March 2012

Increase in Mileage Reimbursement Needed

On March 8, SEIU Local 509 sent a letter to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance asking for an adjustment in the amount of mileage reimbursement that our members receive.

Click here to view a copy of the letter.

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ASI Workers Vote 6-to-1 to Join SEIU Local 509

Congratulations to the caregivers at Alternatives Supports Inc (ASI) who voted 80-13, a margin of more than 6-to-1, to join SEIU Local 509.

Welcome to Local 509, we look forward to joining with you in the fight for respect and dignity for human service workers!

Read our press release on the election win

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Caregivers at Waltham/Tyngsboro Human Service Agency Overwhelmingly Vote to Join SEIU Local 509

Contact: Aaron Donovan for SEIU Local 509
Cell: 617 678-9197

WATERTOWN – Today over 100 human service workers at Alternative Supports Inc. (ASI) voted to organize a union with SEIU Local 509 by a more than six-to-one margin. Caregivers at ASI provide support to persons with developmental disabilities at group-homes and day programs around Waltham and Lowell.

By voting to join SEIU Local 509, ASI’s employees have continued a growing trend of unionization in human service work. Since 2010, over 1500 human service workers have voted to join SEIU Local 509, with over 750 area human service workers at Bridgewell joining last May.


Caregivers at ASI began organizing over the winter to address concerns about the quality of care provided by the company and the lack of respect from management. Their union election was conducted by mail ballot over a two-week period, and results were tallied today at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) offices in Boston.

“Now that the votes have been counted and the election is over, we have made our choice clear. We now have a voice and management has to respect and listen to us,” said George Ajwala, an ASI caregiver from Dracut, after the results were announced.

“As SEIU Local 509 members talk to caregivers around the state, the response has been overwhelmingly clear: they want the respect on the job that comes with forming a union. The only thing standing in their way is the power that employers have to intimidate workers,” said Susan Tousignant, a rehabilitation counselor and President of SEIU Local 509.

“The caregivers at ASI do vital work looking after some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, and we are excited to welcome them into Local 509 where they will join thousands of others fighting for better working conditions in Massachusetts.”

Representing over 13,000 public and private sector human service workers across Massachusetts, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 is one of the fastest growing unions in the state.

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Local 509 Partners with Brockton Interfaith Community

As many Local 509 members and citizens of Brockton already know, last summer Local 509 teamed with the Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC).  BIC was created by area clergy in 1990 to work to improve the social and economic conditions in Brockton.  BIC has many active committees that work to make Brockton a better community.

I am a member of BIC’s Foreclosure Action Committee (FAC).  City Life and Coalition for Social Justice have also joined us at the table. The FAC is working on ways in which to assist residents of Brockton who are facing foreclosure.  Specifically the FAC is working on ways in which to hold the big banks accountable for their actions.  To date, the FAC has picketed Bank of America, canvassed the City neighborhoods in an effort to reach out to homeowners in danger of foreclosure, and invited those homeowners to informational meetings that serve to educate and empower them to fight back.

The next planned event is scheduled for Monday, March 19, 2012, BIC, City Life and Coalition for Social Justice will be attending a City Council meeting in an effort to get the City to divest city funds from Bank of America and put the funds in regional community banks.

If you are interested in participating on any BIC committee or in participating in this upcoming action, please contact Field Representative, Ellaina McDowell by phone at 617 924-8509 or by email at

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DCF Technology Committee – iFamily Net Feedback

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Your feedback regarding which factors make the recent rollout of iFamily Net 2.0 a benefit to the work you do on a daily basis is helpful to the technology committee, just as it is for us to know which factors have not been as successful.  The Union’s Technology Committee will take all feedback from the field directly to the Director of Information Technology in the Commissioner’s office. For example, members are reporting that the font size and the screen clarity in iFamily Net are poor and have resulted in headaches and eyestrain.

It is the intention of the technology committee to share the information provided by members with management in order that we might be able to correct technology issues that are brought to our attention.

So, we want your help.  Please use this form to voice your concerns and comments regarding iFamily Net (and any other technology issues). The results will be forwarded to the Technology Committee (me, Jennifer Kitcheham, Gloria Sontz, Laflynn Wilson, Deidre Jones, Robert Baird, Carolyn Almeida, and Gloria Kelliher) and your Regional Vice Presidents so that we can address your concerns.

Technology Committee Feedback Form

In Unity,
Julie Cardoza-Pietruszka and the DCF Chapter Technology Committee

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