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News


03/02/2018
 
Posted By: Council 93
Nashua, NH- The two-and-a-half year battle against privatization of Nashua School Custodian Services ended in a clear and decisive victory this week when the city's newly-elected school board voted to end the district's pursuit of outsourcing.

The February 26th vote by the board was a direct result of our union's active involvement in the most recent school board election and marked the end of a comprehensive campaign that included grassroots community organizing, collective bargaining, legal action, media relations, political action and textbook examples of labor solidarity.

"Anyone who doubts the power and importance of union protection should take a long, hard look at what we accomplished in Nashua," said Council 93 Executive Director Frank Moroney. "We employed every resource we have in this campaign. Our field staff, our political action department, our attorneys, our communications team – everyone was on the job. Most importantly, the members of local 365 worked with us and did everything we asked of them. We're thrilled that this difficult ordeal is finally behind them and we look forward to continuing to work with the members of Local 365 for many years to come."

The union's fight began in September of 2015 when the board of education took a secret 8-1 vote in executive session to outsource the work, with former board member Kim Kleiner casting the lone vote in opposition. The vote, held just days after the deadline for candidates to declare their candidacy for the school board, created an uproar in the city and left many believing it was timed to insulate the board members from voter backlash. But at the first public school board meeting after the secret vote, board members soon realized they were not going to be let off the hook. More than 200 custodians, teachers, students, and parents turned out to criticize the board and oppose privatization, starting one of the most remarkable and unified campaigns against outsourcing in the state.

Since the board took the vote to privatize after the deadline for candidates to run for the school board, AFSCME worked with the staunchly pro-custodian Nashua Teachers Union to recruit a slate of write-in candidates. In less than two weeks' time, there was an extensive public education campaign that garnered 19,000 votes for five write-in candidates. Although it did not swing the majority, it was enough to get the attention of privatization proponents on the board and proved the union would be a force in the next election.

Meanwhile, in the weeks and months following the initial vote by the school board, Local 365 members and Council 93 staff kept a regular presence at weekly school board meetings. Working together, they prepared an extensive list of the many duties and responsibilities of the custodians, which helped to shape the school district's Request for Proposal (RFP) bidding process and resulted in significantly higher minimum bids from private vendors. That, combined with media and public relations strategies employed by the union, generated greater awareness of the value the custodians provided to the school communities and a deeper appreciation for their work.

In December of 2015, Council 93 field staff and attorneys worked to file an unfair labor practice with the state's Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB), in protest of the school board's efforts to negotiate a new contract with non-school custodian members of Local 365. Eight months later, in August of 2016, the PERLB found in favor of the union and ordered the board to begin negotiations with the entire bargaining unit. Later that month, the board voted to simultaneously begin negotiations and appeal the PERLB decision to the state Supreme Court. But by then, support for privatization on the board had eroded significantly. In May of 2016, a motion to abandon privatization and open contract negotiations with the custodians failed by just a 5-4 margin, with then board chair Sandra Ziehm publicly stating she could no longer support privatization.

In a complicated September 2017 ruling, the Supreme Court essentially ruled in favor of the employer's ability to privatize but ordered or "remanded" both parties back to the PERLB to determine the applicability of the contract's evergreen clause, which states provisions of an expired contract remain in effect until a successor agreement is negotiated. Since the expired contract included specific language prohibiting privatization, determination of the validity and applicability of the evergreen clause is essential. The matter of the evergreen clause is still pending.

While the long legal process was difficult on the custodians, the skillful work of the Council 93 field staff and legal team prevented any final action on privatization and provided the union time to prepare for the 2017 school board elections. Building on their efforts from the 2015 write-in campaign, Local 365 worked with the Council's Political Action team to thoroughly vet candidates and make formal endorsements. They then moved into an enthusiastic Get-Out-the-Vote campaign. On Election Day, fifty-seven members, more than half of the unit, joined Council 93 staff members at the polls educating the public on the candidates appearing on the ballot. Their efforts played a key role in defeating pro-privatization candidates and electing a pro-worker majority that cast the 6-1 vote this week.


