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Legislators get earful in pension fight

September 9, 2019

[caption id="attachment_9547" align="alignnone" width="300"]MAKING THEIR CASE: Theresa King and Kwesi Ablordeppey testify at the State House.MAKING THEIR CASE: Theresa King and Kwesi Ablordeppey testify at the State House.[/caption]

Local 888 members took their case to the Legislature, saying that caregivers at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers Homes are entitled to better pension benefits than they currently get.

“Leaders from the Soldiers Homes did a great job testifying at the State House on behalf of our bill,” said Local 888 Secretary Treasurer Tom McKeever.

“We take care of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), some of who may be violent,” said Kwesi Ablordeppey, Holyoke Home’s chapter leader. “Some live on  locked wards and wear ankle bracelets that can set off an alarm as soon as they try to get out.”

The caregivers are being classified at the Group 1 level for retirement. Under state rules, Group 1 includes laborers and clerical administrative and technical workers. The state website says that Group 2 includes positions that “provide direct care, custody, instruction or supervision of persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities.”

Local 888 members are urged to contact the Legislature to correct this unjust situation. To find out who your state representative and senator are and how to contact them, go to