Committees

Members grow the strength, efficacy and diversity of our union through a number of standing committees. To find additional information or to get involved, click the link to your committee of interest below (under construction).

  • Committee on Political Education (COPE)
  • Health & Safety Committee (public sector)
  • Lavender Caucus (LGBTQ members)
  • Organizing Committee
  • Solidarity Committee
  • Stewards Council
  • Veterans Committee
  • Women’s Caucus
  • Workplace Safety (private sector)
  • Young Workers

 

Boston Faculty Welcome Graduate Employees in Movement to Improve Higher Education

Following federal decision to restore graduate workers’ rights, local educators highlight victories on pay, benefits and their voice in campus decisions through FacultyForward/SEIU Local 509

Tufts Lecturers Welcome Grad Employees 82316

Tufts University FacultyForward members gather to send a message of congratulations to their graduate employee colleagues.

BOSTON, MA – Unionized faculty throughout Greater Boston hailed today’s historic Columbia decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – a landmark ruling that asserts the rights and protections of graduate employees nationwide under the National Labor Relations Act. Educators at local private colleges and universities celebrated the prospect of graduate assistant colleagues joining the robust movement to improve teaching and learning conditions in higher education.

“Today marks an important milestone in a greater union movement that is fighting back against the corporatized reality of modern higher education,” stated Max White, an English lecturer and FacultyForward/SEIU member from Northeastern University. “We know first-hand how precarious the graduate employee situation can be, and we welcome all who choose to join us in the fight to steer higher education to invest more in the classroom.”

At Boston University, Writing Program lecturer Marie McDonough expressed enthusiasm for the decision: “We are excited to start off the school year knowing that graduate students who teach and do research in our universities now have a right to a join us in the fight to improve the learning environment for our students.”
Non-tenure-track faculty at Boston-area universities form the backbone of a robust, nationwide campaign to address the crisis in higher education – winning a series of impressive victories that have improved compensation and teaching conditions through unionization. Nearly 4,000 educators have now joined in the shared effort to raise standards and improve the overall quality of higher education through SEIU Local 509’s Faculty Forward initiative. Contingent faculty broke new ground earlier this year with strong first contracts at Bentley, Boston University and Northeastern, following landmark agreements at Tufts and Lesley in 2015. Negotiations are underway among non-tenure-track faculty at Brandeis University. Full-time lecturers and instructors have also entered the fray in recent months, netting landslide union victories at Tufts, BU and Lesley.

“We are thrilled to welcome graduate students into our movement for equitable wages and benefits, as well as course stability and security,” said, Tufts University Senior Lecturer and SEIU 509 member Elizabeth Lemons. “Graduate students with teaching and research assistantships likewise deserve fair treatment and respect for the crucial work that they do with students and as researchers. We look forward to their help building a hospitable academic community—one that values the contributions of all university workers. A respectful community with equitable working conditions is the best environment for student learning.”

The educator-led movement to improve teaching and learning conditions has resonated nationally as well. Just days ago, faculty from around the country convened with other underpaid workers in Richmond, Virginia at the first-ever Fight for $15 convention. Together, the delegation raised calls for better pay and union rights for all workers.

“Any opportunity for fellow instructors to have a say in shaping their working conditions is great news,” said Melissa Wolter-Gustafson, a lecturer from Northeastern’s English Department. “These new voices will strengthen our collective call for universities to begin reinvesting in teaching and in the learning conditions of their students.”

Graduate workers interested in the fight to raise standards in higher education can visit the Faculty Forward website to learn more and get involved.

 

**For interviews with faculty standing in solidarity with graduate employee colleagues, contact Gabriela Camargo Martins at (774) 326-0535 or gcmartins@seiu509.org.**

SEIU Local 509 represents more than 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including nearly 4,000 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.

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509News | Summer 2016

You should have already received your copy of the 509News in the mail, but you can also access and download here. Read more about some of our recent victories, the upcoming 509 Leadership elections and how to obtain new member benefits.