02/22/2018
 
Posted By: Council 93

The GIC Board of Commissioners met this morning and voted to adopt plan rates for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018. Overall, the news is positive for active employees receiving coverage through the GIC. The average increase across all plans is just 0.4 % - well below the market average. However, individual plan cost increases/decreases range from a reduction of 3.9 percent to an increase of 6.9%. Therefore, how individual workers are impacted will depend on what plan they choose during the upcoming open enrollment period. This chart provides information on individual plan premium costs with comparisons to current premiums and the premiums that will be effective July 1, 2018.

We strongly encourage our members to use the upcoming open enrollment period of April 4 to May 2 to thoroughly research their options so they can make an informed decision. We especially encourage attending one of the many healthcare fairs that will be offered around the state, where members can get detailed answers directly from plan providers.

Today's vote comes just three weeks after the GIC voted to reverse its decision to eliminate a number of insurance providers that are currently covering more than half of the people receiving health insurance through the GIC. The intense public and political pressure leveled against the GIC by AFSCME and other public-sector unions was the driving force behind the GIC's vote to reverse their decision and maintain all current providers. No doubt, these efforts also provided the GIC with the motivation needed to do their best to minimize plan cost increases for the upcoming fiscal year. In other words, the strength of our union and the activism of our members has made a big impact. AFSCME Council 93 thanks all of our members who took the time to voice their concerns directly to the GIC and we look forward to continuing to work with our members to make substantive changes at the commission.


02/20/2018
 
Posted By: Council 93

Working People Day of Action Logo20180220134326
America needs union jobs.

On February 26th, thousands of working people across Massachusetts will join a national day of action as we speak out for good, union jobs. The Working People's Day of Action coincides with the Supreme Court hearings on the Janus vs. AFSCME case. That case is part of a well-funded campaign by the wealthy special interests to divide us from our co-workers – and to limit the power in numbers we have together in a union.

Fifty years ago, in February 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joined striking sanitation workers in Tennessee as they fought for the freedom to join together in a union for dignity and respect on the job. Today working people are rising up to defend the very freedoms for which Dr. King fought and died, including the freedom to join a strong union for a better life.

Learn about an event near you and RSVP here....
https://www.facebook.com/events/1847768625513351/

- Amherst: 12:00pm, Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union, Umass Amherst 01003

- Boston: 12:00pm, Boston Firehouse, 125 Purchase St, Boston, MA 02110

- Fall River: 12:00pm, 1567 North Main St, Fall River, MA 02720

- Greenfield: 3:30pm, Main Campus Building, Greenfield Community College, 1 College Dr, Greenfield, MA 01301

-Lawrence: 12:00pm, 280 Merrimack Street, Lawrence, MA 01843

- Somerville: 12pm, City Hall, 93 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

- New Bedford: 5:00pm, City Hall, 133 William St, New Bedford, MA 02740

-Springfield: 5pm, 95 Liberty St, Springfield, MA 01103

- Worcester: 5:00pm, Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St, Worcester, MA 01608




02/12/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy
Statement by AFSCME Council 93 Executive Director Frank Moroney on Governor LePage's closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility

"Early this morning, under the cover of darkness, Governor LePage moved forward with his reckless plan to close the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport. Approximately 65 inmates were moved to the overcrowded and understaffed Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and 31 experienced and dedicated AFSCME Corrections Officers received layoff notices effective March 2.

Due to the inability of the Charleston facility to accommodate this sudden influx of inmates, we are deeply concerned for the safety of our corrections officers and all of the dedicated staff in Charleston.

Unfortunately, Governor LePage has chosen to risk the possibility of a prison riot by placing his longstanding goal of closing this facility ahead of the safety of his workers.

On multiple occasions, the state legislature has acted in a bipartisan manner to expressly forbid the governor from closing this facility. Most recently, the legislature's Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted unanimously this month to keep the facility open.

According to an April 27, 2017 advisory opinion from the State Attorney General's Office, 'the Downeast Correctional Facility is established by statute' and 'the Governor cannot unilaterally amend statutes without violating the separation of powers provisions in article III of the Maine Constitution.'

Apparently, Governor LePage views himself as a leader who is above the law and above the state constitution. We are calling on Governor LePage to halt this dangerous plan and we are calling on the Attorney General to intervene immediately."

Frank Moroney, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 93



02/08/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy
This week the GIC to approve plan benefit designs for all health plans for the 2019 Fiscal Year starting on July 1, 2018. The changes in benefit designs were based on the feedback received from AFSCME members and thousands of other public-sector union members across the state.

