More than 100 public defenders and staff attended a union reception immediately after their statewide conference at the DCU conference center in Worcester on May 15. The Committee for Public Council Services (CPCS) staff gathered to hear
from their co-workers on the status of the organizing campaign and to celebrate the progress made so far with SEIU Local 888.
“In a short time we have connected CPCS employees from Pittsfield to Hyannis and moved forward with our legislation to enable collective bargaining,” Ben Evans, a public defender from Fall River, told his coworkers. “But our work is far from over. Every single CPCS worker must have their voice heard. We are the union. We decide what we fight for and we decide what our union is all about. We are truly all in this together!”
The public defenders, whose starting salaries are among the lowest in the country, were recently featured in a hard-hitting column by Boston Globe writer Yvonne Abraham.
Low Wage Worker Day of Action
When: Thursday, June 12, 2014, 4PM-6PM
Boston: Rally at Copley Square, followed by downtown march and rolling protests (Buses to Boston event departing from Dorchester, Chelsea, Hyannis, Lawrence, Lynn, and Westport)
Worcester: Protest at Wal-Mart, 25 Tobias Boland Way, Worcester, MA
Springfield: Rally at Mt. Calvary Church, 17 John Street, followed by protest at McDonald’s.
People’s Fiesta to celebrate participation of Latinos at Democratic Convention
When: Friday, June 13, 9PM-11PM.
Where: Club Venue, 336 Main Street, Worcester, MA
Labor Health Care Forum on Affordable Care Act
When: Friday, June 20, 9AM-1PM
IBEW Local 103, Freeport Street, Boston, MA
RSVP at http://laborguild.com/product/aca2014/ or call 781-340-7887.
Inequality For All – Documentary Film Screening
When: Saturday, June 21, 4PM-7PM
SEIU Local 888 Lowell Office, 104 University Avenue, Lowell, MA
Please RSVP with John Murphy at http://www.meetup.com/DFSlowell/events/175967982
Local 888 cafeteria workers’ summit meeting
When: Saturday, June 28, 9:30AM–1:30PM
SEIU Local 888 Union Hall
For more information email or call Lisa Field at: email@example.com or (617) 435-8837
Save the Date: 2014 Local 888 Convention
When: October 4,11AM-3PM
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 5400 Computer Drive, Westborough, Mass.
The Local 888 Executive Board met on May 21 at the union hall in Charlestown. Local President Mark DelloRusso introduced two new prospective board members.
Anita Christon — nominated to replace Tina Swift as Recording Secretary — has worked for the City of Boston Dept. of Neighborhood Development for 27 years. She was a former Local 888 board member and active in our predecessor Local 285 for many years.
Janet King — nominated for a seat on the Executive Board — has worked at UMass Lowell since 1985. Janet is currently chapter chair for the professional unit and is leading contract negotiations there now.
Anita and Janet were unanimously elected to their respective new positions by the Executive Board.
Mark reported on the continuing struggle by the Malden custodians to stop the School Dept. from outsourcing their jobs. Another rally is planned for June 3.
Mark notified the board that an Election Committee must be formed to supervise Local 888’s officer and executive board elections next April. A bylaws’ committee has been meeting to recommend some changes to help prevent some of the confusion that occurred in 2012. Lori Moran has volunteered to resign from the Executive Board and serve on the Election Committee.
A scholarship has been created in honor of recently deceased member Greg King and a memorial service is planned for June 7.
Mark reminded the board that the Local 888 convention will be on October 4 from 11 AM – 3 PM at the DoubleTree in Westborough.
Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues provided the board with an overview comparing Local 888’s projected budget with actual revenue and expenses for the first quarter of 2014. Total Year to Date income for the first quarter was $1,270,306. Total expenditures were $1,264,069. Members interested in learning more about Local 888’s budget and finances can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quarterly financial statement.
Director of Field Operations Lisa Field reported on progress with the new regional committees and Local 888’s collaboration with MassCOSH to develop a new Safety Council for union members. A training for members on building stronger health and safety committees will take place on June 7 from 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM at Fitchburg State University.
