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Chapter Visits Build Our Union
Attention chapter chairs and all Local 888 members: back by popular demand, we’re pleased to announce our second Leadership Initiative on January 26th in Worcester. This day-long training is a great opportunity to learn essential skills necessary to help lead your chapter and build a stronger union. On the agenda: • Fundamentals of chapter administration • Strategies and tips to build a more effective organization Local 888 held its first-ever leader training last year, and chapter leaders traveled from across the state to meet with fellow members to talk about the current state of the labor movement and how to make it stronger—starting with their own chapters. Members who participated found it helpful, and urged Local 888 leaders to consider holding another session in another part of the state. The training will be led by UMass Labor Extension staff. Local 888 Leadership Initiative 8:30 AM - Coffee and Registration 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (light lunch provided) Teamsters Local 170 330 Southwest Cutoff, Worcester, MA 01604 To sign up, call (617)241-3300 or email Brenda Rodrigues at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ince Mark DelloRusso and Brenda Rodrigues were elected leaders of Local 888 last year, they’ve made an effort to meet with as many chapters as possible. The meetings are an opportunity for members to voice their concerns and learn more about how Local 888 can provide better services, assist chapters to be more effective and build membership unity. On Christmas Eve DelloRusso traveled to Westwood to meet with the Westwood School Custodians. The meeting was organized by Frank Chillemi, a senior custodian for 26 years who has been Doris Santana and Lori chapter chair since Manning, nurse assistants in the Alzheimer’s Unit at the 1993. “We had a great Holyoke Soldiers Home, share their concerns with Local 888 turnout—about 75 percent of the mem- President Mark DelloRusso. bership. Not bad for Christmas Eve, said Chillemi. “I think everyone was really pleased to have an opportunity to speak directly to our elected leadership. Chillemi said that the chapter visit was also an opportunity to discuss and prepare for upcoming contract negotiations. “Strategizing with Mark about what we can do to win a good new contract was pretty interesting. I think it started to get us away from that, ‘What can the union do for me’ mentality to begin thinking how can we unite and win with all the resources of Local 888 behind us.
If you’d like Mark or Brenda to visit your chapter, call (617) 241-3300 or email Brenda at email@example.com
Stay in the loop and up-to-date by ‘liking’ Local 888 on Facebook. Find us at: www.facebook.com/ SEIULocal888
The Spark The Spark
December 2012 January 2013
Dear Sparky: In our chapter we have some folks who are “agency fee” members. I’ve never understood what that means—Can you explain? Confused in Central Mass. Dear Confused: Allow me to dig into my handy bag of analogies and see if I can find an apt one for you. Ah yes. Have you ever been to a party where everyone brings a little something for the host—a six pack of beer, or maybe one of those bread bowls stuffed with spinach dip? You’ve probably noticed that there is always one guy who shows up with nothing but then proceeds to consume everything in sight. Let’s call him Mr. Agency Fee. Do you see where I’m going? Let me break it down for you. Your membership in a union comes with all sorts of benefits, including a contract that guarantees you rights and protections. And as they say, nothing worth having is free. Your union dues pay for a strong and effective union, including staff to help negotiate contracts and attorneys to defend your rights. Agency fee members, on the other hand, get the rights and protections of union membership but don’t pay to support those rights and protections. In other words, they are like the guy at the party who comes empty-handed and eats the whole spiral ham. Too many guests like him, and there would be no party. By the way, as a dues-paying member of Local 888, you’re entitled to some other important benefits that agency fee payers don’t have. You may: • Run for office and votein SEIU Local 888 elections and chapter elections • Attend and participate in membership meetings • Serve on the negotiating committee for new contracts • Participate in union-sponsored trainings For more information, visit http://www. seiu888.org/membership.
The Bulletin Board
Computers Available for Members to Use Need to use a computer or access the Internet? Both are available free of charge at the SEIU Local 888 union hall in Charlestown. The hall is open Monday-Friday from 9AM to 5PM. For more information call 617-241-3300. Share the Spark The union newsletter comes out monthly and is full of interesting stories and useful tips to help make your union stronger. If you’d like extra copies for your chapter, contact Local 888 communications director Rand Wilson at rwilson@seiu888. org. Save the Date: Massachusetts JwJ Annual Dinner The 21st Massachusetts Jobs with Justice annual dinner is Thursday, March 14th. This year’s honorees include: Campaign for Justice At Verizon (IBEW, CWA, & allies), Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, Massachusetts Stands Up to Walmart Campaign (UFCW & allies) and MassUniting. The 2012 Youth Award will be given to the Progressive Student Alliance at Northeastern University. For more information about Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and to purchase tickets, visit www.massjwj.net.
Do you have a question for Sparky? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head Start leaders met recently to talk about working together to coordinate Head Start chapters for joint political action and organizing.
Yarmouth Dispatchers Save the Day
Yarmouth dispatchers Jayne Fogarty and Mike Kubiak have both gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist local police officers in the field. Thanks to Local 888 field representative Joan Pritchard for helping to share their stories with the Spark.