Highlights of the updated benefits approved by the GIC include:

  • Reducing deductibles across regional and limited network plans (Unicare Community Choice, Health New England HMO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Primary Choice, Tufts Spirit and Fallon Direct) where possible
  • Reducing some medical co-payments for specialists across all plans
  • Reducing costs to access Telehealth services to $15 across all broad and limited network plans
  • Removing the need for patients to obtain pre-authorization for accessing hospice care benefits

These changes will provide similar or more member-friendly benefit enhancements while also working towards our union's long-standing goals of maintaining access to our members' current doctors and hospitals, controlling costs, and stopping continued cost-shifting to our members.

Yesterday's vote marked another day of steady progress towards these goals.

Last week, in the face of packed public forums, numerous calls, and emails from concerned public employees and their family members, the GIC voted 12 - 2 to reverse an earlier vote that would have terminated three health insurance carriers covering over 200,000 members. The February 1st vote by the GIC board ensured that all current providers will continue to provide coverage in the next fiscal year.

The reversal was a victory for working people and we believe the attention it generated improves our position as we fight for long-term reforms at the GIC including increasing the amount of labor representatives on the commission.

The next critical vote by the GIC will take place on February 22nd when the commission will vote on actual health plan rates and premiums for the coming year. AFSCME Council 93, along with other public-sector unions, are aggressively pushing the GIC to push for the best possible rates for our members.

Once plans and rates have been finalized, the GIC will move to the Annual Open Enrollment period, which provides members with an opportunity to review all plans available and choose their plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The GIC will hold a number of Health Fairs across Massachusetts to answer members' questions and provide guidance to help members choose the best plan for themselves and their families. CLICK HERE for a list of information sessions to be held across the state during the open enrollment period of Wednesday, April 4 to Wednesday, May 2.





02/05/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy
Alliance Unit 2 AFSCME Council 93 and SEIU Local 888
Tentative Agreement

Negotiations for a new contract (or "CBA") resulted in a tentative agreement between the Parties on January 29, 2018. Appearing below is a summary of the proposed amendments of and additions to the current contract that will go into effect as provided in this tentative agreement, if ratified by the membership. The period covered by this proposed tentative agreement is from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020. Any terms of the current CBA not changed by this tentative CBA remain in full force and effect. Also found below is an internet link, which will lead you to a full and final copy of Memorandum of Agreement. Hard copies of the MOA will also be at the polling sites on the date of the ratification vote, which is scheduled for February 13, 2018.

THE ALLIANCE BARGAINING COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY
SUPPORTS THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONTRACT!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT INCLUDE:

WAGES
  • The salary increases in this tentative agreement provide for wages increases over the course of the CBA total 5%, with the potential of 6% if the state meets tax revenue benchmarks in FY '18
  • Salary Increase Schedule
Effective the first full pay period of July 2017 1% Increase in Salary Rate
Effective the first full pay period of July 2018 1% Increase in Salary Rate
Effective the first full pay period of January 2019 1% Increase in Salary Rate
Effective the first full pay period of July 2019 1% Increase in Salary Rate
Effective the first full pay period of January 2020 1% Increase in Salary Rate
*If FY 2018 tax revenues reach certain benchmarks, then effective the first full pay period of July 2017 there will be an additional 1% Increase in Salary Rate
  • All economic terms of the CBA, not just COLAs, are subject to Wage Reopener if any bargaining unit receives greater wage or other economic terms greater than those contained in our agreement

