Union Updates

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‘I’m Fighting for $15… How About You?’

Jason George will be there—will you? On April 14, fast food workers, retail workers, PCAs, adjuncts and part time faculty, and thousands of union members are going to stand up for good jobs that pay enough for a secure future. The Boston event will kick off rallies across the country and around the world.

Local 888 member Jason George say that he’s planning on attending the April 14th Fight for $15 rally in Boston because “you can’t live on the minimum wage.” Will you be there?

Local 888 member Jason George say that he’s planning on attending the April 14th Fight for $15 rally in Boston because “you can’t live on the minimum wage.” Will you be there?

George learned about the event at a recent Local 888 steward’s training and says that he’s been spreading the word ever since.

“So many people barely make $15 an hour. That’s why this march is so important. You can’t live on the minimum wage. Even working for the City of Boston, I have to work two jobs to survive,” says George, who was recently promoted from a counselor to an assistant coordinator at the Boston Public Health Commission’s Woods-Mullen Shelter in the South End.

George says that he has been dropping off fliers at fast food restaurants all over Dorchester and Mattapan. “I’ve also given them to many of my friends in low wage jobs,” says George.

The march and rally will begin at 4:00 PM at Forsyth Park (at the intersection of Huntington Ave. and Forsyth Way) near Ruggles and Northeastern MBTA Stops.

It will end at approximately 6:00 PM near the Boston Common.

“We’re encouraging Local 888 members to attend and to bring as many of their co-workers as possible,” says Local 888 Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues.

She says that by joining forces with low-wage workers who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union, union members will ultimately strengthen their own hand at the bargaining table. “Wherever the Fight for $15 succeeds, it puts more money back into our communities — which in turn creates more good jobs.” Members are also encouraged to bring their families and friends, especially if they make less than $15.

Can’t make it into Boston for the big event? Wear a sticker on-the-job that day to show your solidarity with the event and raise awareness about the importance of the Fight for $15 for all of our members. To order stickers, call your union representative.

Need a ride to the rally? For information on bus transportation to the rally, visit Local 888’s website at www.seiu888.org or call (617) 241-3300.

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Officer and Executive Board Swearing In Ceremony

Election results

All Members are invited to attend the Local 888 Officer and Executive Board Swearing In Ceremony

When: Saturday, April 25, 10AM-noon
Where: Local 888 union hall,
52 Roland Street,
Charlestown, MA, 02129
Please RSVP for the event by clicking here or call (617) 241-3300.

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Spring 2015 Scholarship Winners

Emily Drury with her father Dana Drury, a staff engineer at UMass Lowell.

Emily Drury with her
father Dana Drury,
a staff engineer at UMass

Congratulations to three Local 888 members whose children have been awarded $500 union scholarships. This year’s winners are: Emily Drury, whose father Dana Drury works at UMass Lowell; Angelica Rocco, whose mother Laurie Rocco is a member of Unit 2, Department of Agricultural Resources; Patrick Scannell, whose mother Maryanne Carty works at Westwood Town Hall.

Patrick Scannell with his mother Maryanne Carty, who works at Westwood Town Hall.

SEIU Local 888 offers college scholarships for members and their immediate families to attend any post-secondary school of their choosing. For information about the next opportunity to apply, visit http://www.seiu888.org/888members/benefits/

Angelica Rocco with mother Lauri Rocco, who is a member of Unit 2 DAR.

Angelica Rocco with
mother Lauri Rocco,
who is a member of
Unit 2 DAR.

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Report Finds Tax Fairness an Answer to Budget Woes

A new report from Keystone Research Center and Good Jobs First finds that taxing top incomes at the same rate as the middle class could fund critical state priorities, including education, infrastructure and public pensions. The report finds that states could generate large amounts of additional revenue to meet public needs by fixing inequities in state tax codes.

20150217_UStaxfairnessThe study shows that surging inequality has skewed huge amounts of income to the one percent, who pay far lower tax rates than the middle class, squeezing state budgets unnecessarily. Making tax codes fairer is shaping up to be a political priority for organizations that advocate for working people, including here in Massachusetts, where some groups are considering proposing a constitutional amendment.

