For Immediate Release
Friday April 20, 2018
SCHOOLS SHOULD BE GUN-FREE
Virginia Tech University, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are the sites of the three deadliest mass shootings in U.S. educational institutions since 2000. Even one student, teacher, administrator, or staff member dead by gun violence on school grounds is too many, but already hundreds have died and scores have been injured. Enough is enough.
As teachers, and teachers of teachers, we, the elected Higher Education Chapter Executive Board representatives of Local 509 of the Service Employees International Union, join the AAUP, AFT, AAC&U, the students of #MarchForOurLives, and many other individuals and groups, in affirming that in these United States guns have no place in classrooms or on college and university campuses. We reject the idea that teachers carrying guns will increase anyone’s safety. Our position is both a workplace issue and a human rights issue.
As a workplace issue, it has three key interrelated dimensions: our ability to fulfill our responsibility to facilitate our students’ learning; our commitment to the unfettered, critical discussion of ideas, a principle of both academic freedom and democracy; and our working conditions. The presence of guns in schools would damage academic exchange, with students and faculty alike fearful of violent reactions to conversations about ideas. Additionally, it would create unsafe working conditions and make unreasonable demands on workers to fulfill duties contrary to our educational mission.
As a human rights issue, sensible gun policies permit students to exercise their right to an education, which has been pursued as policy in the United States since the establishment of our first public schools and is protected under Article 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, we are mindful that, given the deeply entrenched racism of our society, guns in schools will present heightened risk to teachers, students, administrators, and staff of color.
For these reasons, we also endorse the 2015 Statement Opposing ‘Campus Carry’ Laws put forth by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). We stand behind the Statement, which notes in part: “Colleges and universities closely control firearms and prohibit concealed guns on their campuses because they regard the presence of weapons as incompatible with their educational missions. College campuses are marketplaces of ideas, and a rigorous academic exchange of ideas may be chilled by the presence of weapons.”
As a nation we must protect our educational system from pre-school to university, a system that shapes us and should serve to unite our citizens. We categorically reject the idea of adding guns to our schools and campuses. Sensible gun laws and their careful implementation are overdue.
SEIU 509 Higher Education Coordinator
Featured in the Boston Globe, Department of Revenue members want their computer systems fixed to serve families in need. Read more from the Boston Globe:
“[Department of Revenue Chapter President] Foley said the problems with the system have not been fixed, leaving front-line employees in the dark about what steps are being taken to remedy the breakdown.
This year’s glitches, Foley said, are affecting low-income parents, primarily mothers, who have had their child support payments pocketed by the state when they go on welfare, in accordance with state policy. They are eligible to resume collecting child support when they leave the welfare rolls.
But the parents have been not been getting the child support checks they are owed because the computer systems at the Department of Revenue and the Department of Transitional Assistance, which oversees welfare, are not communicating properly, union officials said.
Peter MacKinnon, president of Service Employees International Union Local 509, said he has received e-mails from 100 revenue department workers “overwhelmed with people coming to the offices” to complain about not getting child support after they get off welfare.
“Our concern is . . . that people aren’t getting their money,” MacKinnon said. “At the end of the day, we can bemoan a lousy computer system that needs to be fixed, but this is about families needing income to be able to take care of their kids, and we have a system where people aren’t getting what is owed to them, and that’s not OK.” – Boston Globe
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.