OVERTIME
  • No employee may be mandated to work more than sixteen (16) consecutive hours
  • Prior to implementation of forced overtime all voluntary avenues must be exhausted, including splitting of overtime between two (2) or more employees
EMERGENCY PERSONNEL
  • After 40+ years of fighting for recognition in the form of some type of benefit for being designated as emergency personnel, effective January 1, 2018 all employees that have been designated as "Emergency Personnel" will be credited with one (1) day of compensatory time every January to be taken within the calendar year, whether or not a state of emergency is declared
PERSONAL LEAVE AND HOLIDAYS
  • Any personal leave requested with at least fourteen (14) days' notice cannot be denied
  • Members will also now have the ability to take pre-approved personal leave in less than full day increments
  • Bereavement leave may be extended through the use of any accrued vacation, personal or compensatory time
  • Increased ability to access holiday time or be compensated for the holiday in the same period that the holiday falls within
WORKING CONDITIONS
  • LPN area differentials will remain in effect during the life of the CBA
  • The Tentative Agreement secures stronger protections for Unit 2 employees in the event of transfers or reassignments
  • Written notification regarding temporary reassignments to a higher position including salary grade and position
  • The use of Training and Career Ladder Development Funds to defray the costs of licenses and certifications through reimbursement process
  • Reimbursement of legal expenses increased from $1,500.00 to $2,500.00
  • One probationary period of nine (9) months for new hires; no more ninety (90) day extension
  • Written warnings removed from a member's personnel file after two and a half (2½) years
  • Expansion of MAP bonus and comp days for all DSW's, MHW's and Vocational Instructors that are required to maintain certification.
*This is just a summary of the proposed changes to our contract. For a full copy of the MoA, please contact your local representative or visit the following link http://bit.ly/2GErjdJ. Hard copies will also be available at the polling locations on the day of the ratification vote.

ALLIANCE UNIT 2
Contract Ratification Voting Sites
Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., unless otherwise indicated

AFSCME Council 93
9th Floor Conference Room
8 Beacon St, Boston

AFSCME Council 93
Western MA Office
21 Wilbraham St, Bldg 51 Palmer

Berkshire Community College

Room G9
West St, Pittsfield

Chelsea Soldiers Home
Chelsea auditorium
91 Crest Ave, Chelsea

Corrigan Mental Health Center
Steven's Conference Room
49 Hillside Street, Fall River
(Please note 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Holyoke Soldiers Home
Conference Room B
110 Cherry St, Holyoke

Pappas Rehab Hospital
(Formerly Mass Hospital School)
Fish Bowl
3 Randolph St, Canton

Massachusetts State Police
General Headquarters
470 Worcester Road, Framingham

Hogan-Berry Regional Center
Auditorium Area
450 Maple St, Danvers

Pocasset Mental Health Center
Conference Room
830 Country Road, Pocasset
(Please note 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Shattuck Hospital
Lobby Area
170 Morton St, Jamaica Plain

Taunton State Hospital

Bove Auditorium, Chambers Building
60 Hodges Ave. Ext, Taunton

Templeton Developmental
TCS Day Program Building Conference Room
212 Freight Shed Road, Baldwinville

Tewksbury Hospital
C-1 Conference Room
365 East St, Tewksbury

Western MA Hospital
South 1 Conference Room
Westfield, MA

Worcester Recovery Center & Hospital (WRCH)
Lobby Area
Hospital Drive, Worcester

Wrentham Developmental
Wrentham Auditorium
Emerald St (Off Route 1A)

CURRENT AGENCY FEES
A ratification vote for State Employees in Unit 2 on the proposed three-year agreement between the Alliance and the Commonwealth will be held on February 13, 2018 at the sites and during the times listed in this document.

All employees in the bargaining unit covered by the proposed revised agreement are eligible to vote, and may vote at a designated site, regardless of union membership. An up to date payroll list will be at the voting sites. This voting list will include the names of the employees in the bargaining unit.

In the event that an employee's name is not on the eligible list, the employee may vote a challenged ballot. Challenged ballots will be sealed in envelopes and counted upon certification of the eligibility of each voter.

The ratification procedure is in accordance with state law and required timetables.

The proposed collective bargaining agreement, if ratified, will require payment of a service fee as a condition of employment for bargaining unit members who are not AFSCME or SEIU members as set forth in Section 2 of Ch. 150E. The agency fee provisions will remain in effect during the term of the agreement and during an additional period during which the agreement remains in full force and effect, pursuant to the duration clause of the contract. Dues-paying members do not pay the agency fee. The agency fee only applies to non-members and insures that all employees receiving the wages and benefits under the contract pay their fair share. The current amount of the agency fee for the respective local union organizations appears below. The rights of an agency fee payer are set forth in the rules and regulations of the Labor Relations Commission.

The Alliance, AFSCME/SEIU, AFL-CIO, is composed of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, and its affiliate Council 93 and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), CTW and its affiliate Local 888.

Copies of the proposed agreement and the bargaining agent's most recent financial reports in the form of a balance sheet and operating statements listing all receipts and disbursements of the previous financial year are available for inspection at the following locations: For the Alliance, AFSCME Council 93 headquarters, 8 Beacon St., Boston, MA; for AFSCME Council 93, 8 Beacon St., Boston, MA and for SEIU Local 888, 25 Braintree Hill Park, Suite #306, Braintree, MA 02184.

