Union Updates

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

More Boston Univ. librarians unite in Local 888

A strong majority of Boston University librarians voted to form a union with SEIU Local 888 in February. The vote was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

“Everyone took time to educate themselves about the issues and vote in the election,” said Steven Alexandre da Costa, a librarian at the Fineman and Pappas Law Library. “We are pleased to join the vast majority of our colleagues at Boston University who are already union-represented.

BU Librarian

Law librarian Steven Alexandre da Costa celebrates union win with Local 888 organizer Colleen Fitzpatrick

“We hope to move quickly into negotiations with management for our contract and gain a voice in the decisions that are so important in our professional lives. As a previous member of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, I’ve learned the value of having a voice at the proverbial table.”

The workers will be joining librarians at Mugar library who are already united in Local 888 and recently achieved a new agreement with BU.

“It’s exciting that the other librarians will be joining us!” said Susan Wishinsky, a Local 888 member at Mugar Library for 35 years. “Simply put, collective bargaining gives us a seat at the table. Management can’t ignore us, and our concerns are heard beyond the library walls. Bringing all of us together will give us an even stronger voice in our future.”

In addition to the librarians, adjuncts and part-time faculty at BU have recently organized, and workers in building services, food service, clerical and technical occupations already participate in collective bargaining.

“It really is a win-win for everyone,” added da Costa. “My hope is that our example inspires other professionals in higher education and other fields to consider unionization.”

“Local 888 unites workers in both public and private colleges and universities in Massachusetts,” said Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888. “It’s exciting to be part of an upsurge of workers in higher education who are demanding a voice in making their schools the best that they can be.”

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Message to U.S. Senators: Do Your Job!

Let’s say tomorrow, you stroll into work around noon, watch some YouTube videos, maybe take a long lunch, followed by a short nap and head out a bit early to beat the traffic. How do you think that’d go over with your boss?

Probably not too well.

But that’s exactly what Senate Republicans are doing. There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court and President Obama is preparing to do what our Constitution mandates: forwarding a Supreme Court nominee to the Senate for consideration. Yet Senate Republicans would rather play political games than do their job by refusing to even hold hearings on his nominee!

This has never been done in HISTORY and it is not what the American people need.

This is ultimately an insult to the American people. That’s why Local 888 is asking members to sign a petition — joining with many other organizations to be delivered with your signature to Senators with one message: Do Your Job.

Ironically, working people are working harder and longer than ever, as it gets more and more difficult to make ends meet for our families. Wealthy special interests want to pollute our justice system all the way up to the Supreme Court — and are asking the Senate GOP leadership to help them — so they can push their well-funded extremist agenda.

And while we’re working harder than ever, Senate Republicans have decided not to do any work at all? And why? Because that’s what the wealthy special interests are demanding.

You can fight back! Sign this petition now: https://action.seiu.org/DoYourJob
Then forward this message to 5 friends. We need to show the Senate that we will not back down from this fight.

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Home Buyers Workshop

SEIU Local 888 members who work for the City of Boston are eligible to receive benefits from the City of Boston-SEIU Local 888 Housing Trust. The Housing Trust was negotiated through collective bargaining to assist SEIU Local 888 members with the cost of housing in Boston by providing them with grants and interest free loans.

Union members at the March 5 Home Buyers workshop

Union members at the March 5 Home Buyers workshop

On March 5th, members attended an educational workshop that provided a comprehensive overview of the home purchase process to help homebuyers make smart, informed decisions in the path towards homeownership. Participants received a detailed reference manual and lunch.

Topics covered included:
• Preparing for the mortgage process
• First time homebuyer mortgages
• How to find a home
• The legal aspects of buying a home
• How to work with professionals during the home-buying process

To find out about future workshops contact myunion@seiu888.org
To learn more about the Housing Trust, visit www.seiu888.org/htf

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Local 888 recommends Jay Livingston for State Senate

The Committee on Political Action met on February 11 to discuss upcoming special elections in Weymouth and East Boston. We reviewed three questionnaires from candidates in the East Boston race, including, Lydia Edwards, Jay Livingston, and Diana Hwang.

