(617) 367-6000  |  Toll Free (800) 367-9797    info@afscme93.org

News


04/28/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
Today is Workers' Memorial Day, a time to remember and honor workers who lost their lives due to job related accidents, injuries and illnesses. It's also a day to renew our commitment to fighting for safer working conditions and passage of laws and regulations that protect the safety of our members.

The name of our brother Jason Sanderson was among those read in remembrance at a ceremony at the State House in Boston earlier today. Jason, who was an active and valued member of Local 1700, lost his life in a work related tragedy last November while working a second job in construction.

In recent years, Council 93 has also mourned the loss of Jason Lew, a nurse in Local 72, who died in 2011 of injuries sustained in a violent attack by a patient in his care at state facility in Pocasset, MA. We also suffered the loss Carlos Tabares, a member of Local 851, who died in 2012 after being pinned between the bucket and the cab of a bobcat he was repairing at the New Bedford, MA Water Department.

Council 93 continues to fight for safer working conditions and fair and equitable line of duty injury and death benefits for our members. We are actively engaged in efforts to address the problem of violent attacks against our members in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services and Massachusetts Mental Health facilities to name a few. We are also pushing for passage of legislation that would provide the same line of duty death benefit currently provided to public safety workers.

We use the sacrifices made by brothers Lew, Tabares and Sanderson as inspiration and invite all members to join us in our efforts. If you have a workplace safety issue that needs to be addressed or are interested in joining our fight to provide safer working conditions please email Jim Durkin or call at 617-367-6012.


04/24/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
We have heard from many of you that you'd like to see additional programs offered through the AFSCME Free College Benefit. To that end, we are pleased to announce that our partner, Eastern Gateway Community College, is now enrolling students for Summer and Fall for the following online Associate Degree and Certificate programs.

HealthcareThese programs will get you started in the dynamic, growing field!

  • Healthcare Management (Business Management Degree Concentration)
  • Patient Navigator Certificate An excellent program designed to train students for patient-centered work in healthcare.
Business The changing economy means workers need to regularly update their skills. These programs will help you do just that.

  • Business Management Degree with additional Concentrations in
    • Human Resources
    • Health Care Management
    • Marketing
    • Finance
  • EGCC is also offering a Business Management Certificate
    • Option for accounting concentration
  • Accounting
Paralegal The Paralegal Program is designed to prepare students for employment in a law environment in both public and private sectors.

Associate of Individualized Study Degree A flexible program designed for students who have substantial previous college credit.

Criminal Justice DegreeMany of our members can receive college credit for their Corrections or Peace Officer Training certifications.

Associate of Arts Degree A great way to get started on your college degree.

Early Childhood Education Degree Many courses will count toward state education standards points and help providers earn more pay.

Visit www.FreeCollege.AFSCME.org or call 888-590-9009 now to enroll. Summer classes begin May 30 and Fall classes begin August 21. All full-dues paying AFSCME members and their families* are eligible. Take just one class or go full-time. And you'll never have to pay for tuition, fees or e-books. Get started today!

(* Family is defined as children and grandchildren, step children and step grandchildren, spouses, domestic partners and financial dependents.)



03/30/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
The failure of the House to pass the American Health Care Act last week was an important win for working families. This, and our collective defeat of Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, represent significant setbacks to Trump's harmful agenda. Both happened because thousands of people, including AFSCME members, attended town halls, made calls, and stood up and made their voices heard.

While the fight against this administration's extreme agenda is nowhere close to over, we now have some powerful momentum and a real opportunity to stop another attack on working people by stopping Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Here's how you can help:

  • Please call your U.S. Senators to demand they oppose Gorsuch. AFSCME has set up a toll free number to make the calls, (1-877-582-2913), or you can click here to call.
  • Sign the petition urging the Senate to oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination here .
  • Share this widely with your members!


03/28/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93

A pair of impressive arbitration wins against the City of Manchester, NH has led to the promotion of two AFSCME Council 93 members and a combined total of 33 months in back wages.

Thanks to the hard work and high quality representation of their union, Local 298 members Walter Madej and William Cote have both been promoted to supervisory positions in the city. Madej will take on the job of highway supervisor in the department of public works while Cote will serve as a shift supervisor at the wastewater treatment plant.

The decisions, handed down last month by arbitrator James S. Cooper, reaffirm the strength of seniority language in collective bargaining agreements and send a strong message to management officials who may try to bypass the seniority process.

The cases started in the summer of 2015 when the vacant positions were first posted. Cote and Madej were among a number of applicants for the positions and both possessed the skills and experience needed to perform the job. But the pair also had something else that no other candidate could claim – seniority. Despite the fact that both Cote and Madej had skills and experience equal to or better than the other applicants and despite clear seniority language in the contract, the city opted to give the promotions to two other candidates. Grievances were subsequently filed by AFSCME and after more than a year, both matters were placed before independent arbitrator James S. Cooper for a binding decision in accordance with the contract.

