July 2013

“Firsts” For Members in Haverhill and Millis


Local 888 Marks 10 Year Anniversary

Millis Town Hall members recently negotiated their first contract. From left: Mike Giampietro, Laurie Walker, Karen Bouret and Scott Moles.


embers of two new Local 888 chapters are celebrating after negotiating and ratifying their first contracts. Congratulations to members at Millis Town Hall and to the Haverhill Transportation Group for their hard work and determination. Just cause in Millis Workers in Millis voted to join Local 888 in January of 2012. Their first contract includes wage increases and increases for longevity. More importantly, say the Millis workers, are the “just cause” protections that sparked their quest for union representation in the first place. Just cause provides important protections against unfair termination or discipline. First contract and first raise in Haverhill Haverhill transportation workers are celebrating their first raise in more than 5 years. The new Local 888 members were able to negotiate a 5% wage increase for bus and van drivers as well as an increase in the hourly rate for monitors. The transportation workers used the lengthy process of negotiating a first contract to establish union “fundamentals,” including just cause language, a grievance procedure, sick time, vacation and seniority provisions. Members will also be issued School Department IDs for the first time, a significant issue as they are now visibly identifiable as staff when on school property. The transportation workers voted unanimously in favor of the new contract..

ore than 100 members, family and friends gathered in Onset last month to mark the ten-year anniversary of Local 888 with a golf tournament, kids carnival and barbecue. The occasion was a significant one, explains Mark DelloRusso, president of Local 888, because: “We’ve been working hard to make this union stronger, more transparent and more responsive to our members.” To take stock of recent progress, Local 888 recently released an Annual Report. The report catalogues accomplishments of the current administration’s first year in office and includes a financial report and a short history of the local. The report is online at www.seiu888.org. Hard copies of the report can also be requested by calling 617. 241.3300.

Haverhill bus drivers Kelly and Katlyn Graciale voting to approve their new contract, the first for the transportation workers.

In this issue:
• Win a $75 Gift Card • Member Speakout: Greg King • Chapter Reports • Watertown Strong!

The Spark

July 2013


Ask Sparky
Dear Sparky: I can appreciate the value of being in a union but it’s the whole “package deal” that drives me crazy—all these other groups like the AFL-CIO and the rest of the “perpetual protestors.” Doesn’t it weaken our “brand” to be associated with the “loony left”? Leave Me Alone Already Dear Leave Me Alone Already: First of all, let me go on the record as saying that I’m not a fan of tofu—it has no taste! As for the “texture”... But you see, it takes all kinds to make a labor movement, including, as you can read on the very next page, people who aren’t even represented by unions. Take your particular chapter, for example. If you’re like most units in Local 888, you’re probably a pretty small group, which means that it’s the power of the 8,500 other members of the union that is helping you at the bargaining table. Now add in the 2.1 million members across the country who belong to SEIU and the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO, of which you are also a part. That’s a pretty loud megaphone and is virtually the only force keeping corporate America from completely having its way with us, if you know what I mean. As for the “loony left,” keep in mind that it wasn’t so long ago that ending child labor or limiting the work week to 40 hours, were considered “loony” causes. So my advice to you: next time someone offers you some tofu, try it (I will if you will). They say it’s excellent barbecued.

Lottery Commission members Kevin Wilder, Gordon Luciano and Sheila Dubrawski testifying in support of House Bill 2224 which would allow long term state employees to use banked sick and vacation time to fully fund their pensions so they can retire.

Coming Attractions
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, 6:00-8:30 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 lfield@seiu888.org. Women’s Caucus Meeting Come to the union hall to meet with other women who are members of Local 888 to share concerns and work together for a stronger union. When: July 10, 6:00-8:00 PM Where: Local 888 Union Hall Latino Caucus Reception at Democratic Party Convention When: July 12, 7:00-11:00PM Where: UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center 50 Warner Street, Lowell, MA 01852 For more info contact jorvarvel@aol.com. COPA Political Committee When: July 16, 6:00-8:00 PM. (Note: City of Boston Subcommittee meets from 4:00-6:00 PM). Where: Local 888 Union Hall

Attention City of Boston Members
The City of Boston is required by law to conduct an audit of all employees and their dependents receiving municipal health insurance. This means that active employees and retirees who are covering dependents under their health plan will be required to provide certain documentation to verify their dependents’ eligibility. Please carefully read any correspondence you receive from HMS Employer Solutions because there are specific instructions and timelines outlined in the letter. Failure to follow the instructions could result in loss of coverage for your dependents.

The Spark

July 2013

City of Boston employee Greg King reflects on the heart and soul of the US labor movement. “We’re starting to realize that we’re all in this together,” writes King.


Speakout Labor’s New Heart and Soul
he union movement is in real trouble. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unions currently unite just 11.3% of all workers and only 6.6% of the private sector workforce. Public sector employees fare better: 35.9% of us are represented by unions. Globalization, “off-shoring” and outsourcing explain quite a bit of the decline. Another big chunk of it is due to the ferocious assault on labor that has been going on for at least the last 30 years. The rich accuse us of class warfare, but most of the “war” has been waged by them. Globalization and a frontal assault don’t explain everything, though. Dating back to the start of the Cold War, when radical labor leaders and their unions were expelled or raided, the labor movement began to lose its heart and soul. Why do I say that? Because workers come together and form unions not just for better wages and working conditions, but for a better life, as well. Working together on the job, we develop a sense of solidarity with one another. This sense of solidarity carries over into broad, union-wide struggles for a better deal, but also into the communities in which we live. This means the fight for better wages and working conditions expands into one for better all-around living conditions. That’s how working people become very conscious of the society around them and unite with their class brothers and sisters across the country and around the world. Leaders rise from the rank-and-file who express the ideas and feelings of their fellow workers in what may be more articulate ways. Together, the members and leaders fight to improve their society. Some of us are not “even” in unions, yet we’ve been fighting for ourselves really well -- at Wal-Mart, at Dunkin’ Donuts, at a lot of other fast food restaurants, childcare agencies, taxi gathering points. We’re increasingly turning to our allies in the neighborhoods, in civil and human rights organizations, fighting back together in places like Raleigh, Chicago,

San Jose, Honolulu, Newark, New York City. We’re telling the gas exploration companies to ‘get the frack out of here.’ That’s the future of the labor movement. Unions and collective bargaining, it’s true, but also loose associations, worker centers, community groups, social justice organizations. We are starting to realize that we’re all in this together. The new heart and soul of the labor movement will develop in the communities. That’s where new grassroots leaders will arise from. Class struggle unionism will involve almost our whole class -- the 99 percent -- not just a fraction of the class. We will rebuild the labor movement as an all-workers’ movement. We will fight, and we will win.
Greg King is a long-time City of Boston employee and labor activist. If you’d like to write something for Member Speakout, contact Rand Wilson at rwilson@seiu888.org.

Win a $75 Gift Card
Play our Crazy 8’s game and you could win one of three gift cards worth $25, $50 or $75. Here’s how it works: whenever you see the number 8 in this edition of the Spark, make a note. Add up the sum of the 8s and mail or fax your answer back to Local 888. (For example: every time “Local 888” appears it is equal to 24.) All correct answers will be entered into a drawing to be held next month. Mail your entry by July 31st to SEIU Local 888, 52 Roland Street, Charlestown, MA, 02129 or fax to 617.241.5150. Be sure to include your name, chapter or workplace and email address and/or phone number. Only members in good standing are eligible to win. Good luck!

The Spark

July 2013


Chapter Reports
Brandeis Librarians Cheer Contract
Brandeis librarians have won new five year contracts with significant across-the-board raises that brings them up to prevailing wages at other universities for similar titles. The contract applies to both exempt and non-exempt staff members. The chapter also gained three and a half new members because a new job title was bargained in to the unit. Jim Rosenbloom (exempt) and Thomas Valicenti (non-exempt) were elected stewards. Judith Tinnolis also served on the bargaining team.

Watertown Strong!

Congratulations to Phil D’Agostino and Brock Kennedy, 9-1-1 dispatchers from Watertown who received awards from the National Emergency Number Association (America’s 9-1-1 association) who were on duty to protect the people of Watertown and the first responders at risk during the bombing and the pursuit and capture of the Tsarnaev brothers after the Marathon bombing. The Watertown dispatchers, like their law enforcement and fire service colleagues, displayed the professionalism and passion that was common throughout the Boston area. D’Agostino and Kennedy attended NENA’s national 9-1-1 conference in Charlotte in mid-June to receive some much deserved national recognition for the fine work of the Watertown dispatchers.

Brandeis librarians Jim Rosenbloom, Judith Tinnolis and Thomas Valicenti.

BPS Department Engineers New Deal
Members of the Boston Public Schools Planning and Engineering Department have ratified a new six year contract, which runs through August 2015. Retroactive raises were 0% in the first year, 1% in year two, 2% in year three and 3% in each year going forward for years four through six. Also in the deal: Bunker Hill and Evacuation Day were made floating holidays and members now have four hours for cancer screening enshrined in their contract. According to Local 888 Rep. Bill Storella, members particularly liked eliminating the oppressive “swipe in and swipe out” time clock. The 40 member unit just got stronger thanks to new “union business” leave that allows two stewards to handle grievances.

Watertown dispatchers Brock Kennedy and Phil D’Agostino receiving an award from the National Emergency Number Association.

Everett Parking Personnel

Stay in the loop and up-to-date by ‘liking’ Local 888 on Facebook. Find us at: www.facebook.com/ SEIULocal888

Meter maids and parking enforcement members in Everett have ratified a new one year contract that runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Raises were 1.5% on July 1 and 2% on last day of the contract. Members also won a $50 increase in their yearly uniform allowance to a total of $650. Their health insurance stipends (for members opting out of city provided insurance) increased from $1,500 to $2,000. Longevity stipends were also increased substantially. If other non-school municipal unions get better wage increases, members are protected with a wage reopener.

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