COPA members Tom Mckeever, Daniel Hoffer, Jorge Vargas, Rosa Matias, David Reno, Mike Kelly, Brenda Rodrigues and Rudy Renaud met on Feb. 11 to review candidate questionnaires and make an endorsement.

COPA members Tom Mckeever, Daniel Hoffer, Jorge Vargas, Rosa Matias, David Reno, Mike Kelly, Brenda Rodrigues and Rudy Renaud met on Feb. 11 to review candidate questionnaires and make an endorsement.

After much deliberation the committee decided to endorse current State Rep. Jay Livingston for the State Senate Special election. Jay stood out for his service and support for SEIU priority campaigns like the Fight for $15 and the Airport Workers campaign.

Next COPA meeting will be at 6:30 PM on March 15 at the SEIU Local 888 union hall. Agenda includes SEIU State Council endorsement process and new Local 888 Political Action Committee. Dinner provided. Please RSVP by March 14 to Local 888 Political Organizer Joe Lazzerini (508)418-3370

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Local 888 Hockey Night

Hundreds of members attended Local 888's annual UMass Lowell hockey night on February 6. Local 888's logo was featured on the score board along with the following statement: "SEIU Local 888 unites public service workers and higher education professionals for the good jobs our communities need."

Hundreds of members attended Local 888’s annual UMass Lowell hockey night on February 6. Local 888’s logo was featured on the score board along with the following statement: “SEIU Local 888 unites public service workers and higher education professionals for the good jobs our communities need.”

 

Hundreds of members attended Local 888′s annual UMass Lowell hockey night on February 6. Local 888′s logo was featured on the score board along with the following statement: “SEIU Local 888 unites public service workers and higher education professionals for the good jobs our communities need.”

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New Rep Joins Local 888 Staff

Please welcome new Local 888 Field Rep. David Nagle. Dave started at Local 888 in late January.  He was past president of his local in Arlington.  Prior to joining the team at Local 888, Dave also did organizing for AFSCME in Vermont.

Please welcome new Local 888 Field Rep. David Nagle. Dave started at Local 888 in late January. He was past president of his local in Arlington. Prior to joining the team at Local 888, Dave also did organizing for AFSCME in Vermont.

 

Please welcome new Local 888 Field Rep. David Nagle. Dave started at Local 888 in late January. He was past president of his local in Arlington. Prior to joining the team at Local 888, Dave also did organizing for AFSCME in Vermont.

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Coming Attractions

Guild School Spring Term
The Labor Guild’s Spring Term begins on Monday, March 14, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
66 Brooks Dr., Braintree. Check out the classes being offered at: http://laborguild.com/lg-events/events/guild-school-spring-2016/

calendarUnion Right to Information
Advanced Workshop led by Robert Schwartz, author of The Legal Rights of Union Stewards
When: Wed, March 16, 6pm – 9pm
Where: UMass Lowell, Cumnock Hall, North Campus, 1 University Avenue
$20/pp or $15/pp for 3 or more from the same union
To register contact Sue D’Amore at 978-934-3256, Susan_Damore@uml.edu

SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meeting
When: Wed, March 16, 10am – 4pm
Where: 52 Roland St, Charlestown, MA 02129

Northeastern LaborCANNortheastern MA LaborCAN! Educational Conference
When: Sat, March 19, 8:30am – 1:30pm
Where: Torigian Community Life Center, 79 Central St, Peabody
This educational conference is about building power for working people. There is no fee but please register at: www.massaflcio.org/LaborEdConference. Info: contact Katie Hayden khayden@massaflcio.org or 781.324.8230

AFRAM meeting
When: March 26, 10:30am-1pm
Where: SEIU Local 888
RSVP to Lorna Heron heronstravel@gmail.com

Documentary film: “A Day’s Work”
When: Wed, March 30, 12:30 – 2pm and 6–8:30 pm
Where: Lowell National Historical Park–Visiting Center Theater, 246 Market Street, Lowell, MA
This documentary takes a hard look at workplace safety in the temporary staffing industry.
Theater with a discussion to follow by the Producer, David Garcia For more information, please contact Sue D’Amore: 978-934-3256 or Susan_Damore@uml.edu

Save the Date: Fight for $15 Rally
Thurs, April 14
March and rally: 4:00 – 5:00pm
Social hour: 5:00 – 6:00pm
More details to follow as plans develop!

