Union Updates

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April 27 SEIU fest

Spring FlingSparkA statewide SEIU “Spring Fling” is set for Sat., April 27, 4 to 8 p.m., at the SEIU 1199 Union Hall, 108 Myrtle St., Quincy. Look for: music, dancing along with resource and caucus tables and a special guest speaker.

The event is sponsored by the SEIU Massachusetts State Council, SEIU Community Action and Locals 888, 1199, 509 and 32BJ. Celebrate our 2018 victories in workplaces, communities and for all working people – including the Legislature’s approval of a $15 minimum wage and paid family and medical leave.

To RSVP, visit https://bit.ly/2SbhnwY

Click here to download the SEIU MA Celebration Flyer.

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Should dental & vision be in your contract?

888-FundsLogo
Arlington town employees’ latest contract includes dental and vision plans offered through Local 888. Members bargained it into their new agreement.

Many other Local 888 members are already reaping the benefits from these plans.

“The dental plan is one of the best I’ve ever had; you couldn’t ask for a better plan,” said Margaret McCluskey, clerical and administrative shop steward at the Brockton Housing Authority. “The Delta Dental plan covers up to $2,500 per person annually.”

For the 70-plus Local 888 members at the Brockton Housing Authority, the benefit is 100 percent employer paid – as part of their negotiated contract. “Everybody seems to be quite satisfied with the plans,” said McCluskey.

And in a world full of critics, she said “no one has ever complained to me about it.”

McCluskey, who has worked at the authority for eight years, said she was happy to see that in-network co-pays under Local 888’s Davis Vision program have been eliminated.

Starting in January, some co-payments were dropped under the Massachusetts Employers/SEIU Local 888 Health and Welfare Fund’s Davis Vision plan. This means no co-payments for in-network eye exams, regular lenses and contact lenses.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this improved benefit to members and their families,” said Linda DeLuca, director of Local 888’s health funds.

The Davis Vision plan also covers standard in-network “progressive” lenses and some coatings.

To find a Davis Vision provider, call 1-800-999-5431 or go to https://www.davisvision.com/provider/ on the web.

The SEIU Local 888 Affiliated Funds include three separate funds that deliver a broad range of benefits to SEIU 888 members:

  • Massachusetts Employers/SEIU Local 888 Health and Welfare Fund
    · University of Massachusetts Lowell/SEIU Local 888 Health and Welfare Fund
    · Massachusetts State Lottery Commission/SEIU Local 888 Health and Welfare Fund.

For more info, contact Linda DeLuca, director of SEIU Local 888 Affiliated Funds at (617) 241-3367 or email ldeluca.funds@seiu888.org.

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Drive for millionaires tax back on track

Raise-up Mass_Logo_1
The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition is looking to revive the millionaires tax.

“This plan would raise the money that the state desperately needs to increase state funding for education and have a 21st century transportation system,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues.

The measure would amend the Massachusetts Constitution to create an additional tax of 4 percent on annual incomes above $1 million. Raise Up supports this action and, with the help of SEIU Local 888 members, had gotten such a measure approved for the 2018 ballot.

But last June, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court rejected that ballot question, also known as the Fair Share Amendment, as unconstitutional — after business groups opposed to it sued. The court struck the measure off the ballot, arguing that it combined subjects that were not closely enough connected ‑ because it stipulated that money raised by the tax be spent on transportation and education.

This time, supporters of the millionaires tax are planning to go through the Legislature. That route avoids the technicalities the SJC rejected. That’s because the previous millionaires tax got on the ballot through the citizens petition supported by Local 888.

State Sen. Jason Lewis has filed the bill in the Senate. He told The Boston Globe that schools and transportation are in dire need of increased funding, and that the millionaires tax is one of the fairest ways to get the money.

The popular measure was already backed by the Legislature in the lead-up to the electoral campaign that was cut short last year by the SJC. So its chances look good, though the measure can’t be put on the ballot sooner than November 2022. For more info, see: https://www.raiseupma.org/fair-share-amendment-2022/

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Labor of love for new state rep

TRAM NGUYEN

TRAM NGUYEN

Tram Nguyen’s most recent job was as a lawyer at Greater Boston Legal Services, a union shop. And her first co-op position as a law student was at the Roxbury office of the state’s public defenders agency.

So it’s not surprising that the newly seated state representative has already signed on as a sponsor of a bill that would give those state employees, the Mass-Defenders, the right to bargain collectively. Due to a bureaucratic roadblock, workers in the Committee for Public Counsel Services – who
are campaigning to join
Local 888 – have been denied that right.

