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SEIU Local 888 Spark, Feb. 2013

SEIU Local 888 Spark, Feb. 2013

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Published by Rand Wilson
Union newsletter for members of SEIU Local 888
Union newsletter for members of SEIU Local 888

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Published by: Rand Wilson on Feb 06, 2013
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02/07/2013

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February 2013
Dues Equality: More Money for Chapters
C
hapters are the heart and soul of Local888. Each chapter is an integral part of our local, but with its own identifiablecommunity of interests. The stronger the chap-ters are, the stronger we are as a union.Now that Local 888 has adopted Dues Equal-ity, we have increased the allocations for chapterfunds in order to strengthen chapters and bettersupport local leaders. The increases allocatedto chapter funds provide more resources formembers to work with. Chapters can use theirincreased funds for membership activities andtraining.
Handbook now available
Local 888 also has a new chapter funds policy handbook to help leaders better utilize the re-sources available. The handbook contains help-ful information on:
More efficient ways for leaders to accesschapter funds
Using chapter funds to support membershipand leadership development
Suggestions for chapter leadership structuresThe environment for Local 888 members hasnever been more challenging. That’s why it’simportant for every chapter to take advantageof Local 888’s resources to increase membershipinvolvement and win better contracts.Note: the Chapter Funds Policy Handbook isavailable for download at http://www.seiu888.org/chapters
If you have questions about chapterfunds or how to make your chapterstronger, call 617-241-3300.
Make Your Voice Count
 Ask Senate candidates about theissues that you care about at the SEIUCandidate Forum.
Details on Page 2.
Changes to Retiree HealthBenefits in the Works
Governor Deval Patrick is proposing major chang-es to the health benefits received by retired publicworkers. Governor Patrick’s proposal, which heplans to file as legislation, is based on the recom-mendations of a special commission that includedrepresentatives of several public employee unions.The major pro-posed change:Future retireesmust completetwenty yearsof service andhave reachedthe age of 60 in orderto qualify forretiree healthinsurance. Thechanges won’timpact current retirees, and will have minimal im-pact on those employees who are within five yearsof retiring.But the impact could be significant for employ-ees for whom retirement is still years away, saysLocal 888 president DelloRusso. “It’s essential thatLocal 888 members learn about the proposedlegislation so that we’re prepared to speak up andfight back against measures that are really harm-ful.”
 A complete summary of the proposed changes is available at www.
seiu 
888.org 
Governor Deval Patrickannounces proposed changesto retiree health benefits.
 
The Spark February 2013 www.seiu888.org
 Ask Sparky 
Dear Sparky 
: I get along really well with my boss. I think I couldprobably get a better deal thanwhat’s in the contract if I negoti-ated with him one-on-one. I “get”why workers at the bottom of the wage scale can benefit fromhaving a union but wouldn’t it make more sense forme to strike out on my own?
Worth More in WorcesterDear Worth More
: I can answer your question withtwo simple words—’new boss.’ Do you “get” whereI’m going? Contracts can sound complicated but atthe end of the day they’re simple. They provide anenforceable set of rules, large and small, that lay outthe terms of your employment. Say you were ableto strike a sweet deal with your boss. But then yourboss goes off to be the boss of someone else, leaving you with a new boss who doesn’t give a fig aboutthe deal that you cut with boss number one. In otherwords, by going out on your own, you’re left
on your own 
. Meanwhile your brothers and sisters have thesecurity of knowing that the terms and conditions of their employment are spelled out in, you guessed it,that handy little contract.
Capiche? 
 And while I’ve got your attention, I’d recommend that you take a look atwhat’s in your contract. That’s because while havinga contract is great, it’s meaningless if it’s not enforced.Want proof? Check out the chapter reports on page 4.
Do you have a question for Sparky? Send it to spark@seiu888.org .
Coming Attractions
Fundraiser for Tristan Pulsifer’s Fight Against Leukemia
When: Sunday, February 10,1–4PMWhere: The Center Bar and Grill,102 Green Street, Worcester.Tristan is the grandson of a Lo-cal 888 member who works atthe Lottery. $25 suggested do-nation. Tickets at the door. Tocontribute, email or call DonnaMastrovito at 508 450-8639 or mastrovito21@charter.net.
Public Higher Education Advocacy Day 
When: Tuesday, March 5, 11AMGardner Auditorium, Massachusetts StatehouseGovernor Patrick has made proposals for reinvest-ing in higher education. We need to make sureour legislators understand the urgency and thesupport behind these proposals. Every campuswill be making plans for recruiting, training andtransporting students, staff and faculty to theState House. Registration details coming soon. Formore information contact PHENOM at: massphe-nom@gmail.com.
US Senate Candidate Forum
When: Saturday, March 9, 10AM – noonWhere 150 Mt. Vernon street, Dorchester, MACandidates for US Senate including Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, have been invited to this SEIUcandidates’ forum. This is your opportunity to askthe Senate candidates about the issues that youcare about.
Lobby Day for State Revenue Bill
When: Tuesday, March 12, 11am – 1pmWhere: Gardner Auditorium, MassachusettsStatehouse
Mass. Jobs with Justice Annual Dinner
When: Thursday, March 14th.Where: Suffolk Downs, East Boston, MAFor more information about Massachusetts Jobswith Justice and to purchase tickets, visit www.massjwj.net.
Got something to say? An event memberswould be interested in? Send notices andletters to the editor to spark@seiu888.org
 
