Union Updates

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

Boston Police Win at Labor Board

A recent Arbitration ruled that Boston Police Operations Dispatcher Wei Li should be reinstated to his position of employment. Wei Li was disciplined and subsequently terminated from his position as a dispatcher in July 2015. SEIU Local 888 Attorney Maureen Medeiros prepared this case for arbitration and was victorious in her argument. The arbitrator ruled that

1) The City did not have just cause to terminate the grievant, Wei Li.
2) The City shall immediately reduce the discharge of Mr. Li to an oral reprimand for his conduct in downgrading the 911 call of July 28, 2011.
3) The city shall immediately offer to reinstate Mr. Li to his former position. 4) The city shall immediately make Mr. Li whole for all wages and benefits which he lost as a result of his unjust discharge less interim earnings, if any.

Boston-Police-Department shield

Leave a comment

Action Faction

Laura Corbin, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home employee and Local 888 steward attended the first Massachusetts AFL-CIO “Labor Constituent Action Network conference in Springfield on December 5.

Laura is shown here with Local 888 Field Rep. Ron Patenaude, State Rep. Paul Mark, Field Rep. Peter Bala, and Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman. The AFL-CIO has embarked on a new program to building a powerful grassroots political network in state senate districts across Massachusetts to fight for a working family legislative agenda.

Left to Right: Local 888 Field Rep. Ron Patenaude, State Rep. Paul Mark, Field Rep. Peter Bala, Laura Corbin, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home steward and  Mass. AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman

Left to Right: Local 888 Field Rep. Ron Patenaude, State
Rep. Paul Mark, Field Rep. Peter Bala, Laura Corbin, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home steward and Mass.
AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman

Learn more and join this activist network at: www.massaflcio.org/laborcan.

Leave a comment

Golden Dodges

Golden DodgesA new report on how McDonald’s avoids paying its fair share of taxes find that over the past decade, McDonald’s appears to have taken advantage of corporate tax loopholes to avoid paying U.S. tax on nearly $16 billion in foreign earnings, saving as much as $1.7 billion in taxes. The report also found that McDonald’s makes extensive use of tax havens to avoid paying what it owes to the IRS.The report was authored by Public Services International (PSI), the International Union of Foodworkers and SEIU.

Read more and get the full report by clicking here.

Leave a comment

Speaking Out for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Damali Simmonds, a Local 888 member at Boston Water & Sewer, testified at a recent statehouse hearing on Paid Family & Medical Leave. Simmonds was quoted in her local newspaper and featured in a new Local 888 brochure that makes the case for paid leave.

Damali Simmonds, a Local 888 member at Boston Water & Sewer, testified at a recent statehouse hearing on Paid Family & Medical Leave. Simmonds was quoted in her local newspaper and featured in a new Local 888 brochure that makes the case for paid leave.

Damali Simmonds, a Local 888 member at Boston Water & Sewer, testified at a recent statehouse hearing on
Paid Family & Medical Leave. Simmonds was quoted in her local newspaper and featured in a new Local 888 brochure that makes the case for paid leave.

 

Leave a comment

2015 Election: Big Goals, Big Victories

Some people say that November 3 was a quiet Election Day in Massachusetts. Well, it wasn’t quiet for SEIU Local 888!

For months prior to the election, the Local 888 political team focused on identifying, supporting, and electing progressive, working class candidates for local office across the state as part of our municipal election efforts.

Local 888 endorsed member Tom Ciulla (center) for Methuen City Council. Tom is a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights and workplace protections. He is shown here with Local 888 staffers Joe Lazzerini, Ron Patenaude, Dan Hoffer and Lidia Calvo.

Local 888 endorsed member Tom Ciulla (center) for Methuen City Council. Tom is a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights and workplace protections. He is shown here with Local 888 staffers Joe Lazzerini, Ron Patenaude, Dan Hoffer and Lidia Calvo.

Our idea? By electing more SEIU members, community leaders and other candidates from all walks of life to local office in an “off year,” we’d not only end up with new elected officials who better represent our members, but also build a statewide roster of future pro-labor leaders of our state.

This year Local 888’s Committee on Political Action (COPA) had bigger goals than ever. On Nov. 3, we had canvassers and organizers on the ground getting out the vote in races in six counties. The results are in and Local 888 and Massachusetts working families won big.

Out of our 31 candidates, including current and former Local 888 members, 25 won their elections!