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Home Buying 101 Workshop

The City of Boston and SEIU Local 888
Housing Trust Fund

SEIU Local 888 members who work for the City of Boston are eligible to receive benefits from the City of Boston-SEIU Local 888 Housing Trust. The Housing Trust was negotiated through collective bargaining to assist SEIU Local 888 members with the cost of housing in Boston by providing them with grants and interest free loans.

Home Buying 101 Workshop

home-buyers-101_email-banner_2016_f1An 8-hour course that prepares first-time homebuyers for homeownership

This 8-hour educational workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the home purchase process to help homebuyers make smart, informed decisions in the path towards homeownership.  The course is covered in two 4-hour sessions. Participants will receive a detailed reference manual and lunch.  Certificates of completion will be awarded after successfully completing both sessions of the course.

Topics covered include:

  • Preparing for the mortgage process
  • First time homebuyer mortgages
  • How to find a home
  • The legal aspects of buying a home
  • How to work with professionals during the home-buying process

When:       Saturdays, March 5 and 12, 2016, 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Where:      SEIU Local 888, 52 Roland Street, Suite 101, Charlestown, MA 02129

Register at:   www.seiu888.org/htf  (password: 888member)

$25.00 per person*

Pre-registration and payment required before class.

Available for SEIU members only
Class size limited to 40 participants, so sign up now!

For more information, visit www.seiu888.org/htf
*plus online registration fee of $1.62

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New Revenue from “Millionaires Tax” Would Improve Public Services

Last fall, Local 888 members helped collect more than 158,000 signatures to qualify a new constitutional amendment for the ballot that would raise $1.5 billion in new revenue by raising taxes on annual incomes over $1 million.

The Jan. 19 statehouse hearing was packed with supporters from labor unions, community organizations and public interest groups.

The Jan. 19 statehouse hearing was packed with supporters from labor unions, community organizations and public interest groups.

It was a crucial first step. Now it needs support from 25 percent of state legislators. The first opportunity to win support was at a public hearing by the Joint Committee on Revenue, held on Jan. 19.

The proposal would invest over $1.5 billion in new revenue in quality public schools, affordable higher education, and transportation by asking millionaires to pay an additional tax of four percentage points only on annual income above $1 million.

“Currently, the highest income one percent of taxpayers in Mass pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the other 99 percent,” said John Miller, an economist at Wheaton College. “If they paid their fair share – the same share as the rest of us – we would be able to make investments in people and physical infrastructure that could strengthen our economy, expand opportunity, and directly improve the life prospects of children and families across our state.”

The Millionaires Tax already faces stiff — and well-funded opposition. Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Beacon Hill Institute, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Citizens for Limited Taxation all had representatives testify against the amendment at the hearing.

RaiseUpMA_LogoIf the proposal is advanced by the legislature at a Constitutional Conventions this session and in the 2017-2018 session, the question would go to voters in Nov. 2018.

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Supreme Court Hears Case that Could Weaken Our Union

Oral arguments heard at the Supreme Court on January 11 highlighted what’s at stake for working people in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.  Friedrichs — a case that billionaire extremists have pushed to the Supreme Court—is the latest in a long line of laws and lawsuits aimed at making it harder for working people to stand together, pool our resources and negotiate to improve our lives and our communities.