All members that work for school cafeterias are invited to a Local 888-wide meeting to discuss building health and safety committees and fighting privatization. The meeting will be on Saturday June 28 from 9:30 AM -1:30 PM.
The featured speaker at the meeting was the Fight for $15‘s Toya Chester who is spearheading a campaign to win $15 an hour for all workers in Massachusetts. Toya described campaigns that are underway in Seattle and San Francisco to win $15 an hour for workers. Many unions, including the Transit Workers, Mass Teachers and AFSCME have endorsed the campaign.
In Massachusetts the labor movement is gearing up for a June 12 Day of Action for Low Wage Workers. All members are urged to attend rallies from 4-6 PM in Boston, Worcester and Springfield. For more information visit wageaction.org
Members of Local 888 who make less than $15 an hour are urged to wear special “Low Pay is Not OK” stickers on the job that day. To get stickers for you and your co-workers contact your Local 888 Field Rep. or email email@example.com
Organizing Director Rudy Renaud reported that since the beginning of the year, the Organizing Department has been busy organizing with potential members in residual bargaining units within the cities and towns where Local 888 already has members. Organizing staff are also continuing to work with the over 800 employees of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, (Mass Defenders) who are seeking to pass legislation enabling them to organize. The Mass Defenders now have a very special song of their own called “Stand With Us,” written and performed by Erin Mckeown.
Educational Collaboratives are quasi-state agencies that deliver special educational services to multiple school districts. Workers at several of the collaboratives in Central Massachusetts have been interested in forming a union and are considering beginning more active campaigns.
Do you know someone who would like to join a union? Contact Rudy at (413) 475-0895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At last March’s Executive Board meeting, the Executive Board heard a presentation on Senate Bill 1225 which would divest fossil fuel investments from the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Trust (PRIM) over the next five years. Right now 2.6% of state investments are in companies defined as “fossil fuel” companies. The bill would call for the state to divest from these companies from over the next 5 years — 20% of the fossil fuel investment each year. The Executive Board voted 13 to 4 (with 4 abstentions) to urge the Massachusetts legislature to enact Senate Bill 1225. Click here for more info about the divestment campaign.
Political Director Dan Hoffer distributed Raise Up Massachusetts signature gathering kits to the board to increase the minimum wage and win earned sick time. Local 888 has pledged to gather 500 signatures for the campaign. Overall 60,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot by June 13. Members who want to help gather signatures should contact Dan at email@example.com or (617) 642-3588.
Supporters of outsourcing almost always argue that it is necessary for cost savings. But a recent University of Colorado study, “The Decision to Contract Out: Understanding the Full Economic and Social Impacts,” finds that any savings of outsourcing varies widely and often diminish over time. The study also concludes that contracting out undermines our democratic principles by leading to corruption and less control over public funds.
For a copy of the report, click on the link above or contact Rand Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-241-3300 x3368.
Members of the Local 888 Latino Caucus participated in the annual International Workers’ Day march and rally in Chelsea.
With the help of more than 150 community organizations, faith groups and unions, including Local 888, Raise Up Massachusetts collected over 285,000 signatures for two ballot initiatives: raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing earned sick time for all workers. While both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature have passed different bills that would increase the minimum wage, there is no guarantee they will compromise to pass a bill that makes it to Governor Patrick’s desk. That means that Raise Up will need to collect another 60,000 signatures from May 10th through June 18th to ensure the two questions qualify for a place on the 2014 ballot.
Members who would like to help gather signatures in their communities should contact Dan Hoffer at email@example.com or 617-241-3300 x3367.
Local 888 members in the Watertown Public Works department played a key role during the search for Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Now their essential service is being recognized. The American Public Works Association announced it will present Watertown with the Exceptional Performance Award in Adversity at its annual conference in Toronto in August. The Department’s “behind-the-scenes” role included rapidly closing off streets and guiding police and other emergency personnel with lights. Congratulations to all for your exceptional performance.