Union Updates

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Emerson win, new fight for justice eyed

ON THE MOVE: From left, Shaylin Hogan and Dennis Levine, from Emerson College, and public defender John Sadek talk with Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues about organizing.

ON THE MOVE: From left, Shaylin Hogan and Dennis Levine, from Emerson College, and public defender John Sadek talk with Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues about organizing.

Two officers from the new Local 888 chapter at Emerson College were featured speakers at a workshop on organizing at Local 888’s convention. The over 170 Emerson staffers recently inked their first union contract after a campaign that included holding a protest rally outside the school’s administration building and picketing when prospective students visited.

“I feel proud of the fact that the people working around me are having a good experience
working at Emerson – and that we’re not isolated and alone,” said graduate studies program coordinator Shaylin Hogan, the new Local 888 vice chair there.

The contract – which covers clerical, technical and professional employees – starts a new era of better treatment for the now-unionized Emerson workers, said Hogan. Before, she said, “we saw unfair treatment, even in my own department.”


The new Local 888 chapter chair, Dennis Levine, said that management had run Emerson in such a way that “regardless of how well you did your job, you couldn’t know what you were going to make. It was completely arbitrary.”

With that in mind, he said the union negotiating team told Emerson: “There’s no way we’re going to sign any contract with merit pay.”

Negotiations, which took 21 months, were frustrating, Levine said. “We weren’t asking for anything outrageous. We were just trying to bring our members up to a livable wage. Most couldn’t afford to live in the city of Boston.”

Also on the organizing panel was John Sadek, a public defender with the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services. While the state has denied them collective bargaining rights, the agency’s workers are forging ahead with plans to elect leaders and pursue justice – by fighting for collective bargaining rights without union certification.

Aimee Slater, a government information and social sciences librarian at Brandeis University, told the conference about the contract campaign there. The Local 888 librarians have sought and gained support from students, parents and the wider Brandeis community.

For more coverage of the Brandeis librarians’ contract campaign, see http://www.seiu888.org/

For coverage of former Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni’s keynote speech, see http://www.seiu888.org/

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Pro-labor candidates set to face voters



“Unions are under attack, and we need to work together to protect our rights,” Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever said at the annual convention, spotlighting the union’s Committee on Political Action, which aims to elect pro-labor candidates.

“Your union dues are not used to fund political activities that help support and improve your wages and working conditions,” he said. And it is political activity that has brought Americans the five-day week, the eight-hour day – and even the right to bargain collectively.

Local 888-supported state representative candidate Nika Elugardo also spoke at the convention. In the Democratic primary, she defeated House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez – who failed to come through on legislation that would have, finally, given the over 700 workers in the Massachusetts public defenders office the right to bargain collectively.

There were two big wins for Local 888 candidates in the Democratic primary. Peter Capano, president of IUE-CWA 201 in Lynn, won a three-way race for state representative in the 11th Essex District. There is no Republican candidate.

Also, Local 888 backed the winning candidate, David Biele, in South Boston’s Democratic primary race for state representative. He faces no GOP opposition.

In several other House races, Democrats endorsed by Local 888 face competitive challengers:

* In the 18th Essex District, Tram Nguyen, a legal aid lawyer with Greater Boston Legal Services, is challenging incumbent Republican state Rep. Jim Lyons.

* In the 4th Middlesex District, incumbent State Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) faces a rematch with a Republican Paul Ferro, a former Marlborough city councilor.

* In the 4th Plymouth District, Democrat Patrick Kearney is running for the open seat against Republican Ed O’Connell.

* In the 17th Worcester District, David LeBoeuf is seeking the open seat against Republican Paul Fullen.

Also, Local 888-endorsed Diana DiZoglio, Democratic state representative for Methuen, is running for the open First Essex Senate District and faces a Republican opponent, former Boxford Board of Assessors member Alexander Williams.

In other Massachusetts State Senate races, Local 888 endorsed:

  • Paul Feeney, incumbent, Bristol & Norfolk District
  • Jim Welch, incumbent, Hampden District
  • Karen E. Spilka, new Senate president, who represents the Second Middlesex & Norfolk District.
  • Jamie Eldridge, incumbent, Middlesex & Worcester District
  • Jason Lewis, incumbent, Fifth Middlesex District
  • Sal DiDomenico, incumbent, Middlesex & Suffolk District.
  • Michael Brady, incumbent, Second Plymouth & Bristol

Candidates for the state House of Representatives endorsed by Local 888 are:

  • James Hawkins, incumbent, Second Bristol
  • Marjorie Decker, incumbent, 25thMiddlesex District.
  • Mike Connolly, incumbent, 26thMiddlesex District.
  • Denise Provost, incumbent, 27thMiddlesex District.
  • Christine Barber, incumbent, 34thMiddlesex District
  • Michelle DuBois, incumbent, 10th Plymouth District
  • Dan Cullinane, incumbent, 12th Suffolk District
  • Daniel Hunt, incumbent, 13thSuffolk District

Local 888 has also endorsed Steve Murphy for Suffolk County Register of Deeds and John Bradley for Plymouth County district attorney. In addition: Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley in the Seventh Congressional District and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating in the Ninth Congressional District.