Mail Bag
Dear Mark: Thank  you or  your rapid response to our questionsconcerning Dues Equalit y and other issues.I  was trul y impressed b y the concern  you sho wed b ycoming here in person. I ma y not agree  with  what transpired but  you con vinced me that  you ollo wedthe letter o the la w o the charter on all ronts and  you let me  with an impression that as our President, you are sincere in  your role in making this a better union or all. Thank  you again! Teri LambertMashpee Clerical /Dispatcher
 
and an active and united membership.
Share good news. When there is good news, spreadit around on social media sites.
For more tips on how to share your 
 
story with local news media, contact Rand Wilson at 
rwilson@seiu888.org 
The Spark February 2013 www.seiu888.org
The Local 888 Latino Caucus met with JohnWalsh, the head of the state Democratic Party todiscuss upcoming elections and a plan to maketheir voices heard at the 2013 Democratic StateConvention set for on July 13 at the TsongasCenter at UMASS Lowell. The 2013 Conventionwill determine the platform for the party.
Proposed Changes to Housing Authorities Raise Concerns
 A
string of corruption charges levied at the leadersof state housing authorities could lead to legis-lative changes that will hurt hundreds of lower-levelauthority employees. That’s according to some of the150 Local 888 members who work for eight differentstate hous
ing
authorities.
 Al Zenkus
, a shop steward and employee of theWorcester Housing Authority, says that he is particular-ly concerned about a proposal that could require evenlong-time authority employees to reapply for their jobs.“It doesn’t seem right that because of problems at thehighest levels, the executive directors and the boardmembers, that the rank-and-file could end up bearingthe brunt. We’re talking about people who’ve servedtheir local housing authority for 20, even 30 years,”says Zenkus.Last month, Governor Patrick unveiled a bill to con-solidate public housing management—including bud-geting, planning, and administrative functions—intosix regional offices, while leaving a corps of managersand maintenance workers at local housing authorities.The six regional authorities would be overseen by nineunpaid board members appointed by the governor.Local boards would be cut, eliminating the need formore than 1,000 local commissioners.Union leaders say that the proposal raises morequestions than it answers, and expressed frustrationabout the difficulty of getting information about theimpact of the changes on housing authority employ-ees. “We’re reaching out to the Governor’s office andthe Department of Housing and Community Develop-ment for answers but there are so many questionsabout what this will mean for jobs, collective bargain-ing and the quality of service members provide to ten-ants and the public,” saysLisa Field, Local 888 assistantdirector of field operations.Zenkus says that he and his members are preparedto take a stand against changes that unfairly punishhousing authority workers for problems that they hadnothing to do with. “We’ll do whatever it takes.”
L
ocal 888 members have been speaking out about theimportance of the work they do to the people they serve and the communities where they live and work.Town Hall employees in Millis, crossing guards inSpringfield, and guards at Barnes and Otis Air NationalGuard bases are Local 888 members who have beenfeatured in newspaper stories.“If we don’t tell our story, nobody will,” said Brenda Ro-drigues, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 888. “Our membersare the best ambassadors to the community about whatunions do and how they help.”Local 888 communications director Rand Wilson saysthat he hopes that more members will share their storiesin public forums. “We want members to tell the publicabout the essential service they provide,” says Wilson.Wilson offered three tips for talking about your joband your union:
 Always begin by explaining how you and yourmembers are standing up for the public inter-rest.
Use examples of how the union contract improvesstaffing, reduces turnover, and provides the good jobs that everyone in the community needs.
Use personal stories to show how the people you serve and the community at large benefitsfrom the union contract, grievance procedure
Member Tool Kit: Telling Your Story 

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