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SEIU Local 888 Spark, May 2013

SEIU Local 888 Spark, May 2013

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Published by Rand Wilson
Newsletter for SEIU Local 888 members
Newsletter for SEIU Local 888 members

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Published by: Rand Wilson on Apr 29, 2013
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May 2013
Boston-Area Adjunct Faculty LaunchCitywide Push to Form Union
“We say yes.”
That was the consensus of a group of over 100 ad- junct professors from more than 20 Boston-areacolleges who’ve launched an effort to raise standardsfor their profession and win a voice in the future of higher education by forming a union with Local 888.The public kickoff for the Adjunct Action campaign tounionize contingent faculty across the Boston metroarea was held at the JFK library last month.“When a university is asking $50,000 in tuition fromstudents, one wonders where the money is goingand why it’s not going into instruction,” said DeborahSchwartz, an adjunct professor in the English Depart-ment at Boston College. “There’s a systemic problemwhen the majority of students who walk into their first year English class are taught by adjunct faculty.”Part-time and non-tenure track faculty are now themajority of faculty at our colleges and universities andtheir numbers continue to increase. At the same time,revenues and tuition have increased steadily over thelast two decades while spending on instruction hasdeclined – and it’s adjuncts and their students who aresuffering as a result.Contingent faculty typically have no job security and low pay that forces adjuncts to string together jobs at multiple colleges and universities to make endsmeet. Many adjuncts do not have access to basicfacilities like office space and receive little supportfor research or scholarship. These conditions make itincreasingly difficult for adjuncts to do their best forstudents.
Continued on page 3.
Local 888 Members Key to Marathon Response
Students from Emerson College show their supportfor adjunct faculty members across Boston whoare seeking to form a union with Local 888.
F
rom police dispatchers, to emergency medicalpersonnel, to crisis counselors, Local 888 mem-bers played a key role in the massive response tothe Boston Marathon bombings. Brenda Rodrigues,secretary-treasurer of Local 888, praised the dedica-tion of these members, many of whom work behindthe scenes to ensure that first responders are able todo their jobs effectively.“We commend Local 888 members who work forthe Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston as police dispatchers, members who workfor the Public Health Commission, others who workas counselors for the Department of NeighborhoodDevelopment, and many personnel for the Townof Watertown who serve as dispatchers and publicworks employees,” said Rodrigues.City of Watertown employee and Local 888 Ex-ecutive Board member Lori Moran said union mem-bers there played an essential role. “Thanks to ourgreat Watertown dispatchers and DPW workers whoworked behind the scenes to help bring this night-mare to an end,” said Moran.Local 888 has made a contribution to One FundBoston, which will help individuals most affected by the bombings. “We are inspired by the sacrifice of so many union members and other workers whorushed to aid the injured, protected the public orpursued the perpetrators at great personal risk,” saidRodrigues.
 
