Union Updates

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

Need Student Debt Relief?

Attention Local 888 members: as public service workers you may be eligible for a federal program called Federal Service Loan Forgiveness.
Here’s how it works:
ForgiveMyStudentDebt_Logo_50percent• To qualify for the program, you need to make 10 years of qualifying on-time payments (120 in total) toward your federal student debt.
• You must be working in the public service at least 30 hours a week (you can combine multiple part-time jobs to meet this requirement) beginning after October 1, 2007.
• After you make your 120th on-time payment, the U.S. Department of Education forgives your remaining federal student loan debt.

For more information and to apply visit www.forgivemystudentdebt.org.

Leave a comment

Strategy Session

Dracut Librarians met with Local 888 reps and Executive Board member Sue Noel on July 15 to discuss ways to make their chapter stronger and build broader support for the critical services they provide for the community.All librarians and aides who are members of Local 888 are encouraged to attend the Legislative Library Caucus on October 15.

Dracut Librarians met to discuss ways to make their chapter stronger and build broader support for the critical services they provide for the community.

Dracut Librarians met to discuss ways to make their chapter stronger and build broader support for the critical services they provide for the community.

More details about the Legislative Library Caucus will be announced soon.

Leave a comment

New DPW Leaders in Gardner

On August 20th Local 888 members at the Gardner DPW held an election for new chapter Leaders. Newly elected are Gilbert Gravel, Chapter President; Jeff Roy, Chapter Vice President; D.J. Monroe, Chapter Steward; and Brian Peete, Chapter Secretary-Treasurer. Incoming Chapter President Gravel thanked those newly elected for running and the previous chapter leaders for their service.

Gravel also thanked the membership and said, “We look forward to working in our new positions to improve working conditions for our fellow employees.” Local 888 would like to extend its appreciation to outgoing Chapter President Wayne LaHair for his years of dedicated service.

Leave a comment

Speaking Out for Safety

Local 888 member Michael Giampietro, a certified building official for the town of Millis, weighed in about the importance of extending health and safety protections to municipal workers. Giampetro’s testimony was part of a July 21 Statehouse hearing to encourage legislators to close a loophole in the law exposes municipal workers to unnecessary dangers on the job.

Mass COSH hearing on municipal H&SIn his written testimony, Giampietro argued that extending OSHA protections to municipal workers is just plain common sense. “OSHA provides the education that employees need to understand the hazards present in the workplace. Knowing what the hazards are and how to abate those hazards makes for a safer workplace.”

More info about the hearing and the proposed new law is here.
Leave a comment

Coming Attractions

SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meeting
When: Wednesday, September 16, 10AM-4PM
Where: SEIU Local 888, 52 Roland Street, Charlestown

calendarLabor Guild School Fall Term 2015 (first day of classes)
When: Monday September 21,
7-9:30pm
Where: 66 Brooks Dr, Braintree
Note: Chapter funds can be used for tuition and scholarships are available. Info at www.laborguild.com/school

Legislative Library Caucus
When: Thursday, October 15,
3:30-4:30PM
Where: Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, location TBD
More information is available at www.masslib.org/

Carry it On: MCAN’s 30th Anniversary Celebration!
When: Thursday, October 29,
6-8PM
Where: Jonathan Spack Community Center Third Sector New England 89 South Street http://www.eventbrite.com/e/carry-it-on-mcans-30thanniversary-celebration-tickets-17853893476

Leave a comment

Labor Day 2015: A Day of Protests and Presidents

Local 888 leaders and staff were on hand at the annual Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast to welcome a special guest: President Barack Obama. President Obama used his visit to Boston to pay tribute to the new earned sick time law that was recently enacted in Massachusetts thanks to the efforts of a broad coalition of community organizations and labor unions, including Local 888. The measure went into effect in July and is expected to provide 900,000 workers with paid sick time who previously had none. (See related story on next column). More than 700 union members, leaders and state officials packed a downtown hotel for the event.

Staff, leaders and guests of Local 888 attended the annual Labor Day breakfast in Boston where this year’s featured guest was President Obama.

Staff, leaders and guests of Local 888 attended the annual Labor Day breakfast in Boston where this year’s featured guest was President Obama.