With dozens of wins, highlighting all of them isn’t possible, but here are a few we’re really excited about:

Rep. Mike Brady, a former member of Local 888 from the Lottery Commission, who has served as a state rep. in Brockton for many years. He successfully beat Republican Geoff Dheil from Hanson to secure the State Senate seat vacated by the late Tom Kennedy. This race was a top priority for Local 888 because Brady is loyal, hardworking and has always been a strong ally in the Statehouse.

Enio Lopez (second from right) celebrating his victory with supporters.

Enio Lopez (second from right) celebrating his victory with supporters.

Enio Lopez is a Local 888 member from the Chelsea Soldiers Home who was considered a long shot candidate running for a district council seat against an incumbent councillor. But Lopez has deep roots in Chelsea and with grassroots organizing and hard work, he pulled out a nearly 3 to 1 victory over the incumbent councilor!

Emmanuel Marsh is a Local 888 member from the Lottery Commission. Marsh grew up in Malden, and like many of us, is concerned about our public schools. Instead of lamenting the way things are, he stepped up and ran for school committee and defeated a two term incumbent. Local 888 fought off a privatization effort by the Mayor of Malden last year and Emmanuel’s victory has changed the makeup of the school committee for the better.

Khrystian King is a SEIU Local 509 member from the state Division of Children and Families who has served the people of Worcester as a social worker and youth violence prevention advocate. In a tight field for at-large city council in Worcester, Khrystian won his seat by just 67 votes.

Karen "Rudy" Renaud with Local 888 staffers DJ Cronin and ron Patenaude.

Karen “Rudy” Renaud with Local 888 staffers DJ Cronin and ron Patenaude.

Karen “Rudy” Renaud (seen at right on election night with DJ Cronin and Ron Patenaude) is Local 888’s Organizing Director and an incumbent councillor in Greenfield. She mounted such a strong campaign that it scared her “tea-party” challenger out of the race with less than a month to Election Day.

Stephanie Muccini Burke is a former Medford city councillor and chief of staff to Mayor McGlynn. Stephanie defeated her tea-party challenger in a hotly contested race, winning by just about 500 votes! She was backed by a strong coalition of labor and progressive groups.

Tom Ciulla is a Local 888 member at the Everett Public Schools who successfully defended his Methuen City Council seat with a commanding victory against multiple opponents. Tom is an important voice for the working families of Methuen and a great example of a member not only stepping up, but serving the community successfully.

These campaigns show the grassroots alternative to the traditional pathway to power for elected officials. Instead of doing the bidding of big-money donors, our grassroots candidates know that if they stand up for working families, we’ll support them and have their backs. That gives more regular people — workers, seniors and young people — the confidence that they can take that big leap of faith and run for office. If you haven’t already done so, please consider joining COPA  today!

To join COPA, visit www.seiu888.org/COPA

Leave a comment

New BPHC/Local 888 Professional Development Program on Offer

The Boston Public Health Commission and SEIU Local 888 have a new Professional Development Pilot Program designed for the Homeless Services Bureau. This program is intended to encourage and enable members to pursue professional development opportunities.

Local 888 steward Jason George with BPH members Sophia Oliver and Ovanica Champagana at the Homeless Services Bureau.

Local 888 steward Jason George with BPH members Sophia Oliver and Ovanica Champagana at the Homeless Services Bureau.

The plan allows full time employees to receive up to seven hours of paid release time to attend approved professional development events. BPHC also plans to allocate funds to pay for employees’ registration fees and travel costs for professional development events in the Boston area. The program will give each member $300 to use to attend classes they wish to take throughout the Boston area.

Jason George, steward for the Assistant Coordinators said, “I am really happy to see this program and I will make sure our members take full advantage of these professional development opportunities.”

After a meeting with the Labor Relations and Local 888 members to review the program, Peter Cavicchi, chapter chair for Coordinators said, “This is a great opportunity for our members to pursue professional development opportunities that they were not able to use in the past.

Charlie Mays, chapter chair for Counselors said, “This is something that we have tried to get in negotiations and I believe this is a good opportunity to evaluate supporting professional development for future negotiations.”

Local 888 members Kristin Joyce, Pedro Rodriguez and Paul Brophy all work at BPHC Shelters.

Local 888 members Kristin Joyce, Pedro Rodriguez and Paul Brophy all work at BPHC Shelters.

BPHC labor relations manager Dave Susich said, “We hope that employees will take advantage of these opportunities and that our experience with the pilot will help BPHC identify effective strategies for continuing to support employee professional development in the future.”

All employees in the Counselors and Coordinators/ Assistant Coordinators bargaining units will be eligible to participate in the program starting October 2015 through June 2016.