To read the full report visit http://keystoneresearch.org/taxfairness.

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Teaming Up in the Valley

SEIU Local 888 leaders and staff recently met with the Merrimack Valley Project to discuss ways of working together. MVP conducts campaigns aimed at improving the lives of working people throughout the Merrimack Valley, including fighting plant closings and addressing the explosive growth of the temporary labor industry, which employs more than 15,000 Valley residents. MVP also creates democratic economic institutions like the tenant-owned Amesbury Gardens in Lawrence. Local 888 members living or working in the Merrimack Valley who would like to be part of this effort should contact Lisa Field at lfield <at> seiu888.org.

Local 888 Field Director Lisa Field at a meeting with Merrimack Valley staff in the union's Lowell office.

Local 888 Field Director Lisa Field and Executive Board member Susan Winning at a meeting with Merrimack Valley staff in the union’s Lowell office.

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Lobby day to keep GIC health care affordable

Hundreds of state and municipal workers swarmed the State House on April 2 to urge law makers not to raise to 25% the share of health insurance premiums paid by state workers grandfathered at lower rates. The Group Insurance Commission has already approved increases to employee co-pays and deductibles that will further increase out-of-pocket costs for workers.

State and municipal workers at the recent health insurance lobby day at the State House.

State and municipal workers at the recent health insurance
lobby day at the State House.

Taken together, these changes represent $160 million in increased costs for employees next year and put an unreasonable financial burden on working families. Health care costs are crowding out essential public services, including education and public safety.

“Shifting health insurance costs from the state to the individual does nothing to solve the problem of out-of-control health care costs that plagues Massachusetts more than any other state,” said Mark DelloRusso. “While the state is in a strong position to address the problem of rising costs, it’s just plain wrong to ask members to keep paying more — without reforms or cost saving measures that similarly impact the insurance industry. Without a parallel effort aimed at the insurance industry, public service workers will end up bearing the full burden for problems in the health care system.”

Members are urged to tell their legislators to oppose any increase to the state employees’ share of health insurance premiums.   Instead, the cost savings already achieved through changes to co-pays and deductibles in the next fiscal year should be used to lower the premium contributions for employees hired after 2003 who are currently paying 25 percent.



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Governor’s early retirement proposal should not only achieve savings, but fairness

SEIU Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso testified before the Commonwealth’s Joint Committee on Public Service on March 30 regarding, “An Act providing for an employee retirement incentive program” (House Bill 61).

Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso testified at the hearing on early retirement.

Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso testified at the hearing on early retirement.

DelloRusso told the committee that Local 888 supports the Governor’s proposal to offer an early retirement incentive to state employees, but emphasized that for the current early retirement proposal to be successful, it should be broadened to achieve its goal of 4,500 early retirees.

“It is unrealistic to assume that one third of the eligible Executive Branch employees will take the package,” said DelloRusso.  “In 2002, a much broader proposal for early retirement incentives sought 6,700 retirees. Yet only 4,584 employees took the package. That proposal included the State Lottery, Higher Education and granted employees.”

“If the genuine intent of the retirement incentive is to avoid layoffs and help bridge the budget gap, then all Group One employees, regardless of funding stream or agency should be included in the Early Retirement Incentive Program, including the State Lottery, Higher Education, the Housing Authorities and granted employees.

“It is unfair to divide state workers by including some Group One employees and not others. Including all Group One employees is the fairest and most reliable way to achieve the program’s goals.”

DelloRusso was quoted in the State House News. “I know the treasurer is concerned about a run on the retirement board, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.

For a copy of the State House News article or DelloRusso’s testimony, email dhoffer@seiu888.org. 

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Find A Bus to the April 14 “Fight for $15” March & Rally Near You!

Don’t live near Boston? Do you need some assistance with transportation to get to the rally in Boston on Tuesday, April 14th?

blue bus

We’ve got you covered! Below, you’ll find bus times and locations around Massachusetts for the 14th.*

To reserve a spot or submit a question, please use this online form.

