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Chapter Reports: Western Mass

May 22, 2013

Orange Maintenance Unit Tries New Bargaining Approach An experiment is underway at the bargaining table in Orange. Members of the Orange Maintenance Unit are trying an approach called “interest-based bargaining,” in which union members and management identify goals, then use the bargaining process to reach them. Chapter chair Richard Mathews explains that both sides are working together to make contract language clearer with the goal of easing tensions in the workplace. “We’re hoping that by straightening out some of the language there will be fewer grievances,” says Mathews. And while the process is still new, Mathews says that early results look promising. “There’s more give and take and bargaining feels quite a bit more laid back than usual.” If you’d like more information about trying interest-based bargaining at your workplace, contact Lisa Field at

Contract Signed at Amherst Housing Authority Maintenance employees and custodians at the Amherst Housing Authority have voted unanimously to approve a new contract. The new agreement runs through next spring and includes a 3.5 % wage increase. Members were also successful in negotiating a new provision that pays members 1.5 times their base hourly salary when the administrative office is closed during traditional office hours for weather-related reasons, but the members stay or come into work. Congratulations to chapter chair John Summers and his team.

First Contract for Springfield Crossing Guards Congratulations to the Springfield crossing guards for ratifying their first-ever contract. The agreement came after months of difficult bargaining. The two-year contract includes raises of 1% the first year and 2% the second year, which will bring all of the crossing guards up to the same salary. Chapter chair Joe Perry says that members of the 125-person unit are happy to have a contract in place that establishes their rights. “Now if a problem arises, we have to sit down and talk about it. That’s why you need a union,” says Perry.

New Stewards Chosen at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Congratulations to the Local 888 members who were sworn in as stewards at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home on May 20th: Kwesi Ablordeppey, Paulette Williams, Theresa King, Francine Kapinos, Robin Rodowicz, Jerome Potvin, Gus Garcia, Laura Taylor, Norma Torres and Mark Correia. Congratulations to all and thank you for your service.