“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.
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.
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.
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.
Local 888 will be closed on New Years Day, January 1, 2020.
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:
For a full description of proposed changes, see: http://www.seiu888.org/bylaws/
Several Local 888 Executive Board members and President Brenda Rodrigues were among the 1,000 SEIU members — and workers fighting for a union — who joined together in Los Angeles for the Unions for All Summit. Many of the top 2020 candidates for president addressed the conference.
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 union, no matter where they are from, what color they are, or where they work.”
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry called on presidential candidates to support the Unions for All agenda. To download or print a copy of SEIU’s “Unions For All: Building Power To Win” booklet, in English or in Spanish, click here.
The “Unions For All” theme promotes:
State Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Foxboro) thanked Local 888 for its support, adding that union backing was crucial to his special election win two years ago.
Before his election to the state Senate, Feeney worked as a central office technician at Verizon and legislative director of IBEW Local 2222. He credits the labor movement not only for his election, but for his successes in life in general.
“In 1989, when I was just a little guy, 11 years old, I watched my dad go out on strike,” said Feeney. He said that he couldn’t understand what his dad was doing, at the time.
The cost of health insurance was the top issue then, as almost 60,000 telephone workers went on strike for 15 weeks — and won.
Feeney said it was not until years later — when he worked at the telephone company himself — that he fully understood the reason for the strike. When his young family needed health insurance, it was there for them.
“The excellent medical insurance wasn’t there because the company gave us anything. It was there because folks like my dad went on strike for it and made sacrifices for it,” said Feeney.
The state senator said he keeps his union card with his pass for getting into the Massachusetts Capitol — to help remind himself of his roots. His goal: “To make sure working-class people have a voice in the Massachusetts Senate.”
Feeney was the keynote speaker at Local 888’s 2019 Leadership Conference. The local also endorsed Feeney for his re-election campaign last year. For more on 2018 endorsements, see: http://www.seiu888.org/2019/09/09/local-888-looks-to-election-as-leaders-gear-up-for-races/
More pictures from the Local 888 conference are posted here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/9M1HMxap6xW1KHcZ9
Local 888 co-sponsored an SEIU candidates forum with the U.S. Senate rivals.
“We need labor-friendly advocates in the Senate who are willing to fight for our issues,” said Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever, commenting on the need for a forum.
The candidates in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate Primary: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy and attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan.
The forum featured a round-robin setup. SEIU members — and the three candidates — were split up into separate rooms, allowing for more informal questioning.
The candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary: