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Parents, Teachers Rally to Save Head Start
Time to Celebrate!
On Saturday, June 22 you’re invited to help celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Local 888 with a free family barbecue and golf tournament in honor of the founding of our local. “This is a chance for members to get together in a fun family environment,” says Local 888 Executive Board member Greg Barry, who is spearheading the golf tournament. “Because we work in chapters all across the state we rarely get to meet fellow chapter members. We’re making some real progress as a union and what better way to celebrate than a family get-together in a beautiful setting?” The golf tournament begins at 8:00 AM and the free BBQ starts at noon. In addition to food, there will be games and rides, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn and Snow Kone machines, along with a bouncy castle and obstacle course for the kids. The celebration will be held at the Bay Pointe Country Club, 19 Bay Pointe Drive in Onset, Mass. “The facility has just been completely remodeled and it’s absolutely beautiful,” says Barry.
Head Start teacher and Local 888 member Mary Hernandez at a rally against cuts to the program.
oncerned parents and teachers of the Montachusett Opportunity Council’s Head Start program joined forces at a recent rally in Fitchburg to oppose cuts that have already ended the school year ahead of schedule and could see a delayed start to school in the fall. Head Start, which helps prepare young children for kindergarten, lost five percent of its budget due to automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. Mary Hernandez, a member of SEIU Local 888 and a lead teacher for the Head Start program at the Hosmer School, credits Head Start with changing her life. Speaking to the crowd, Hernandez said she first got involved with Head Start as a parent 16 years ago. She went on to become a Head Start teacher and will soon graduate from Fitchburg State with a BA in early childhood education. Said Hernandez: “My story isn’t unique. Many Head Start teachers and workers were once Head Start parents and have similar stories to mine. We made important changes and strides in our lives thanks to the Head Start program.” Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888, was on hand to show support for the teachers and expressed concern over Head Start teachers losing pay when the program closed early. He said that the union will continue to urge Congress to put a stop to pending Nov. 1 budget cuts that would take an additional five percent from the program.
Help us celebrate with a free family barbecue, rides, golf and more. .. When: June 22 Where: Bay Pointe Country Clu b, Onset, Cape Cod
Please register by June 14. Fo r more information and to sign up, ca ll 617241-3300 or visit www.seiu8 88.org
Ten Year Anniversary Party
Don’t Forget to Vote on 6/25
The special Senate election will be held on Tuesday, June 25th. Polling hours are between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. For information about where to vote visit: www.wheredoivotema.com.
City of Boston Employees: Share Your Concerns
When: Thursday, June 6th and June 20th, 11:30 AM–2:00 PM Where: Conference Room 624, 6th floor, City Hall For more information, call the Local 888 office at 617-241-3300.
Committee on Political Action
When: June 18, 6:00 PM—7:30 PM Where: Local 888 union hall, 52 Roland Street, Charlestown, MA
Support Candidates Who Support Working Families
Walk for Peace
SEIU Local 888’s political action committee (COPA) has done the research and is recommending Senate candidate Ed Markey as the best choice for working families. For more information, contact Local 888 at 617-241-3300 or visit www.edmarkey.com.
SEIU Members Were Key in Close Senate Race
More than than a dozen SEIU member political organizers or MPOs worked for 35 days in Mattapan and Dorchester knocking on more than 9,000 doors to help get votes for Representative Forry. Local 888’s COPA committee interviewed both candidates, then endorsed Forry on April 5th. Did SEIU’s effort make a difference? You be the judge. Rep. Forry defeated Rep. Nick Collins by just 378 votes! If you want to become an MPO please contact Dan Hoffer at Dhoffer@ seiu888.org.
Local 888 member Tom McCeever is organizing a Walk for Peace to raise funds for the Richard family, whose son Martin was killed in the Marathon bombings, and whose daughter was injured. All proceeds will go to purchase a prosthetic leg for the Richard’s daughter. For more information and to sign up, visit www.active.com and search for “Walk for Peace 2013.” When: Sunday, June 23rd, 11:00 AM Where: Cedar Elementary School, Hanover, MA. Following the 2.2 mile walk, participants are invited to gather at Squires Pub for free appetizers and a raffle.
Local 888 Executive Board Meeting
When: June 26, 10:00 AM Where: Local 888 union hall, 52 Roland Street, Charlestown, MA
Regional Steward Trainings
Are you a Local 888 steward? Do you want to be one? Training for stewards is being offered at the following times and locations: When: July 8, 6:00 PM-8:30 PM (part 1) and July 15, 6:00PM-8:30PM (part 2) Where: Local 888 Worcester office - and July 20th, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM Where: Local 888 Holyoke office Space is limited. Members are encouraged to register in advance with Lisa Field at (617) 435-8837 or email@example.com.
Make Your Voice Heard on Extending OSHA Protections
MassCOSH is hosting a phone “briefing” for union members on the proposed legislation that will extend OSHA protections to state employees. When: June 6 at 12:00 PM. The conference call number is: (857) 232-0300, then enter the code number: 615402. If you call in, be sure to identify yourself as a Local 888 member!
