Telephone Town Hall
Thursday, February 22nd at 6:30 PM
Over the past year, members stood in solidarity with the union bargaining committee and took action at work sites. As a result, SEIU 509 state workers won a new contract that offers more pay, more job security and better working conditions.
Some highlights include:
SEIU 509 will continue to watch and speak out to ensure that the GIC doesn’t try to take these benefits away again.
BOSTON – SEIU Local 509 President Peter MacKinnon today issued the following statement on the GIC’s announcement that they will abandon plans to take away health care plans from 200,000 people:
“We’re relieved that the GIC is preparing to undo their incredibly misguided decision, and we thank Governor Baker for stepping in to fix this disaster. We also thank Attorney General Healey, Speaker DeLeo, and Senate President Chandler for their leadership in opposing a move that was throwing tens of thousands of Massachusetts families into crisis.
“The GIC’s move would have forced working people and their families to find new doctors and other medical providers, go to the back of waiting lists for their children’s treatment, and spend valuable time trying to preserve the quality of their healthcare. In the last week, hundreds of SEIU Local 509 members called the Governor, spoke to their legislators, and attended the GIC’s hearings to protest this decision. We’re glad their voices were heard.”
Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies
SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout Massachusetts. We provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational services in both public and private sector settings. From mental health clinicians and social workers to early childhood educators and university lecturers, Local 509 members are united in our mission to raise living standards for working families while improving the quality and affordability of the services we provide. SEIU Local 509 is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. Focused on uniting workers in four sectors –- public services, long term care, property services, and hospital systems — SEIU is the nation’s largest health care union, the largest property services union, and the second-largest public employee union.
In response to the Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) vote to drastically reduce the number of health insurance choices for state workers, Peter MacKinnon, President of SEIU Local 509 released the following statement:
“Working people throughout Massachusetts are grappling with the rising cost of medical coverage, including state workers who go to work everyday to serve the people of the Commonwealth. Yet time and again, the Group Insurance Commission has voted to make workers bear the brunt of out of control health care costs, instead of tackling the crisis with providers.
“State employees have earned the basic freedom to choose the doctors and networks that are best for their families, yet today, the GIC voted to drastically cut the number of plans available to them. Though we will take the coming days and weeks to closely review the changes, it is evident that the GIC has taken a bad situation and made it far worse with this anti-consumer vote. The union’s top priority is to help fight back against these drastic changes to our members’ healthcare and help keep the continuity of care that they and their families deserve.
“When you work on the front lines serving the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable, the work is extraordinarily difficult and the choices are never easy. The Group Insurance Commission routinely takes the easy way out by scapegoating workers for rising health care costs, instead of meaningfully addressing it with the providers who are spiralling costs out of control.”
In response to the report released today by State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Peter MacKinnon, social worker and President of SEIU Local 509, released the following statement:
“Frontline workers at the Department of Children and Families come to work every day to protect the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children. In recent years, these workers, through their union, have pushed for — and secured — many necessary reforms to ensure that the agency does everything in its power to fulfill its sacred mission.
“We agree with Auditor Bump that DCF must be constantly and rigorously evaluated to ensure the safety of the children in its care, and the safety of the workers that provide that care. However, it is concerning that this report did not take into account the experience and viewpoint of child protective workers, including those involved in cases or examples discussed in the report.
“As the union for DCF social workers, we will continue to work with the agency to implement necessary reforms and extend the important progress that has been made to improve DCF, including in the years after the timeframe of this report. Frontline social workers have the first-hand knowledge critical to capturing a complete picture of the agency, and we remain willing, as always, to participate in future reports or audits.”