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:
UMASS LOWELL HOCKEY GAME NIGHT: Set for Sat., Dec. 7, 6 to 9 p.m. See the university’s River Hawks play in this popular Local 888 outing. Be on the lookout for more info on the event at the “Member Portal,” http://www.seiu888.org/.
Chelsea Soldiers’ Home leaders have made headway with getting management to deal with chronic understaffing. But leaders have also stepped up to make sure that positions are filled fairly – and that Local 888 members have clear opportunities to get the assignments that meet their needs.
“Members were very happy with the results,” said Speandilove Nelson, chapter president. “Members who wanted to work 40 hours a week, rather than part time, were able to do that.”
All told, seven members secured reassignments to the jobs and shifts they wanted. Left to its own devices, management had planned to use a job fair to fill vacant positions, including those with hours or schedules that members wanted.
Union leaders made sure that positions were posted clearly and Local 888 members got a first crack at them. To let workers keep up with these and other developments at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, leaders put out a newsletter.
Nelson and other Chelsea chapter leaders had the chance to share their experiences at Local 888’s 2019 Leadership Conference. Elmer Arriaza, chapter vice president, was a facilitator for a workshop on “Effective communications to build unity at work.”
All told, the workshop was broad in scope and looked at the many forms that this can take — one-on-one, group meetings, e-mail, Facebook and newsletters.
When’s a good time for a chapter to order out for pizza — and when might it be better to pony up the funds for a party? Those were some of the topics in the workshop on “Using chapter funds to build members’ power” at Local 888’s 2019 Leadership Conference.
The Boston City Hall clerks and techs chapter has organized a Christmas party at a downtown restaurant the last couple years. “It was a good use of chapter funds, and members had a chance to relax and socialize away from the building,” said Keturah Trusty, chapter president of the clerks and techs unit.
Before that, the chapter had tried a lunchtime winter holiday event. However, it did not build up a sense of community and solidarity. “People were worried about getting back to their desks,” Trusty said. They tended to take the lunch, and then go back to their offices.
On the other hand, providing lunch is a good way to encourage attendance at union meetings, said Anita Christon, Local 888 recording secretary. Pizza is always popular.
Chapter funds can also be used for such things as bereavement donations (such as flowers or fruit baskets). For more on the use of chapter funds, see http://www.seiu888.org/chapters/.
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/ .