Leave a comment

Court Interpreters First to Become Associate Members

Local 888 has kicked off a new Associate Member program that allows workers who are currently not in a position to win collective bargaining rights to gain some of the other benefits of union membership.

On Nov. 8, about 30 court interpreters attended their first meeting at Local 888. Most signed up to take advantage of a new Local 888 program that allows independent contractors who don’t have collective bargaining rights to become associate members of the union.

On Nov. 8, about 30 court interpreters attended their first meeting at Local 888. Most signed up to take advantage of a new Local 888 program that allows independent
contractors who don’t have collective bargaining rights to become associate members of the union.

Local 888’s first group of Associate Members is called Interpreters United. Right now about 30 interpreters who work in the courts have signed up.  Eventually Interpreters United may also include interpreters who work in hospitals, other state agencies and anywhere there is a need for their services.

The judicial interpreters are a unique group of professionals with credentials, experience, and a specialized skill set to make possible equal access to justice to those who otherwise could not fairly participate in the many remedies and resources provided by our legal system.

Yet, because they are essentially independent contractors, they don’t have an opportunity to collectively bargain with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Members of Interpreters United are joining our Associate Member program to gain access to Local 888’s communications and political resources and benefit from union organizing skills.

Associate members have a different dues structure and representation rights than full members, but through membership in Local 888, all are welcome to become part of the labor movement!

To find out more, contact myunion@seiu888.org or call 617-241-3300 or visit www.seiu888.org/my-union/become-a-local-888-associate-member

Leave a comment

Holyoke Soldiers Home Members: “We’ve Got Issues”

More than fifty Local 888 members from the Holyoke Soldiers Home attended a membership meeting on October 20 with leaders and staff from the union. Members spoke out about the challenges and problems they are facing at work.

Members at the Holyoke Soldiers Home met with union reps in October to begin a campaign for more respect.

Members at the Holyoke Soldiers Home met with union reps in October to begin a campaign for more respect.

Below are just a few of the comments that members made:

Staffing
▪ We are short staffed. The Human Resource department is acting like judge, jury and executioner. They forget that we have families and a life. ▪ We need incident reports for “assignment despite objection.”

Policies and Procedures
▪ The policies about the care of veterans are well documented and applied evenly across the board. Yet the policies towards employees are different with each supervisor. The managers just do whatever they want, ignoring long standing policies and procedures.
▪ Management has become anti-worker and antiunion. Not following progressive discipline. They don’t follow the rules and are running roughshod on us.

Time Off
▪ Accessing time off is getting harder and harder. If you don’t use it, you lose it. ▪ “No call, no show” is automatic discipline. We’re told: “It’s not a policy, it’s my practice.”
▪ Our personal days should not be at the discretion of the supervisor.
▪ Members who use Family and Medical Leave are being targeted. People shouldn’t be punished for using it.
▪ Vacation scheduling is terrible. After 17 years I should be able to get the holidays I request.

Education
▪ What happened to incentives for education and advancement?
▪ There is no support for CNAs. Management used to accommodate us for education.

Working conditions
▪ Our working conditions and the negative environment mean we are working under severe anxiety and concern for our jobs.
▪ The hostile work environment is causing high turnover, over 30 percent of employees have quit and 40 percent want to leave. ▪ Some of the time clocks are broken. Then we have to find one that works. It isn’t our fault for being a minute late.

Respect
▪ Management is so vindictive. We need training on exercising our rights. We need stewards training. We need more stewards and union contracts.
▪ Paychecks are incorrect or short money. We have to wait two weeks for overtime pay. And when they make a mistake, they expect you to fix it.

Local 888 has assigned additional staff and will conduct trainings on “enforcing your contract” and “your rights on the job” to assist members with problems at the Soldiers Home. While the grievance procedure has been “jump started” with some good settlements, more members will have to “step up” to win the respect that all employees deserve!