After hearing the arguments and viewing evidence presented by both sides at hearings in January, Cooper ruled in favor of the union and ordered the immediate promotion of Cote and Madej. He also directed the city to make both workers "whole for loss of pay and benefits retroactive to the date of the grievance." Madej will receive 15 months of the difference between his current pay and the promotional level pay. Cote will be compensated for 18 months of the difference in pay.

In his written decision Cooper sharply criticized management for their actions calling the system used to deny Madej the promotion "a façade of objectivity designed to provide the department a basis for promoting the department's favored candidate." But Cooper's strongest language came at the end of the Madej decision which read, "perhaps someday, (the other candidate) will enjoy the application of this standard when he has seniority and ability to perform the job and some hot shot new employee tries to edge him out of a promotion. Seniority means something and in this case, it means Walter Madej should have been promoted."

The arbitrator's decision translates into a well-deserved pay day for Madej and Cote but the cost doesn't stop there for the Administration of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. Due to language in the contract stipulating the loser in arbitration pays the full cost of the arbitrator's services, the Gatsas Administration is also responsible for nearly $13,000 in arbitration costs.


03/24/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93

Council 93 is pushing for passage of new legislation in Maine that would provide state and county corrections officers with well-deserved worker compensation benefits in the event that the stress of their dangerous jobs results in heart disease or hypertension.

The bill (LD777) was filed at the request of AFSCME by State Representative Ralph Tucker (D-Brunswick). The proposed law would create what is known as a "rebuttable presumption" that any heart disease or hypertension suffered by a corrections officer was caused by the difficult work they do. In other words, the burden would be on the state to prove the illness was caused by other factors. If the state is unable to do so, the officer would be entitled to worker's compensation. In the event an officer dies from the illness, his or her family would also be entitled to a death benefit.

A public hearing on the bill was held March 23, by the legislature's Joint Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development. In testimony submitted in person and in writing to the committee, Council 93 highlighted the experience of Local 2968 member Phil Newth, a 20-year veteran officer at Maine State Prison in Warren. The 45-year-old Newth suffered his first heart attack at age 32. A second heart attack followed in 2015 requiring Newth to undergo open-heart surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Because he did not qualify for worker's compensation, Newth exhausted all accumulated sick and vacation time, including 81 additional hours donated by his fellow officers. The ordeal pushed Newth and his family to the brink of financial disaster. While recovering from his 2015 heart surgery, he was forced to go to court in an attempt to stop foreclosure proceedings on his home. At the time, Council 93 was in the process of working with the legislature to successfully override Governor Paul LePage's veto of AFSCME legislation that provided all corrections officers with a $2.00 per hour wage increase. While Newth did not have the additional money in his paycheck at the time of the court hearing, the promise of it coming was enough to convince the judge to give him more time to save his home. Fortunately, Newth was able to keep his home and continue on the road to recovery. He is now back to work and will be working with the Council to gain support for the new legislation in the coming months.

This isn't the first time Newth has worked with Council 93 on legislative issues. In 2012, during the first attacks on unions by Governor LePage, he agreed to be interviewed for a series of radio commercials sponsored by the Council, which helped stop attacks on pensions and other benefits. Although they aired several years ago, the message is still relevant today. Audio files of the commercials are below.

Radio Commercial 1

Radio Commercial 2


03/22/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93

Imagine what you can achieve with the AFSCME Free College Benefit.

There are always points in your career — and your life — in which you want to move forward. You want to improve; you want to feel inspired and reach new goals. Perhaps you want to qualify for a promotion, finish your degree, or enrich your life through learning. Whatever your motivation, a quality education can be the catalyst to get you where you want to go.

It's AFSCME's mission to give you every advantage to get ahead. That's why we've partnered with Eastern Gateway Community College. Through the AFSCME Free College benefit, you and your family members can now earn an associate degree completely online–for FREE.

Eastern Gateway is an accredited community college, a member of the University System of Ohio, and is one of the fastest-growing public colleges in the country. It's an open access public college governed by the Ohio Board of Regents and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Click here to find out more today!


03/11/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
AFSCME Council 93 is accepting registrations for our next Financial Standards Code/Treasurers Training to be held on Saturday, June 3rd from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua, NH. This training provides an excellent introduction to, and overview of, the important financial responsibilities of local union officers.

Local Union Presidents, Treasurers, Trustees and Executive Board members are welcome to attend and newly elected officers are urged to attend.

The $40.00 per person registration fee includes a lunch buffet.

Click here for more details including a registration form and information on overnight accommodations for those who may wish to stay on Friday evening.


03/10/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
Every day AFSCME home health care members provide vital services to clients in their homes. These homes are workplaces with unique challenges. This webinar will concentrate on two topic areas: chemical hazards and infectious disease prevention and control. Join us for this 45-minute webinar where you will: -- Discover the most common chemical hazards in the home and in home health care -- Understand how these chemicals can get into the body and potential health effects -- Learn how diseases spread and how to best protect yourself and your clients -- Be ready to develop action plans to make each home safer for both the provider and the client. Click here to register online.




01/23/2017
 
Posted By: Council 93
Last week the GIC Board of Commissioners voted once again to increase out-of-pocket costs for state and higher education employees by granting provisional approval to a series of increases, effective July 1, 2017. Our labor representatives on the board voiced strong opposition to these increases but due to an imbalance of management and worker representation on the GIC board, we were unsuccessful.