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Yes on ballot questions 1, 2, 3!


The Local 888 Executive Board voted Oct. 20 to endorse a Yes vote on ballot questions 1, 2 and 3.

QUESTION 1: A Yes vote would require emergency room RNs to care for no more than five patients
at a time, fewer depending on a patient’s condition. California provides a successful example of enacting such a law. The ballot question was sponsored by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care.

QUESTION 2: A Yes vote would set up a state commission to write a report on money in politics.
The goal, ultimately, is to enact a campaign finance amendment to the U.S. Constitution – overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.
That ruling removed many campaign-finance limits
and allowed billion-dollar corporations to make
unlimited political donations.

QUESTION 3: A Yes vote would keep in place a 2016 state law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people in places open to the public. Under the law, transgender people can use a space, such as restrooms, that matches their gender identity. Since the law took effect, there has been no increase in safety incidents in places such as bathrooms.

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Librarians up ante at Brandeis



The Brandeis librarians have been in negotiations with the university since the end of June. But the administration has refused to bargain fairly. In response, the library staff have started to fight back – and have gained support from students, parents and the wider Brandeis community.

“We serve students, and we need to regularly let them know that we need their help, too,” said Aimee Slater, a government information and social sciences librarian. On Oct. 12, the Local 888 librarians set up a table at the Brandeis Family Weekend – educating students and parents about the importance of supporting the librarians in their fight for a fair contract.

“We actually had parents say they would call the administration right then and there to pledge their support for us,” said Slater.

In addition, the librarians are deepening their ties with the Brandeis Labor Coalition. The coalition has, in turn, written in support of the librarians in the Brandeis Hoot, the community newspaper (http://brandeishoot.com/2018/10/19/librarians-deserve-a-fair-contract/ ).

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All in the Local 888 family



18June polZiemba crop


It’s a clear case of office politics in the race for the Northern Berkshire District Register of Deeds.

Longtime Local 888 member Deborah Moran of Adams is running for register as an independent. Moran has worked at the Registry of Deeds since 1992. Two years ago, current Register of Deeds Frances Brooks named Moran first assistant register. Brooks is now retiring.

For her part, longtime Local 888 member Maria Ziemba, also
of Adams, is running for register as a Democrat. Similar to her Local 888-linked opponent, Ziemba worked her way up from being hired  as a junior clerk – more than 20 years ago.

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Convention OKs resolutions

CONVENTION TIMES: Good times were on the menu at the Local 888 event. From left, Mary-Anne Carty, field rep David Nagle and Local 888 Executive Board member Teresa Riordan.

CONVENTION TIMES: Good times were on the menu at the Local 888 event. From left, Mary-Anne Carty, field rep David Nagle and Local 888 Executive Board member Teresa Riordan.

Local 888 members at Convention 2018 adopted four resolutions, including one that sets up benchmarks to ensure “Local 888 will continue to win the good wages and benefits, and ‘just cause’ protections our members need.”

Other resolutions called for increasing member participation in electoral politics, organizing more workers and setting all future wage proposals at no less than 5 percent per year.

The “Resolution on Benchmarks that Define Local 888’s Success” takes aim at the new “open shop” for public sector workers resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court’s anti-union Janus decision. The resolution notes that Local 888’s Executive Board has set the following benchmarks:

  • Identify hundreds of new rank-and-file member-leaders.
  • Ensure new hires get union orientation and join our union.
  • Follow up on every member who considers dropping out.
  • Engage members through the online “Members Portal.”

For the full text of the convention’s resolutions, see http://www.seiu888.org/resolutions/

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Moment of Silence

888 In Memory

The officers and staff of Local 888 extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Lisa Hayden at Holyoke Soldiers Home. Her mother, Marilyn Laramee, 83, of Granby died in October

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Holyoke takes gripes to top



The Holyoke Soldiers Home workers’ campaign against chronic understaffing and management’s harsh culture of intimidation has heated up – with

a petition drive and a meeting with the state’s boss of veterans affairs.

The new vice chair of the Local 888 chapter, Joe Ramirez, along with stewards Erin Saykin and Theresa King represented fellow members at a meeting with Francisco Urena, secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Services.

As a result of the meeting, Urena made commitments to have further meetings with our union and to fix the grievance backlog at the Holyoke Home.

Also as part of the chapter’s campaign, 120 members signed a petition to management saying they had no confidence in the leadership of both the director and assistant director of nursing at Holyoke Home. On Oct. 16, they presented the petition to management and sent a copy to Urena.

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Aiding labor unity in Haverhill



Local 888 members – including Executive Board members Fred Simmons and Darcie Boyer – joined the Haverhill Education Association for its “March For Respect.” The march was to address issues of inequities between the city’s schools, inadequate teachers’ pay and the high turnover rate for teachers.

