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Medford chapter hammers away to get new pact

December 10, 2019

SEIU Local 888 logo

The Local 888 carpenters chapter in the Medford Public Schools presented a detailed itinerary of what they do every day — and how members save the district money.

In turn, the superintendent of schools listened, and made the case to the school board.

The result? Members got a bump in their base pay of $5,000. On top of that, they will receive 7 percent in raises over the life of the three-year contract.

While the job title is carpenter, “these guys can troubleshoot almost anything,” said Neal O’Brien, Local 888 internal organizer. “And they know when to call in an outside vendor and when they can do the job themselves.”

“This makes these guys very valuable to the city — since calling in a vendor costs $75 to $100 just to have them show up,” said O’Brien.

In addition to carpentry work, the Local 888 members have HVAC licenses, so they can go up on the roof to identify heating and ventilation issues. They also do a good deal of painting and take care of basic plumbing issues.

If they determine that an outside contractor is truly needed, only then do they call one in.

The Medford school department has seven buildings and more than 4,500 students.