Leave a comment

Coming Attractions

calendarMassCOSH’s 39th Anniversary Party
When: Wed, December 2, 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Where: 1199SEIU, 150 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester
Sliding scale tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2370933

Labor Guild Dinner
When: Fri, December 4, 6pm – 9pm
Where: Boston Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza, Boston
Tickets are $150 http://laborguild.com/lg-events/events/forty-ninth-annual-cushing-gavin-awards/

Western Mass LaborCAN Educational Conference
Connecting your neighborhood to the statehouse
Sat., December 5, 9AM-1PM
Hilton Garden Inn (right off I-91) 800 Hall Of Fame Ave., Springfield

Meet Massachusetts AFL-CIO President, Steven Tolman
Learn about the rightwing attack on unions
Plan meetings with your State Legislators

Join us for a special lunch and meet union members from all over western MA
There is no fee but please register at: www.massaflcio.org/LaborEdConference or contact Katie Hayden khayden@massaflcio.org or 781.324.8230

Local 888 Executive Board Meeting
When: Wednesday, December 16, 10AM
Where: Local 888 Union Hall, 52 Roland St, Charlestown

Save the Date: Local 888
Hockey Night at UMass Lowell
When: Feb. 6, 2016
Includes a pre-game open skate and special members’ reception at the Tsongas Center.
More details in Dec. Spark.

Leave a comment

David Reno’s column

Local 888 Executive Board member David Reno

Local 888 Executive Board member David Reno

Tim Costello Library Anniversary
December 5th will mark the first anniversary of the Tim Costello Library at Local 888.  Tim Costello was a truck driver and labor organizer who died on Dec. 5, 2010.  The library continues his work.  He left a wife and daughter, a brother and four books he co-authored with Jeremy Brecher.

The four books are: Common Sense for Hard Times (1979), Building Bridges: The Emerging Grassroots Coalition of Labor and Community (1990), and Global Village or Global Pillage: Economic Reconstruction From the Bottom Up (1998), Globalization from Below: The Power of Solidarity (2000).  I strongly recommend his books for members to read and learn from.

Ralph Nader Tort Museum
Lawyer, author, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader dedicated the American Museum of Tort Law in his hometown of Winsted, CT on Sept. 25.

A “Tort” is a legal term for an individual wrong a wrongful act, not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury to another’s person, property, reputation, or the like, and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation.  The concept has been under attack from insurance companies.  For example: If a drunk driver loses control and crashes into your fence, the police charge him with drunk driving however getting the driver to repair the damage to your fence requires you to use tort law.

It is the only museum of law in the country and I believe well worth a visit.

Leave a comment

Nov. 10th Action: Fight for$15 Now. Vote for $15 Next.

On November 10, working people who are building the Fight for $15 movement will stand up together for a day of national action.  Read about the Nov. 10 event planned in Boston here.

All Local 888 members who plan on attending the 3:30 PM rally at Faneuil Hall and/or the 4:30 PM march to the state house on Nov. 10 are urged to RSVP here.

Nov. 10 graphicWe’ll call on corporations like McDonald’s to stop paying wages so low that we can’t make ends meet. We’ll continue to stand up for our right to stick together in a union. We’ll also call on elected representatives to change the rules so ordinary people can get a fair shot.

We’re sick and tired of corporations and the wealthy having so much power that they can manipulate the rules in their favor.

Too many African-Americans and Latinos are dying at the hands of police. It is time for real changes to make sure all Americans are treated with respect and dignity. That includes the millions of immigrants who do some of the toughest jobs in the country. They strengthen the backbone of America and deserve a chance to move out of the shadows and to become legal residents with a future opportunity for citizenship.

On November 10, Americans will be 363 days away from going to the polls to elect a new president and new representatives.  RSVP for the Nov. 10 event in Boston here.

So we will rally in front of city halls across the country to launch a new push to build a movement of $15 Voters. Our $15 Voter movement will mobilize our co- workers, families, and neighbors to elect people who will help us raise wages, strengthen our freedom to stick together in unions, make it easier to get quality home care and child care, ensure that black lives matter and fight for comprehensive immigration reform.

We will hold the rich and powerful to the same rules everybody else plays by.

Together, we can work to end racism and oppression and fight for work that is good for families in every community.

What’s it like to live on $8 an hour?
Chrisanna Capshaw is a mom – with a full-time job at Subway in North Carolina. She works hard to support her two kids – Pharaoh and Amariani. But at just $8 an hour, it’s simply not enough to get by.  After diapers and day care, her take home pay is exactly ZERO dollars.

So Chrisanna is fighting back. Watch her powerful testimony for $15 and union rights at a special wage board.

It’s simply wrong that a mom could work hard every day and STILL not be able to support her kids.  It’s time for $15 and union rights now – for Chrisanna, for her kids, for everyone.

RSVP for the Nov. 10 event in Boston here.

2 Comments

Construction at Local 888

There is construction going on in front of the Local 888 union hall.  As result, the sidewalk and front entrance will be unavailable until the end of next week.  Members and visitors are advised to please use the rear entrance.
caution-area-under-construction-sign-signs-910933364

 

Leave a comment