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SEIU 509 Higher Education Chapter: Schools Should Be Gun-Free

For Immediate Release

Friday April 20, 2018


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.

Norah Dooley

Nina Kammerer

Drew Flanagan

Steve Benson

Eleanor Roffman

Celia Morris

Peter Lert

Melissa Wolter-Gustafson

Laurie LaPorte

Sarah Slavick

Elizabeth Lemons

John Maslanka



Matt Dauphin

SEIU 509 Higher Education Coordinator

(774) 843-7509 x1231


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Department of Revenue members want computer systems fixed

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


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Celebrating Our Union: A National Day of Action

On February 26th, Local 509 members came together for a national day of action to speak out for good union jobs. In over 600 cities in 23 states, working people across America rose up to defend their freedom to join a strong union for a better life. #WeRise

We had an excellent line-up of presenters and speakers at our six rallies in Boston, Lawrence, Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford & Fall River. Here are some highlights:

SEIU Local 509 President Peter MacKinnon at the U.S. Supreme Court

SEIU 509 President Peter MacKinnon spoke out on the steps of the Supreme Court [Watch 9:00 minutes into the Facebook Live Video].  Our Supreme Court legal brief was mentioned in the Boston Globe.

MacKinnon stated that through unions: “[w]e have the power to come together and win for working families. When unions are strong, our communities are strong .”


SEIU Local 509 News Coverage

Our actions were featured in the Boston Globe, Fall River Herald News, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Telemundo Boston, Worcester Magazine & Detroit News.

SEIU Local 509 Event Photos:

Here are some event photos. Check out our Facebook page for more photos:






It is inspiring to see SEIU 509 members join together to support our unions for dignity and respect on the job. We thank our members and partners who made the six rallies possible.


Leoule Goshu



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Important Town Hall Meeting – February 22nd

Telephone Town Hall

Thursday, February 22nd at 6:30 PM

Join us on February 22nd for an important Telephone Town Hall meeting as your elected union leaders will update you about the:
  • Commonwealth’s contract funding
  • GIC health insurance plans
  • February 26th Day of Action

RSVP here to join the conversation, then make sure you spread the word to your co-workers!

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Join us for the February 26th Day of Action

America needs union jobs.

On February 26th, thousands of working people across Massachusetts will join a national day of action as we speak out for good, union jobs. The Working People’s Day of Action coincides with the Supreme Court hearings on the Janus vs. AFSCME case. That case is part of a well-funded campaign by the wealthy special interests to divide us from our co-workers – and to limit the power in numbers we have together in a union.

Fifty years ago, in February 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joined striking sanitation workers in Tennessee as they fought for the freedom to join together in a union for dignity and respect on the job. Today working people are rising up to defend the very freedoms for which Dr. King fought and died, including the freedom to join a strong union for a better life.

Information on all the Massachusetts actions is below and will be updated as new details are formed. Please RSVP here for important updates on actions across the state. #werise

12pm, Boston Firehouse, 125 Purchase St, Boston, MA 02110

12pm, 280 Merrimack Street, Lawrence, MA 01843

Fall River
12pm, 1567 North Main St, Fall River, MA 02720

5 pm, 95 Liberty St, Springfield, MA 01103

5pm, Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St, Worcester, MA 01608

New Bedford
5pm, City Hall, 133 William St, New Bedford, MA 02740

Please join us. Contact 774-843-7509 or communications@seiu509.org if you have any questions.

Please RSVP here.

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Sign Up for the 2018 Stewards Trainings

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With a 93.5% YES vote, SEIU 509 State Workers approve their new contract!

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Congratulations! With a 93.5% YES vote, SEIU 509 state workers just ratified their tentative agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
UNIT 8 93.4% 6.6%
UNIT 10 97.3% 2.7%
Total 93.5% 6.5%

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:

  • Pay increases for three years, including a retroactive wage increase for 2017,
  • Preservation of sick time,
  • Longer vacation periods, and
  • Grievance process improvements.
There are also additional contract language improvements throughout the agreement, including agency-specific language gains for several different chapters.
Thank you members for your hard work and for supporting the bargaining team throughout these negotiations. It was the members and their co-workers who proved that when we stand together as a union, we win!
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SEIU Local 509 Statement on GIC’s Vote to Reinstate Health Plans

BOSTON – SEIU Local 509 President Peter MacKinnon today issued the following statement on the GIC’s 12-2 vote to reinstate state worker’s health insurance plans:
“Together, state workers and their unions successfully fought back against drastic changes to our healthcare and kept the continuity of care that workers and their families deserve. The 8,300 SEIU 509 members impacted by the GIC’s actions are relieved that they won’t need to find new doctors and other medical providers, go to the back of waiting lists for their children’s treatment, or spend valuable time trying to preserve the quality of their healthcare. Through our union, we’ll continue to watch and speak out to ensure that the GIC doesn’t try to take our benefits away again.”
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.
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WIN: GIC votes 12-2 to reinstate state workers’ health insurance plans

SEIU 509 members successfully fought back against drastic changes to Massachusetts state workers’ healthcare and kept the continuity of care that their families deserve.
Because of SEIU 509 members’ phone calls, e-mails and testimonies, the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted 12-2 to reinstate all of the state workers’ health insurance plans.

SEIU 509 will continue to watch and speak out to ensure that the GIC doesn’t try to take these benefits away again.

Thank you SEIU 509 members for your hard work to save our health insurance options!

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State Ratification Voting Locations

SEIU 509 members will vote on our new contract on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1st. Click here for polling locations
Polls will be open from 8:45 am – 5 pm that day at locations throughout the state to accommodate all members. See below for more information, or call 774-843-7509 if you have additional questions.
Important Details:
Also, we will have a telephone town hall this Monday, January 29, at 12:00 noon to answer any questions you have about the contract, voting process, and next steps.
– The Bargaining Committee
PS: Don’t forget to sign up for the townhall meeting by texting “SEIU509” to 828282, or clicking here.
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