To prevent similar votes in the future and to try to offset increases in out-of-pocket costs, we are working in coalition with other public-sector unions on a series of legislative initiatives that would:

  • Increase our representation on the GIC board of commissioners to give us a stronger voice against management.
  • Provide premium relief by switching all workers to an 80%/20% premium cost split.
  • Allow our members to keep more of their hard-earned money by placing an annual cap on out-of-pocket costs related to healthcare.
We have already secured lead sponsors for these initiatives, which are divided into separate bills. We now need the help of our members as we work to build support for this legislation. Please take a few minutes right now to call your state representative and state senator and ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor to the following six bills:
Senate Docket Number 1220 - filed by Senator Ken Donnelly
House Docket Number 2935 - filed by Representative Dan Cullinane
These bills would provide us with additional representation on the Group Insurance Commission board, thereby reducing the chance of future increases to out-of-pocket costs.

Senate Docket Number 1228 - filed by Senator Ken Donnelly
House Docket Number 2848 – filed by Representative Paul Mark
These bills would equalize all state and higher education employees at an 80%/20% premium split

Senate Docket Number 668 – Filed by Senator James Timilty
House Docket Number 2867 – Filed by Representative Paul Mark
These bills would cap annual out-of-pocket expenses for workers on both individual and family plans.

You can identify your State Representative and State Senator and find their contact information by entering your address at this link.
You can also email Jim Durkin for help or call Jim anytime at 617-367-6012.

When you call your legislators, simply share how steady increases in health insurance costs have hurt you and your family. YOUR CALLS WILL MAKE A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE and are much more effective than sending an email. If you have any doubt, read this NY Times article on the impact calls to legislative offices make and how they motivate elected officials. PLEASE MAKE THE CALLS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE as the deadline to co-sponsor bills is rapidly approaching.


12/07/2016
 
Posted By: Council 93

SJC decision means New Bedford must pay back wages for furloughs

By Aimee Chivaroli
New Bedford Standard Times
12/7/16

NEW BEDFORD - A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision means the city will have to pay back employee wages from a 2009 furlough of City Hall workers.

In the wake of the 2008 economic collapse, former Mayor Scott Lang issued a 2009 executive order to close city offices at noon on Fridays, requiring City Hall workers to take unpaid furloughs. Due to the reduced hours, employees earned less money, according to a statement from the City Solicitor's office.

The union representing the city workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 93, challenged Lang's order. And in November 2011, the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board found the reduced work hours constituted an unfair labor practice.

"The SJC's decision exhausts the city's options for judicial appeal," stated the press release from spokeswoman Elizabeth Treadup Pio.

The city is now required to pay back municipal employees for wages lost because of the CERB decision, according to the city statement. The chief financial officer is "evaluating a number of potential funding sources" according to the release.

The amount the city owes is being determined and CFO Ari Sky said he could not give a ballpark estimate of how much the city might owe. He said he wanted to provide accurate information and that would take a few days to calculate.

Sky said an interest rate of .18 percent accrued on the back wages, which is equal to roughly $3,000 a year. He also identified two possible funding sources.
He said there is about $7.8 million in the stabilization or "rainy day" fund. Additionally, he said the state recently notified the city of $2.7 million available in "free cash," or a revenue source from unrestricted funds from operations in the previous fiscal year, that could be used if necessary. However, Sky said it has not yet been determined how the free cash funds will be used.

The CFO also said there are over 300 AFSCME members and the city needs to work with the union to figure out which members worked for the city at the time and had to take the furlough.
More Video: New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell talks about under construction Cove Walk where in long term city hopes to build park for the Cove neighborhood.

Former Mayor Lang said he does not regret the furlough and was glad he was able to save some jobs.
"I don't regret doing the furlough because it saved at the time...;between 66 and 89 AFSCME jobs," Lang said. "No one was looking forward to another massive layoff in the city of New Bedford."

Lang said he had laid off between 180 and 190 people in Feb. 2009 due to cuts in state aid which included AFSCME workers and police and fire personnel. "We had about six months in the year in which we had to make dramatic cuts," he said.

"I was looking for a way to save jobs," Lang said. "We were literally threadbare at that point with police and fire."

The former mayor said he wanted to keep a strong city workforce and not subcontract out for jobs. He also said he didn't want to raise taxes for people in the city. The furloughs ended in late June 2011.
Mayor Jon Mitchell in a written statement said that Lang's decisions left him in a difficult position.

"The City's 2009 decision to furlough city employees left my administration in a difficult legal position in fending off the union's challenge," Mitchell said. "I appreciate the diligent efforts of the City's legal team in fighting an uphill battle on behalf of the City's taxpayers."


»4 3 2
1
Page 1 of 24
236 records found.

Categories



 



AFSCME Council 93

AFSCME Council 93 represents more than 45,000 state, county and municipal employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

© AFSCME Council 93. All Rights Reserved

Sign Up for a Newsletter:

Request Info