Local 888 Executive Board member Tom McKeever joined staff members Dan Hoffer and Joe Lazzerini at the Supreme Court

Local 888 Executive Board member Tom McKeever joined staff members Dan Hoffer and Joe Lazzerini at the Supreme Court

The groups behind this attack like the Center for Individual Rights are what working people dislike about Washington. They represent dishonest politics that ignore the voices of millions of working people around the country who have voluntarily joined together to form a union.

History has shown in cases like the challenges to the Affordable Care Act that it is impossible to predict from legal briefs or oral arguments how the Supreme Court will rule.

However the Supreme Court rarely overturns previously decided cases.  The justification for fair share fees was put in place over 40 years ago by a unanimous court that included six justices appointed by Republican presidents.

Twenty-three states and thousands of labor-management relationships in the public sector have relied on this precedent in adopting fair share systems.  Overturning this precedent would be an unjustified and radical act that would disrupt thousands of labor-management relationships and millions of public employees.

But it’s not just public service workers and their employers who depend on the stability of strong and stable labor-management relationships.  Everyone benefits from the better public services in our schools, hospitals, and communities where our friends and neighbors work to serve the public.

This case would have an especially disruptive effect on public safety. Unlike when so-called right-to-work was adopted in Wisconsin or Michigan, there would be no carve out for public safety, and contracts that have been negotiated with agency fees to allow for public safety equipment and training would disappear overnight

In the coming months, working people will continue to make our voices heard.  Over the next few months Local 888 leaders will be talking about why speaking up and having a voice on the job is good — not just workers, but our country as a whole.

Wealthy special interests behind the Friedrichs lawsuit know that when workers are organized in unions, they make major gains like increasing pay and benefits —victories that interfere with these billionaires’ extremist agenda. For example, thanks to people banding together in the Fight for $15 movement, more than 11 million people across the country have won raises.

Why should someone be compelled to pay a fee that the union then turns around and uses to support political causes that worker opposes?

No one has to be involved in political work or pay for it. That’s the law already, and this lawsuit will not change that. People contribute to the costs of negotiating agreements that improve our pay, benefits and other working conditions.

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.

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BCYF Members Win Back Pay

Just in time for the holidays, eleven Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) members finally were paid the back pay they were owed due to not receiving their step raises.

The back pay was a settlement for a grievance originally filed in 2011 for part time employees who had not received step raises — in some cases going back as a far as 2008.  The grievance was revived and pushed by the new chapter leadership at BCYF.  It was an agenda item at every joint Labor-Management meeting once the fight to have it settled was rekindled.

More than $​183,000 was collectively paid out by the city to the eleven BCYF members.  Each member was paid based on how many step raises they had missed and for hours worked including any overtime.

The settlement agreement included language so that if any employees were missed, they could still make a claim. If any members feel they should have been party to the settlement, they should contact the union with any supporting information.

“I was totally shocked,” said Maureen Clougherty who works part-time at the front desk at the Curley Center in South Boston. “I didn’t know it was coming, in fact I kind of forgot about it. It was a substantial sum of money, so I’m just thrilled.”

While the union cannot bargain for members who may have left employment with BCYF, former members who feel they might be owed money should contact the Office of Labor Relations at Boston City Hall.

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Scholarships

graduation-cap-diploma

 

SEIU offers post-secondary educational scholarships for members and their immediate families. Local 888 will award three $500 scholarships for members (or family) to attend any post-secondary school of their choosing.  Local 888 also awards scholarships for approved labor study programs or courses at the Labor Guild.  Applications for the Local 888 scholarships will be available May 9 for Fall scholarship awards.

Members can also apply for national SEIU scholarships. To be eligible, membership must be for one continuous year as of September 1, 2016.

Key points for national scholarships:

  • Applications are available now.
  • Applications should be filed online. See the individual scholarship information online for instructions.
  • Applications must be postmarked or filed online by midnight March 3, 2016.
  • Winners will be notified in late spring and announced on www.seiu.org.

For more info on the national scholarships, visit www.seiu.org/members#scholarships

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