March 20, 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Donovan for SEIU Local 509
Cell: 617 678-9197 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.