teachers Union member with Mark and Brenda.

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With market adjustment, Police Dispatchers gain significant salary increases

Somerville Dispatchers unanimously ratified a new contract on Nov. 24.  Key components of the Dispatchers’ agreement include:

  • Two percent salary increases in three of the four years of the contract,
  • A wage adjustment effective January 1, 2015 to better reflect the value of qualified and reliable police dispatchers,
  • A new longevity bonus scale to better reward longer serving employees,
  • An improvement in eligibility for holiday pay, providing for double time pay if employee works a shift before or after the holiday.
Terri Medeiros speaking at a recent Somerville Labor Coalition meeting

Terri Medeiros speaking at a recent Somerville Labor Coalition meeting

“We are the “first” first responders, taking calls in emergencies and backing up our uniformed officers,” said Terri Medeiros, a dispatcher with 19 years of experience speaking on behalf of the union negotiating team.  “After researching what other cities were paying for similar jobs, we were determined to win a pay scale that reflected the value of our service.”

“Now residents of Somerville can sleep better knowing that the city has stepped up to respect our department’s important contribution to public safety,” Medeiros continued.

With ratification, members agreed to give up the “Evergreen Clause” that keeps the terms of an expiring contract in force without change until a new contract is negotiated.  Most other unions in the city have already done the same.

Fourteen dispatchers are members of SEIU Local 888 which also unites dispatchers who work for the State Police, Mass Port, the City of Boston, and the towns of Amherst, Athol, Framingham, Mashpee, Scituate, Uxbridge, Watertown, Webster, and Yarmouth.

Local 888 is a member of the Somerville Labor Coalition that unites public service unions in the community and supports its member unions.

SEIU Local 888 unites more than 8,000 public service, higher education and not-for-profit workers in Massachusetts for the good jobs and quality services our communities need.  Learn more at: www.seiu888.org.

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Watertown DPW and Police Dispatchers Receive Awards

Justin Pelletier, Joe Aiello, and John Perino

Justin Pelletier, Joe Aiello, and John Perino

Justin Pelletier, Joe Aiello, and John Perino are three of the eight Watertown DPW supervisors given an award for: “Grateful appreciation of your selfless acts and dedication to the Watertown Community.”

Below are Phil D’Agostino and Brock Kennedy, two Watertown dispatchers who received ribbons on Veteran’s Day for “Exceptional Duty” (the two not in police uniforms).

Phil D'Agostino and Brock Kennedy

Phil D’Agostino and Brock Kennedy

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Coming Attractions

Tim Costello Library Dedication
Join Local 888 staff and members to inaugurate the Tim Costello Memorial Library and Education Center in honor of Tim Costello, labor organizer and author. A reception will follow.
When: Friday, Dec. 5, 5PM
calendarWhere: 52 Roland Street, Charlestown

State Employee Lunchtime Workplace Safety and Health Phone Briefing
When: Friday, December 12, noon
Discuss the new law extending OSHA protections to executive branch employees.
Email: marcy.gelb@masscosh.org to sign up.

SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meeting
When: Wednesday, December 17, 10AM-5PM
Where: 52 Roland Street, Charlestown

Celebrate the Holidays with Local 888 COPA
When: Friday, December19, 6PM
Bell in Hand, 45 Union Street, Boston
RSVP to: copa@seiu888.org

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