As a new member of the House, Nguyen said, “I am committed to making sure unions have someone speaking up for them, and that labor’s interests and issues are heard at the State House.”

Nguyen, who was endorsed by Local 888, was elected in the 18th Essex District, which covers parts of Andover, Boxford, North Andover and Tewksbury.

“Nguyen really does understand the struggles of working families,” said Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever. “She’s been there on the front lines with her legal services work, and we look forward to working with her now that she’s in the Legislature.”

Even before her election, Nguyen advocated for legislation on labor issues while still at Greater Boston Legal Services, which provides free legal assistance in noncriminal matters to the poor. She points to the campaign for paid family leave, which under a new law taking effect in 2021.

Nguyen, 32, traces her passion for workers’ rights back to her childhood. Her family came to this country as political refugees from Vietnam when she was 5. Her parents worked low-wage jobs, such as delivering pizza. As with many immigrants before them, they learned English and worked to better their lives.

“They earned the minimum wage – if that,” she said. “They didn’t know their rights and didn’t know how to defend their rights.”

Her working-class background fueled her career choices. At Greater Boston Legal Services, a lot of cases involve wage theft – which can mean employees not getting paid the minimum wage, legally mandated overtime or even for all their hours worked.

“I stood up for employees to make sure they received what they were owed, and that they knew what their rights are ‑ and the ways they could fight to get them,” she said.

At legal services, Nguyen worked with immigrants groups and immigrants, both documented and undocumented. “Some were afraid to claim their rights – they didn’t want to go to court out of fear that they might create trouble for their families.”

“As a state representative, I want to make sure to continue to be an advocate, just as I was when representing clients in courthouses,” Nguyen said.

And the new state representative is not wasting any time. Already, she is the House sponsor of a new bill, An Act Protecting Injured Workers, which addresses problems with the state’s workers’ compensation program.

In her legal aid work, she saw that “many employers underreport the number of their employees, which is illegal. Along with this, I’ve seen instances of intimidation – with employers pressuring an employee not to file a workers’ compensation claim.”

The first step, which her bill addresses, is to “amp up notifications on workers’ rights. Employees need to be provided with posted information, just as they are with the minimum wage and overtime pay.”

In addition, her bill would:
* Raise the penalties on employers for failing to report their true number of employees.
* Require some employers to repay insurers the true premiums they would have owed under an accurate reporting of employees.
* Set up an investigative mechanism for enforcing the law.

In the 2018 election, Nguyen defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Lyons, who was chairman of the 2016 presidential primary campaign for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in Massachusetts.

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Local 888 activist joins staff

DARLENE ARCHIBALD

DARLENE ARCHIBALD

Darlene Archibald, a veteran Local 888 leader, is trading in her duties as a school paraprofessional to take the post of internal organizer for the local.

“I hope to bring all my experience — as a chapter vice chair and a member of negotiating teams — to other chapter leaders,” said Archibald. Since 2011, she has served as vice chair of the Marlborough Public Schools Paraprofessionals Chapter, which has about 130 members.

In her new role, she said, “I want to create good relationships and increase unity and organization in Local 888. I look forward to working with more union members.” Archibald, a Marlborough paraprofessional for 13 years, got involved with

her chapter because she wanted it to be better organized and more effective.

Regarding her Marlborough job, Archibald said that she loves “working with children and helping them to succeed. And I love working with the public.”

Prior to that position, she worked at a public nursery school run by the Marlborough schools.

Archibald is married and has three grown children. It’s a union family: Her husband, Rich, is a longtime member of Local 4 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors.

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Labor Guild springs into action

LaborGuild logo

The Labor Guild School is again offering a range of its popular labor-related courses, starting March 11 at its Braintree headquarters.

“The classes are excellent,” said Mike Kelly, a steward at the Massachusetts State Lottery for 38 years. “And it’s a great way to meet people from other unions and get ideas from them – learn how they solve problems.”

In particular, he praised the classes covering the duties of a steward and how to resolve conflict. “Those two are really helpful if you’re a steward or chapter chair, or thinking of getting involved,” said Kelly, who now works as a Local 888 political organizer.

From his experience, Kelly said, “If you can solve a problem before it becomes a grievance, that’s the best way to go.”All told, Kelly said, he’s taken 16 classes at the Labor Guild over the years.