Springfield | location TBD | 12:00 PM

Chicopee | The Plantation by Mass Pike | 1:30 PM

Amherst | UMass Campus | 1:30 PM

Chelsea | Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway | 3:15 PM

Worcester | location TBD | 2:30 PM

New Bedford | Shaw’s 15 State Road, Dartmouth | 1:30 PM

Fall River | President Ave & Ellsbury Street | 2:00 PM

Brockton | location TBD | 2:30 PM

Lynn | location TBD | 3:15 PM

Lowell | location TBD | 2:30 PM

Somerville | Davis Square | 3:00 PM

Waltham | location TBD | 2:30 PM

*Please note: 1199SEIU buses are leaving earlier in the day.

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Union Lobby Day to Protest Plan to Shift Health Care Costs to Workers and Retirees

Are you covered by the state or in a municipal agreement that is linked to Group Insurance Commission (GIC) rates?

Union Lobby DayIf so, please attend a Lobby Day at the state house to educate your legislators on the impact of recent GIC cost-shifting measures, including Governor Baker’s budget proposal to significantly raise health insurance costs for state employees.

Please attend and let your lawmakers know about the impact these changes will have on you and other working families!

The Lobby Day will be on April 2 starting at 9:30 AM. Meet at Gardner Auditorium in the State House.

If you can’t make it to the State House, visit www.WheredoIvoteMA.com to find your Representative and State Senator and call the State House at (617) 722-2000.

Tell them where you live and that you are a constituent. Send your elected officials the message that, “Now is not the time to shift healthcare cost to workers and retirees.”

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Local 888 recognized for achieving political action goals

Local 888 was recognized by the International Union for exceeding our goal for signing up new COPA contributors giving an average of $10 a month.  President Mary Kay Henry wrote: “After three years of focused work, your local has made a significant leap forward in your COPA fundraising for 2014… I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished together.”

IMG_7692The letter was accompanied by a beautiful award (pictured at right) inscribed with the following message: “This award is presented to SEIU Local 888 in recognition of your outstanding work to build member political power through COPE and exceeding our goal to sign up new COPE contributors giving an average of $10 a month in 2014. ”

Local 888 President Mark DelloRusso said, “I want to thank all of the members who have stepped up to help Local 888 build our political power and meet our COPA obligations to SEIU.  Dan Hoffer and Jamie Gaynes have done an outstanding job!”

Political Organizer Jamie Gaynes, Political Director Dan Hoffer and Mark DelloRusso with the award from Mary Kay Henry.

For a copy of the entire letter regarding COPE contributions from President Henry, email Local 888 Political Director Dan Hoffer at dhoffer@seiu888.org  


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On April 14: Join the Fight for $15 in 2015!

On April 14, fast food workers, retail workers, PCAs, adjuncts and part time faculty, and thousands of union members are going to stand up for good jobs that pay enough for a secure future. The march and rally — and many more actions and strikes — will strengthen our hand in the Fight for $15 at the bargaining table.

FF15 Logo JPEG“Workers’ wages have been falling for too long,” said Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888. “When large, profitable corporations like McDonald’s hold down wages and benefits, it hurts all of us. But big corporations aren’t the only low wage employers. Far too many members of SEIU Local 888 — and many other unions — aren’t making living wages either.

”The Fight for $15 is about boosting pay and putting more money into the hands of working families. Where it succeeds, it puts more money back into our communities — which in turn creates more good jobs.

“If more union members start winning $15 at the bargaining table, it will make collective bargaining more appealing to the majority of the low-wage workers who aren’t in unions yet,” said Russ Davis, director of Jobs with Justice, a community-labor coalition that has been spearheading the Fight for $15.

To read about how Local 888 and other unions are preparing to win $15 at the bargaining table, including fliers to download and rally locations, click here

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City of Boston Members: Need Help with Heating Costs?

The City of Boston-SEIU Local 888 Housing Trust provides members who’s yearly income is less than or equal to $47,450 with a grant of $750 to help alleviate heating costs during the months of  November 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015. The grants are open to expensive-house-heating-costs-lgthe first 100 members who apply.

For more information, visit www.seiu888.org/htf/fuel/  or call (617) 241-3300.

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