Dispatcher Jayne Fogarty “There had been several house breaks in Yarmouth over a period of several days. The Police Officers and detectives investigated, obtained a saturated the area and asked for help from the local search warrant, and discovered stolen items from citizens via the news.One particular shift I came in various house breaks as well as the purse snatch20 minutes early and overheard one of our detecings. The officer and detective tives asking the dispatcher Service under threat both stated “if it wasn’t for the on the prior shift to run the Dispatchers like Mike Kubiak and Jayne diligent work of the dispatcher, names of two individuals. As a Fogarty provide an essential service we would have never been common practice, I also wrote to their community. But a proposal to able to solve those crimes so down their names. A few hours regionalize dispatch operations in Yarquickly.” later, we received a call regard- mouth and other communitieis would Dispatcher Mike Kubiak ing a purse snatching at a local eliminate the kind of personal relationYarmouth Dispatcher Mike grocery store. The female ships described in these stories. Under Kubiak received a call of a distursuspect used the victim’s credit a regional dispatch system, dispatchers bance involving a suicidal male card and signed it, using her are reduced to names and numbers with with a knife. By the time the ofnickname and an undecipherlittle connection to emergency personnel ficers got to the house, the male able last name. I looked in our or the local citizens who count on them. had taken off on foot. Officers “in-house and cross reference” did an area search looking for computer for all females with him. They also contacted disthe first name as written on the patch for a K-9 officer so Kubiak issued the call. While credit card slip. I then pulled up all drivers’ licenses waiting for the K-9 to arrive on the scene, Kubiak to see if the picture matched the description given obtained the suicidal male’s cell phone number and by the store clerks. immediately called for a trace. Once he obtained the Meanwhile, the officer investigating the call trace, he got the longitude and latitude for the male’s received information about another name, which he possible location. By this time, the K-9 officer had thought was a last name, and a possible area where arrived on scene and begun the search with the offithis female suspect lived. The name rang a bell as cers. Meanwhile, dispatcher Kubiak put in the coorit was uncommon, and I realized that it was the dinates and zoomed in on the location using Google same female that the detective had asked the prior Earth. He took a picture of his computer screen and dispatcher to run. I pulled up her driver’s license sent it to the K-9 officer’s cell phone. Kubiak was able and home address and confirmed that she fit the to pinpoint the suspect’s location, hidden behind a description. I also advised the officer that we had septic bunker against a vacant house. Due to the a case involving a purse snatching from a home, creative work of Dispatcher Kubiak, the suicidal male several days prior, with a female fitting that same was located and the K-9 Officer was able to convince description. him to drop the knife.
Dispatcher Mike Kubiak used his technological expertise to help local police officers locate a troubled man.
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. Now members say that they plan to create safety and grievance committees to address problems they face on the job. Safety is major issue Springfield crossing guards, who for crossing formed a union last year, just ratified guards. Since a their first-contract. crossing guard was struck and killed in Everett last year, guards from across the state have been advocating for improved safety measures. Congratulations to the Springfield crossing guards for winning their first contract.
Wins for Winthrop
Congratulations to the Winthrop School Custodians and Winthrop School Cafeteria Employees who recently ratified new collective bargaining agreements . Both contracts were approved by the Winthrop School Committee on December 13. Each group received raises of 1.5% and .5% mid-year for 2012, 2% for 2013, and 2.25% for 2014. The cafeteria group gained language allowing for prorating of longevity payments for employees who leave their jobs before the end of the school year. The custodians expanded bereavement leave, increased the stipend for senior custodians and set limits on assignment of work to non-school buildings. Lynne Novia, Val Leblanc, Debbie Spinazzola, Dottie Mulone, Lorraine Russo, and Maura Adelstein participated in the cafeteria negotiations with chapter president Sue Passaro. For the custodians’ contract, Jimmy Leary and Mark (Wally) Wallace worked with chapter president Dom Passaro. “Thanks to Local 888 for great help with tough negotiations and settling the grievance,” said Dom Passaro. The Winthrop School Custodians won a major victory on December 13 when they reached an agreement with the School Committee to pay two members for the overtime lost when school grassWinthrop school cutting duties were custodian and chapter assigned to non-barleader Jimmy Leary. gaining unit workers in May – September 2012. Jimmy Leary and John English will receive $3,000 and $500 respectively, exactly the amount which the union had proposed to the School Committee. The custodians persevered through many delays in the grievance process to reach this goal.
Billerica Professional Administrators
When the Town of Billerica unilaterally changed a long-standing practice of paying step increases on July 1st rather than on members’ hiring anniversaries, the Billerica Professional Administrators filed a grievance. At issue: what was once formalized in the collective bargaining agreement had been unilaterally dropped from the contract. The dispute was ultimately resolved in favor of the Professional Administrators. The town agreed that July 1st is the date for bargaining unit members to receive step increases and any current employees who were impacted by the unilateral change were made whole. Local 888 regional representative Lisa Field praised the administrator, since retired, who challenged the town. “She was really tenacious,” said Field. “Thanks to her, the issue has been settled in favor of our members.”
The Spark wants to hear from you. To submit chapter reports or other story ideas, contact Local 888 communications and policy director, Rand Wilson at email@example.com.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?