Classes at the Labor Guild, in Braintree, are Monday nights March 11 to May 13. The cost is $125.00 for both periods. Members may be eligible for reimbursement if they complete the full semester. For more info on the classes, see: https://laborguild.com/school-of-labor-management-relations/courses/

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Coming Attractions

Coming up
LOCAL 888 LEADERS MEET:
The SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meets Wed, March 13, 10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the union’s conference room at 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, in Braintree.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS: Advocacy Day set for Wed., March 13, Great Hall, Massachusetts State House. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with speakers at 10 a.m. and legislative visits after 11 a.m.

WORKERS RIGHTS 101: Thurs., March 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Pioneer Valley Workers Center, 200 Hampton Ave. Northampton. Led by Rose Bookbinder (Massachusetts Jobs With Justice, Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Hampshire/Franklin Central Labor Council). Register at https://truthschool.org/workers-rights-101/.

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Moments of Silence

888 In Memory
The officers of Local 888 extend our deepest sympathies to the families of:

  • Paul B. Haugh, 28, of West Roxbury and a member of Iron Workers Union Local 7, who died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. He was the son of Joseph and Helen (Bittrich) Haugh, a Local 888 member who works for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.
  • Gordon MacCollum, 64, of Allston. The Local 888 member worked for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.
  • Martin G. Connolly, 67, of Norwell, died after a long illness. He was the husband of Local 888 member Maureen (Dunlea) Connolly, who works for the town of Duxbury.
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In solidarity with SEIU 509

19March NURally888
IN UNITY, STRENGTH: Local 888 leaders and staff joined the nontenure-track faculty at Northeastern University and their supporters to demand that the college recognize their right to unionize. From left: President Brenda Rodrigues, Secretary-Treasurer Tom McKeever and Rand Wilson, Mike Kelly, John Magner, Hersch Rothmel, Ian Adelman, Penelope Jennewein and Steve D’Amico. Faculty members, who have united in Local SEIU 509, have gained the backing of students and the wider community.

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Guest attraction in Athol

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Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues, in front, was on hand for an Athol chapter meeting. From left: Marie Croteau, Nancy Watson, Deb Vondal, John Duguay Jr., Eric Smith, Diana Cooley, Alyssa Moore, and MaryAnn Murphy.

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Don’t miss out: Register now for classes at the Labor Guild

Register now for classes at the Labor Guild held in Braintree MA. Classes are Monday nights March 11th to May 13th.

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Local 888 members frequently attend Labor Guild programs. This picture show Guild students after their graduation ceremony.

In the first period, 6:30 pm to 7:40 pm, there are three class choices: The Steward’s Job, the American Labor Relations System, or Effective Conflict Resolution.

In the second period, 7:50 pm to 9:00 pm, you the choice of: Retirement: What You Need to Know in 2019, Keys to the Kingdom-Unlocking the Secrets of Municipal Finance, or Intro to Strategic Campaign Communications.

The cost is $125.00 for both periods. Members are eligible for reimbursement if they complete the full semester. This is limited to one member per chapter. Chapters may use their chapter funds to pay for any additional member’s tuition. Email chapterfunds@seiu888.org if interested in this option.

For more details and an application form, please visit the Labor Guild website: laborguild.com/courses

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‘All of my things are gone’

Local 888 has helped out a member who was forced out of her home New Year’s Day when a three-alarm fire devastated her Dorchester three-decker.

“I want to thank SEIU Local 888’s Housing Trust and the union’s Benevolent Fund for helping me and my family after a devastating fire. I’m so glad that my union can help people in need. That’s what Local 888 is all about. God bless our union,” said Marcelina Johnson, who works at Boston Centers for Youth & Families.

“All of us at Local 888 were concerned about Marcelina and her family,” said Tom McKeever, the union’s secretary-treasurer. “We are deeply honored to serve our members whenever we can.”

19Feb FireScenePublished reports said that firefighters battled heavy flames to put out the fire. A total of 11 people lost their home, but no injuries were reported.

Johnson said that she was in Rhode Island to celebrate New Year’s when she received calls about the fire. When she arrived back home, she found her street blocked off. “It was terrible,” she said. “I wish that such a thing would never happen to anyone.” Due to the fire, she said, “all my things are gone.

Fortunately, with the help of a son, her photos are backed up to “the cloud.” Johnson, who owns the home, has four grown children; her husband is deceased. She has worked as a daycare teacher at BCYF for about 20 years.

For info on the Local 888 Housing Trust and Benevolent Fund, see Members Portal at www.seiu888.org. To aid the New Year’s Day fire victims, see www.seiu888.org/gofundme

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