We have more progress to report regarding legislative funding for the one-time COVID bonus agreements signed in conjunction with our new contract.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Monday joined President Joe Biden and members of his administration, as well as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, for 

As the debate about Gov. Deval Patrick’s plans to close Taunton State Hospital continues on Beacon Hill, several family members of patients committed there expressed fears about how the shuttering of the institution could affect their loved ones.

While some expressed concerns about how the change of setting to a state hospital in Tewksbury or a newly constructed one in Worcester would affect the stability of the patients, others talked about fears related to proposals to put group homes in the community.

The fate of Taunton State Hospital currently rests in the hands of a joint conference committee that’s meeting to iron out the differences between the House and Senate budget bills.

“We’ve had some sympathetic ears in the Senate,” said state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton.

During its budget debate, the Senate unanimously approved a budget amendment calling for Taunton State Hospital to remain open at an occupancy level of 72 beds until an independent study on the facility is concluded.

Each weekend, Norwood’s Michael Donovan takes a trip to Taunton State Hospital to visit his brother.

There is a certain routine that comes with the visits: Checking in with a receptionist, receiving a visitor’s sticker and being escorted to a visiting room in one of the units before being greeted by his brother, who is retrieved by a staffer at the hospital from a shared area of the ward that visitors are restricted from. Before walking into the visiting area, a staffer behind a glass partition hits a buzzer to open a door.

Taunton State Hospital closure opens debate over mental health care
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette

This March, after Gov. Deval Patrick announced plans to close Taunton State Hospital, 200 union members, mental health advocates, patients and their families, converged on the State House’s Gardner Auditorium to urge a delay.

Just minutes ago, the State Senate voted in favor of an FY13 budget amendment that calls for maintaining 72 state-operated beds at Taunton State Hospital. The amendment, filed by AFSCME’s good friend Senator Marc Pacheco, was co-sponsored by 22 Democratic and Republican Senators and received unanimous support in the final roll call vote, including the support of Senate President Therese Murray who asked the Senate Clerk to record her in favor of the amendment.

Wellesley School Committee votes to drop food service vendor Chartwells

The Wellesley School Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night not to renew its one-year contract with food service provider Chartwells, ending what has been a tumultuous – and short – relationship with the private vendor.

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON -  A member of Senate President Therese Murray’s leadership team predicted Thursday that the Senate would support blocking a Patrick administration move to shutter Taunton State Hospital, a mental health facility that serves the state’s southeast region.

Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), assistant majority leader, told a capitol auditorium packed with union members opposed to the closure that she believes “the Senate as a whole” would demand a comprehensive study before any changes are made the mental health system.