Crossing guard and Local 888 member Mary White has been recognized by the Boston Archdiocese for outstanding faithfulness and commitment. White, who lives and works in Somerville, says she was stunned by news of her award.
Beating the Boss
ocal 888 shop steward Paula Nute has worked for the Town of Carver for over nine years as Assistant Tax Collector. She also took on the responsibilities of the Assistant Treasurer for almost six years. After receiving her Massachusetts Collector’s Certification, Nute felt like she could improve the procedures of the Treasurer/Collectors department and bring them up to the Department of Revenue’s standards. “Working with the elected Treasurer/Collector every day, I could not shake the feeling that I could actually do a much better job,” said Nute. “So I decided to run against him!” Nute enlisted support from her union’s political program, the Committee on Political Action or COPA. “SEIU Local 888’s COPA program gave me the resources and expertise I needed to run for office. Thanks to Local 888 and many other supporters, on April 27 I beat the boss 1,442 to 703! And that’s why I give to COPA, so other members can have the same opportunity that I had.”
For more information about COPA, visit www. seiu888.org/copa or email SEIU Local 888’s political director Dan Hoffer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
hen Mary White received a letter from the Boston Archdiocese informing her that she honored for “outstanding faithfulness and was being commitment,” she could hardly believe her eyes. “I read it three times and thought to myself—you know what, I’m going to have a cup of tea and come back, just to make sure it says what I think it says!” White, who works as a crossing guard in Somerville, teaches Sunday school and sings in the choir at St. Joseph’s in Union Square. She was honored along with 75 other parishioners from across the metro area at a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. “The ceremony was absolutely beautiful,” says White, who was accompanied by several members of her church choir. The award is the latest sign that things are looking up for the 68-year-old White. Just three years ago, she was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant. She began to fear that she would never work again and, out of desperation, emailed the City of Somerville with a simple plea: “I need work.” The crossing guard position was a life saver, says White. “I absolutely love it. Working with the kids brings me such pleasure, and I also get to be part of a union.” Crossing guards in Somerville and Springfield have recently become part of Local 888
Congratulations to Mary on her award from the Archdiocese! If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spark contact us at: email@example.com.
Brian, Corey, Paula, and Amber Nute at Cory’s graduation. Local 888 member Paula Nute was recently elected as Carver’s Treasurer/Collector.
Members at Chelsea City Hall ratified a new three year contract through June 30, 2016 with wage increases each year of 2.5, 2.5 and 3 percent. The uniform allowance for Animal Control officers, who wear uniforms similar to police officers, was increased to $1,000. Members were also successful in converting Bunker Hill Day to a vacation day. The contract was achieved because of the determination of the negotiation team to reach the best contract possible. The members on the negotiation team were Margarita Franco, Richie Zullo, Scott Bridges and Susan DeSanti.
Community Action Agency Girds for Tough Times
Chelsea City Hall
Members from the Community Action Agency of Somerville held a membership meeting on May 29 to discuss the early closing of their Head Start classrooms this year due to sequestrations cuts (see cover story). Members raised concerns about possible layoffs if the budget continues to be in a deficit. Members reported that these are the worst financial conditions they’ve seen.
Members at Somerville’s Community Action Agency have been hit hard by budget cuts.
Boston Public Health Commission
Members of Local 888 at Chelsea City Hall.
New Women’s Committee Formed
Members kicked off the new Local 888 Women’s Committee last month. In attendence were Local 888 Secretary Treasurer Brenda Rodrigues; Field Rep Mari Cooney, Bianca Pierre, Tiffany Skogstrom, Veola Green, Boston Public Health; Charlotte Killam, Boston Water & Sewer, Susan Winning, UMass Lowell, Organizer Christina Villafranca, and Lorna Pleas, Boston Elderly Commission. The new committee will be meeting regularly.
All four of the bargaining units at the Boston Public Health Commission have ratified new six year contracts (the contracts are retroactive for three years). The four units total nearly 400 members. Yearly wage increases were 0, 1, 2, 3, 3, 3 percent. Everyone also receives a one-time 2.5 percent base salary “lump sum” for taking a wage freeze beginning in mid-2009. Local 888 Reps Bill Storella and Mari Cooney assisted the following bargaining teams: Tiffany Skogstrom, Sheila Jackson and Veola Green (Programs); LaTonya Williams and Walter Milliken Jr. (Clerks and Techs); Rocky Gillis, Peter Cavicchi, Leigha Earl and Josephine Madrazo (Homeless Services Coordinators); Charles Mays, Shellie Lewis and Sean Derbyshire (Homeless Services Counselors). Thanks to all for your hard work!
Helping Hand in Haverhill
Congratulations to City of Haverhill employee Phil Lakaszcyck. With assistance from chapter chair Fred Simmons, Local 888 Field Rep. Bill Storella and union attorney John Magner, Lakaszcyck was able to fight off a change in his job title which enabled him to maintain his current ranking until retirement -- thus preserving his higher pension.