The Spark May 2013 www.seiu888.org
 Ask Sparky 
Dear Sparky 
: I’ve got a little bitof a family situation. My problemis my cousin who, thanks to asteady diet of Fox News, hasdecided that unions are bleed-ing our country dry. At our lastfamily-get-together he referredto me and my wife, a school teacher, as “takers” andeven threw in something about us “feeding at thetrough.” Other than avoiding family functions, is thereanything I can say to this guy that will shut him up?
Had It in HaverhillDear Had It
: Avoiding family functions would be my choice, but then you should see the litter I come from!Unfortunately the kind of mean-spirited trash-talkingthat your cousin engages in is all too common thesedays. Why if I didn’t know better I’d have to concludethat it wasn’t
Wall Street 
but teachers and publicservice workers who were responsible for driving oureconomy into a ditch.The reality is that there probably isn’t much youcan do to change your cousin’s mind. What you cando though is point out how extreme his position is.For example, I’m assuming that he drives his car onpublicly maintained roads, relies on the security of public services like police and firefighters, or enjoysthe occasional fishing trip to waters that aren’t chockfull of chemical runoff. One other tip: I guarantee youand your wife aren’t alone at feeling uncomfortablewith this fellow’s extreme point of view. Before thenext family meet up rolls around, why not check inwith other family members and ask for their support?Either that or give him the wrong address...
Coming Attractions
International Workers Day 
When: Wednesday, May 1, all day Where: Chelsea, Everett and RevereDozens of labor and community-based organizations will march andrally from Chelsea, East Boston,Everett and Revere to support im-migrant and low-income workersthroughout Eastern Massachusetts.For more information, visit www.chelseacollab.org
City of Boston Employees: Share YourConcerns
When: Thursday, May 9, 11:30AM–2PMWhere: OLR Conference Room, 6th floor, City HallCome and meet Local 888 field representatives MariCooney and Madeline Garcia at the first of a regularbiweekly meeting and discussion. For more informa-tion, call the Local 888 office at 617-241-3300.
SEIU Local 888 Executive Boardmeeting
When: Wednesday, May 15, 10AM–5PMWhere: SEIU Local 888 union hall, 52 RolandStreet, Charlestown, MA
Workplace Bullying Workshop
When: Thursday, May 16, 7-8:30PMWhere: Brookline High SchoolCost: $6Local 888 member
Henry Jung
leads a workshopon this important topic including defining workplacebullying and discussing the many resources avail-able to help stop it. For more information, visit www.brooklineadulted.org
Local 888 Ten Year Anniversary Celebration
When: Saturday, June 22, all day Where: Bay Pointe Country Club, 19 Bay PointeDrive, Onset, MALocal 888 is 10 years old and it’s time to celebrate! All members and their families are invited to attenda free barbecue with games and rides beginningat 12PM A golf tournament starts at 8AM, entry fee is $300 per foursome. Stay tuned or visit www.seiu888.org for details.
 Join the Womens Committee
 Join usorapotluck dinner to help start a Womens  Justice Committee /Caucus o SEIU Local 888. Come bring  your ideas, shareyourconcerns as  womenin the union and  workplace anddiscuss our drat mission. For more inormation, contact tian y.skogstrom@gmail.com, or susan_ winning@uml.edu.When: Wednesda y, Ma y 8th, 5:30 to 8:00PMWhere: SEIU Local888 union hall, 52 Roland St. Charlesto wn.
 
The Spark May 2013 www.seiu888.org
‘Adjunct Action’
Continued from cover.
SEIU Local 888 President Mark Dello Russo wel-comed the adjuncts, telling them that “Local 888already has members at both public and privatecolleges so we are really excited to help spearheadthis campaign. Adjuncts deserve to be treated withrespect!” Attendees and panelists linked the problemsfacing contingent faculty, including low pay, lackof job security and little or no access to benefits, tothe “corporatization” of higher education. There isan “increasing corporate mentality of educationalinstitutions,” said one attendee.Students from Tufts, Northeastern and Emersonattended the event in a show of support for hard-working adjunct faculty, who told stories of stayinglate and working well beyond the three coursehours for which they are paid to write recom-mendations and provide guidance on papers andcoursework.Todd Ricker, the organizing director for the Adjunct Action, posed a question to the gatheredadjuncts as they prepared to engage in discussionsabout the reasons to organize on their respectivecampuses. “Do you want things to change or do you want things to remain the same?” he asked.
For more information, visit www.adjunctaction.org 
The kickoff event for Adjunct Action drew more than100 adjunct faculty members from 20 campuses.
Poetry in Motion
L
ocal 888 member James Carty can’t remember atime that he wasn’t writing. The 18 year old, whohas worked at the Brockton Public Library since hewas 15, says that creating poetry feels as natural tohim as breathing. Until recently though, Carty felttoo shy to share his passion with the world. “It was just something I kept to myself,” says Carty.Since the release of Carty’s first volume of poetry last year, the secret is officially out. Not only is
Live,Learn, Love 
on display at the main library and itsbranches but a reading is in the works.“The whole library knows now,” says Carty, whohelps out with children’s programming and justabout anything else that his colleagues at the library need.Carty graduated from Brockton High School last year and is now studying at Massasoit Community College but hopes to transfer to UMass Boston andfocus on creative writing. “That’s really my dream, tobe able to study this thing that I love so much.”Carty says that he got into poetry via his first love:music. As a teenager he was fascinated by hip hopartists who used verse to convey their feelings andexperiences. His goal was to capture that same es-sence of real life and all of its challenges but withoutthe musical accompaniment. “I listen to a lot of hiphop and R and B and I love figuring out how theartists tell a story. That motivates me to do the samething.”
Live, Learn, Love 
is available on Amazon.com and Xlibris.
If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spark write to spark@ seiu888.org .
Poet and Local 888member
 JamesCarty 
poses with hisbook,
Live, Learn,Love 
. Carty, whohelps with children’sprogramming atthe Brockton PublicLibrary, has beenwriting poetry sincehe was 11 and hopesto study creativewriting at UMass.
Stay in the loop andup-to-date by ‘liking’Local 888 on Facebook.Find us at:www.facebook.com/ SEIULocal888

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