Simmons, a leader of the custodians union, said he joined the march to “show respect for what teachers do and support their demands for a better contract.” Also, he said, “the goal is to gain the respect of the wider community, so that they understand that we’re just people like them seeking better working conditions.”

Beyond that, Simmons said, “Unions should help other unions. After all, we’re not only looking after ourselves but want to help others out, too.”

According to the teachers union, one out of four Haverhill teachers leave the district at the end of each year due to low wages

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Labor leader: Unions have power to ‘transform’

SPOTLIGHT ON ORGANIZING: Ex-Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni speaks at the Local 888 convention in October.

SPOTLIGHT ON ORGANIZING: Ex-Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni speaks at the Local 888 convention in October.

“Your job as leaders is to give members the opportunity to experience the power of unions,” said Barbara Madeloni, keynote speaker at the Local 888 Convention 2018. “That’s how you transform yourselves” to face the challenges ahead, she added.

Madeloni, former head of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said a key problem for public workers is “the scarcity mindset. Austerity budgets have limited your opportunity to be paid a fair wage.” Ordinary workers have been left out of the country’s vast increase in wealth, she said. Instead, it’s going to Wall Street and health insurers and their CEOs.

How to change that equation?

“Our power is at the work site. It’s in the movement that we build,” she said.

One example of increasing that power came during the campaign to defeat the 2016 ballot question that would have lifted the Massachusetts cap on charter schools, she said. “It was part of the right-wing agenda to undermine public schools and the teachers unions.”

Millions of dollars to support the charter school question poured in from out-of-state, billionaires.

To defeat this behemoth, the MTA built a coalition of community groups, parents and students. “We knew that by creating a coalition that cared about public education, even if we lost, we would win,” she said.

While early polling showed the charter school ballot question winning, in the end it lost by a vote of 62 percent to 38 percent. “We crushed them because we tapped into a shared belief in the common good,” said Madeloni.

This year, teachers strikes in Washington state won teachers big raises as the legislature there was forced by the courts to address the chronic underfunding of public schools. Washington’s teachers, thus, followed in the footsteps of teachers in West Virginia and other states in successfully demanding long-overdue raises.

Such victories all start from small beginnings, said Madeloni – whether it be conversations in school halls or having union members wear the same T-shirt on a given day.

“Nobody ever starts out talking about going on strike,” she said. “Instead, union members must experience the power they have at the workplace. A power that transforms.”


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Unite-Here Local 26 members are on strike at Marriott Hotels in Boston

On Wednesday October 3, Marriott workers walked off the job at the seven Boston hotels managed by the Marriott Corporation. The Boston hospitality industry is booming and Marriott is enjoying record profits. We need to demonstrate solidarity for this critical struggle.

  • marriottstrikeAloft Boston Seaport District, 401-403 D Street Boston 02210
  • Element Boston Seaport District, 391-395 D Street Boston 02210
  • Ritz-Carlton Boston, 10 Avery Street Boston, MA 02111
  • Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton St. Boston, MA 02199
  • W Boston, 100 Stuart Street Boston, MA 02116
  • The Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02116
  • Westin Boston Waterfront 425 Summer Street Boston, MA 02110


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‘Mobilize to fight for justice’

Brenda Rodrigues

Brenda Rodrigues

“With public workers’ rights under attack nationwide, it’s crucial that Local 888 members come together to educate themselves about the issues, listen to others’ experiences and mobilize to fight for justice,” said union President Brenda Rodrigues. She urged members to attend Local 888’s upcoming convention on Oct. 20.

Attendees will vote on union resolutions and attend breakout sessions geared to their particular industry/division. “The convention is an opportunity for Local 888 members who are doing the same type of work to share tips on dealing with similar issues,” said Rodrigues.

Breakout sessions may cover such areas as state workers, soldiers homes, higher education, early childhood education, municipal workers, school employees and public authorities

“The convention is a great time to get caught up on how the political process affects members and their union, and what we are doing to make a difference,” said Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever. “Learn more about what your Committee on Political Action did during the primary – and what’s planned for the weeks ahead,” said McKeever, who is also the local’s political director.

Both Rodrigues and McKeever will give reports to the convention, followed by a keynote address. There will also be breakout sessions covering key issues including:

  • New Member Experience (Member Portal & Union Orientation)
  • Why We Organize
  • Political Action/GOTV
  • How Racism Divides and Harms Us All
  • Chapter Leadership Roles & Responsibilities

To pre-register, go to: http://www.seiu888.org/convention/

Local 888 Convention
Sat., Oct. 20, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Teamsters Local 170 Union Hall, 330 SW Cutoff, No. 202, Worcester. Registration opens at 9.m. This is a family-friendly event that features childcare and lunch. Pre-register by Oct. 12 to be eligible for a special door prize. Go to: http://www.seiu888.org/convention/


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