On hand from Local 888 were Tierney Flaherty, Dan Hoffer, Anna Reno, David Reno, Mark DelloRusso, Michelle Dubois, Mike Kelly, Juan Lopez and Jorge Vargas.  While in Boston, President Obama announced a new executive order extending paid sick time to the employees of federal contractors. He also had a few choice words for Republicans, including the presidential contenders, who he described as engaging in a “constant attack on working Americans.” Obama argued that Republicans who claim the mantle of middle class protectors don’t “walk the walk.” He singled out several of the GOP presidential contenders for what he described as their extreme hostility to unions, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who recently proclaimed that the teacher’s union “deserves a punch in the face.” By contrast, Obama used his Labor Day speech to argue that unions have been essential to building a middle class in the US. Obama also shouted out to Boston’s best known union member: Tom Brady. “Even Brady’s happy he’s got a union.” Fight for $15, and Fairness There was plenty of action outside the Park Plaza Hotel as well. Members of the Carmen’s Union held a rally opposing a plan to privatize certain MBTA bus routes. And after the breakfast members of Local 888’s sister local, Local 32BJ District 615 marched and rallied to support the Fight for $15.

Members of the Carmen’s Union protested outside of the hotel where President Obama spoke on Labor Day. The largest labor group at the MBTA says that a plan to privatize certain bus routes is the first step on the way to diminishing service and increasing fares.

Members of the Carmen’s Union protested outside of the
hotel where President Obama spoke on Labor Day. The largest labor group at the MBTA says that a plan to privatize
certain bus routes is the first step on the way to diminishing service and increasing fares.

Mark DelloRusso, President of Local 888, says he anticipates a busy year ahead as momentum grows behind the movement of workers who are standing up to raise wages and fight for justice on all fronts. “We’ve shown in Massachusetts that when you stand up and make your voices heard, you can have a powerful impact,” said DelloRusso. “Now our challenge is to carry that momentum forward and raise up the issues that matter to all of us.”

Leave a comment

All Local 888 members are urged to “stand with Verizon workers!”

IBEW and CWA are calling on union members and allies to turn out for a rally on the day before their contract, covering 39,000 Verizon workers, is set to expire. This comes amid another tough round of contract negotiations with Verizon, which may lead to a showdown on August 1st.

Verizon rallyJoin other members of Local 888 at the rally to support workers at Verizon who want good jobs and to provide quality service, NOT higher executive pay and more lay-offs.

Stand in solidarity with workers against Verizon’s corporate greed!

When: Thursday, July 30th

6:00 PM

Where: The Verizon Building at 6 Bowdoin Square, Boston 
(Corner of Cambridge and New Chardon Streets)

For more information go to http://standuptoverizon.com/

Leave a comment

Supreme Court to Hear Controversial Case on Union Dues

The Supreme Court will soon take up a controversial case that could have a profound impact on the rights of members of public service unions, including Local 888. In the session that begins next fall, the justices will hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that centers on the constitutionality of so-called “agency fees,” which require non-members to pay fees related to union bargaining and member representation efforts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASays Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso, “No matter what any court decides, I’m confident that the hardworking members of Local 888 will want to continue to improve life for themselves and their families. By organizing in our workplaces and at the ballot box, Local 888 will remain a powerful force for the good jobs and quality services that our communities need.”

In this FAQ, we look at what’s at stake in the case—and who is behind it. Got questions of your own? Send them to myunion@seiu888.org.

What is the Friedrichs Supreme Court case about?
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is a Supreme Court case aimed at making it harder for working people to improve their lives by sticking together and pooling resources. Funded by billionaire extremists, it is the latest in a long line of lawsuits and laws pushed by big corporations seeking to limit the power of teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and other public service workers to achieve good jobs and better services for themselves and all Americans. Their strategy to limit working class power is to eliminate the fee that non-union members pay toward covering the costs of bargaining contracts that improve pay, benefits and other working conditions. These fees, which the Supreme Court has upheld for decades, mean that everyone covered by a contract contributes to the costs of negotiating those benefits

Why should someone be compelled to pay a fee that the union then turns around and uses to support political causes that worker opposes?
The truth is no one has to be involved in the union’s political work or pay for it. That’s the law already. People pay only for covering the costs of bargaining contracts that improve our pay, benefits and other working conditions.

And that’s just common sense. Everyone has the freedom to choose whether or not they want to contribute to support advocacy around issues that impact their lives outside of the contract–and there’s nothing more democratic than that.

How does the Friedrichs case relate to Harris v. Quinn?
The Harris v. Quinn decision in June 2014 made it harder for home care workers to join together but the court declined to eliminate the commonsense fees that require public employees covered by a contract to contribute to the costs of those benefits. Now the billionaire-funded lawyers are trying once again to weaken the power of working people to improve their lives and their communities by bringing the Friedrichs case to the Supreme Court.

What’s the timeline?
The Supreme Court will hear the case and announce its decision during the 2015-16 term, which runs from October 2015 through June 2016.

For more resources about Friedrich v. California Teachers Association, visit www.seiu888.org.