AFSCME Council 93

Full Time
Agency Fee Rate
$11.19

Part Time Agency Fee Rate
$8.36




02/01/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy
Decisions made at the New Hampshire State House have a direct impact on our local communities and increase local property taxes.

On either February 7th or 8th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will have another chance to reinstate some level of funding to local communities for the New Hampshire Retirement System obligations. Despite the State's promise to pay 35% of the retirement obligation, the amount the state pays is now ZERO.

HB 413 would provide much needed tax relief in each and every city, town, and school district across the Granite State. Legislators know this is the right thing to do since on February 15, 2017 the House passed this with an overwhelming 265-83 vote. When the bill came back from the House Finance Committee in early January the bill was defeated in the House by a mere 6 votes.

Please reach out now to your legislator(s) and ask them to support the passage of HB 413.

Send your State Representative a letter HERE!




01/30/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy

On February 1, 1968, Memphis sanitation workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker huddled in the back of their truck to seek shelter from a storm. Suddenly, the truck's compactor malfunctioned, trapping Cole and Walker and crushing them to death.

The tragedy triggered the strike of the city's 1,300 sanitation workers. They had warned the city about dangerous equipment but were ignored. They were fed up with poverty wages and racial discrimination. They walked off the job and marched under the banner: I AM A MAN.

On February 1, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the accident that killed Cole and Walker, we will observe a moment of silence to honor their memory and sacrifice, as we pick up the mantle from the 1968 strikers in the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice.

For more information about the I AM 2018 campaign and the Moment of Silence, visit www.iam2018.org.



01/29/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy
With no input from working families affected by the decision, the Baker-controlled Group Insurance Commission voted to take away Massachusetts health insurance carriers available to thousands of active and retired public-sector employees and push them toward an Indiana-based company. Next, the GIC will be making decisions that will affect how and where you receive health care and how much it costs. We must act now!

GIC Speak Out Rally @ BTU Hall
When:Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Where:Boston Teachers Union Hall 180 Mount Vernon St., Dorchester

Event goals:

  • To have Governor Baker's GIC rescind its decision to eliminate insurance plans offered to active and retired public employees.
  • To have Governor Baker's GIC freeze out-of-pocket costs and prevent any changes to access to hospitals, doctors or benefits.
  • To gain legislative support for the public employee-backed bill that increases labor's representation on the GIC, improving transparency in the decision-making process.
Senate Oversight Hearing on the GIC
When:Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Where:Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

The Senate Ways & Means Committee is moving forward with their GIC Oversight Hearing on Wednesday, January 31 at 11:00 AM at the State House in Gardner Auditorium.

We hope to fill Gardner Auditorium with members, and encourage them to visit their State Representative and Senator to advocate for our GIC reform bills. We will have talking points and leave-behind materials available for members at the State House.

GIC Meeting
When: Thursday, February 1, 2018, 8:30am
Where:GIC Offices, 19 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114

As a result of candid feedback from members and stakeholders, the agenda of the next GIC Commission meeting on Thursday, February 1 will include a motion for reconsideration of the recent vote to narrow carriers. The meeting room is small but you can also submit online feedback at mass.gov/forms/contact-the-gic


01/25/2018
 
Posted By: Council 93
The Group Insurance Commission will meet next week and vote to reconsider the decision to eliminate healthcare providers.

The following is a statement by Council 93 Executive Director Frank Moroney on the good news:

"This is a major victory for AFSCME and the entire labor movement in Massachusetts. Earlier this week, we were asked to meet with Governor Baker's Secretary of Administration Finance Michael Heffernan and officials from the GIC. We urged Secretary Heffernan to support a reconsideration of last week's vote and provide us and the administration with ample time to work together on a plan that would achieve our mutual goal of providing quality, affordable healthcare options to our members. We left that meeting believing our request would be given every consideration.Today's news confirmed that belief. We thank Secretary Heffernan for listening to our concerns and for his commitment to working with us going forward. We also want to thank Attorney General Maura Healey for her support and for taking quick and decisive action over the past week. Most importantly, we thank our members for working with us to voice their concerns and generate the pressure we needed to achieve this victory."



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

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