Leave a comment

BCYF Members Elect New Chapter Leaders

Local 888 members at Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF) concluded their election for new SEIU Local 888 chapter leadership positions on June 26. The election resulted in a solid majority of votes cast for the “Solidarity Slate” of Jeron Cotton for Chair, Hajji Glover for Co-Chair, Tiffany

Jeron Cotton, BCYF Chapter Chair

Jeron Cotton, BCYF Chapter Chair

Pierce for Recording Secretary and Tany Lopes for Chief Steward.

All four had previously served as stewards and Jeron had previously held the Chief Steward position. The election was necessitated by a vacancy in two of the four chapter positions.

The new chapter leadership campaigned on a platform to increase membership involvement and participation while striving for greater transparency and better internal communications.

The upcoming negotiations for contracts for BCYF and the other City of Boston chapters that expire in less than one year will undoubtedly be challenging. Winning good agreements will require internal unity and solidarity with the other city’s unions and the community.

Tany Lopes, BCYF Chief Steward

Tany Lopes, BCYF Chief Steward

 

Hajji Glover, BCYF Co-chair

Hajji Glover, BCYF Co-chair

Tiffany Pierce, Recording Secretary

Tiffany Pierce, Recording Secretary

Leave a comment

Local 888 Member Wins Super Lunch Hero of the Year Award

Each year the School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts (SNA) chooses one food service employee to be Super Lunch Hero of the year. This year the students and staff of the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth nominated Missy Gauvin with a massive letter writing campaign, but they didn’t tell her. In fact, Gauvin, who is a third generation lunch lady, wasn’t even aware that she’d been nominated.

Missy Gauvin, the kitchen manager at the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth, has been named Super Lunch Hero of the Year. More than 400 students and staff from her school wrote letters on her behalf.

Missy Gauvin, the kitchen manager at the Station Avenue Elementary School in South Yarmouth, has been named Super Lunch Hero of the Year. More than 400 students and staff from her school wrote letters on her behalf.

So what happened when Gauvin was the featured guest at a surprise party on May 8th where the entire school gathered to inform her that she’d won? “Speechless,” would be one way to describe Gauvin’s reaction as she arrived in the school gym to find hundreds of students chanting her name.

The award ceremony featured excerpts from some of the more 400 letters sent by students and staff to recommend Gauvin for the honor. One student wrote “I know Mrs. Gauvin works hard because she has stains on her apron!” Another wrote: “When you smile, the whole world stops and stares,” adding that he considers Gauvin a personal friend and would be glad to provide a shoulder for her to cry on should she ever need one.

Gauvin told the packed gym that she was shocked by the award. “I thought I was getting in trouble,” she said. “I get very excited to come to work knowing that I get to see each and every one of you. I get far more from all of you than you get from me. I feel like I have 500 best friends in this room,” she said.

Gauvin, who is the kitchen manager at Station Avenue Elementary, comes from a long line of lunch ladies— three generations to be precise. Her mother and her grandmother were lunch ladies in the Barnstable School District. In the 1970s, Missy’s grandmother, Shirley Jones, worked in a school dedicated to special needs students only. An annual award was dedicated to Mrs. Jones and presented to the “Most Improved Student.”

Gauvin will be attending a Nutrition Conference in September, proudly representing DY Regional School District. In the meantime, she is the recipient of a “Number One Lunch Lady of the Year” apron which she wears with pride!

Leave a comment

888’s Rosa Matias Makes “Most Powerful” List

Congratulations to Local 888 member Rosa Matías, for being named one of the top 100 most powerful people in Massachusetts by El Planatera, Boston’s Latino daily. El Planetera singled Matias out for her activism and work supporting Democratic candidates.

062_RosaMatias_Pic_t180

Rosa Matias

“Rosa Matias is the treasurer of the Latino Democratic Caucus. Rosa has focused on supporting a large number of democratic electoral campaigns. She is also an active in other organizations from social justice and environmental conservation to low-income communities and ethnic minorities.”

Matias works at Chelsea City Hall and is an active leader in Local 888’s Latino Caucus and member of the COPA committee. Congratulations, Rosa!

Leave a comment

New Local 888 Publications Coming Soon

Members often have questions like “What do I get for my dues?” or “How does the union benefit me?” and “Why are we part of SEIU (and what do those initials stand for anyway)?”

Local 888 is preparing three new publications to help you answer these and many other questions about the benefits of membership, the rights and responsibilities of members, and how to better organize your chapter and access your chapter funds.

The three new publications are:Stewards manual cover
• “All About SEIU Local 888”
• “Getting the most out of your union”
• “Using your Chapter Funds for a stronger union”

They will be available in hard copy after August 1 and on the website soon thereafter.

Members may also request a copy of the SEIU Stewards Manual that provides many valuable lessons and tips for union stewards.

Write to myunion@seiu888.org with your chapter name and home mailing address if you would like any of these publications sent to you

Leave a comment