Click here to view the newsletter in full screen.

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Graduate Workers Are Uniting to Change Higher Education

Many colleges and universities rely on the labor of graduate student workers to educate undergraduates, support research projects and further the work of tenured and tenure-track faculty, all of which contribute to making an exceptional academic experience, improve student outcomes and increase college ratings. However, graduate student assistants’ work is often under-rewarded and under-appreciated. We teach and research without an adequate voice in pay and university fees when the cost of living keeps going up. We often lack flexibility in healthcare coverage and basic protections that would prevent workplace harassment and discrimination and prevent sudden changes to our contracts and work conditions.  Too many  of us are completing programs with crushing debt loads and less than rosy prospects for permanent, full time work in their chosen field of study.

Colleges are acting more and more like big corporations and leaving graduate students with impossible choices — choosing between their future degree and field, their students, and their families.  You can be a part of the growing movement to tackle the crisis in higher education.

Click here to join us!

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DNC Update 7/25: Spotlight shines on child care; Henry speaks on behalf of SEIU members

Rousing speeches by Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders drove home messages of unity and of putting families first on the Democratic National Convention’s first day. Former President Bill Clinton speaks Tuesday night, as do the “mothers of the movement”—including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.

Panel explores public demand for child care reform:

SEIU along with The Hill, Make It Work Action, American Women, and the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund hosted a panel discussion on affordable and quality child care, paid leave and equal pay. They were joined by former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and others.

Panelists mentioned that these issues affect the economic security of all families, not just women. They went on to discuss the public demand for affordable, quality child care policies that also pay a living wage and the need for public investment now.

Tonia McMillian, SEIU Local 99 Executive Board member, joined the panel and expressed one of the many reasons why she is fighting for child care reform:

“Like the parents of the children we care for, child care providers need at least $15 an hour so we can keep our doors open and make ends meet. We’re talking to our friends, family and neighbors to make sure we elect candidates who will raise wages for child care providers and make child care affordable.”

Check out the SEIU Storify for photos and other social media posts from the DNC.

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AUG 7: Western Mass. ‘Purple Picnic’ in Goshen

Join us for a day of fun and relaxation!

Local 509 members work hard each day serving Western Mass families — so it’s about time we have some fun together as a union family! Join us August 7 for a ‘purple picnic’ filled with good food, great conversation and beautiful surroundings at DAR State Forest in Goshen.

The ‘Purple Picnic’ is a totally free, family-friendly event. We’ll provide the food and cover parking costs (identify yourself as part of the SEIU509 group), but feel free to bring a cooler, a dish to pass, games, musical instruments or anything else to make the day great. There’s also a great beach, so bring your swimsuit!

We want to make sure to have enough food and drinks on hand, so be sure to click here to let us know you’re coming.


SEIU LOCAL 509 PURPLE PICNIC
for all union members and their families

Sunday, August 7
Set-up at 10:00AM
Gather and grill at 11:00AM
We’ll stick around until 5:00PM
(food will be provided but feel free to bring a cooler or dish to pass)

DAR State Forest
78 Cape Street — off Route 112
Goshen, MA 01032
(directions available here)

CLICK HERE TO RSVP


Please share this invitation with co-workers, retired 509 members and other friends and allies — the greater our numbers, the more fun we’re bound to have.

Hope to see you August 7!

Israel Pierre
Treasurer, SEIU Local 509

P.S. Have questions or ideas? Need additional information? Feel free to contact Union Representative Jerry Levinsky at jlevinsky@seiu509.org or call (413) 336-3334. We look forward to hearing from you!

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August 1: Fight for $15 Brings ‘Moral Mondays’ to Boston!

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Full-Time, Salaried Faculty Vote ‘Union Yes’ at Boston University by 4-to-1 Margin

Non-tenure-track educators join 3,500 Boston-area colleagues in FacultyForward/SEIU

BU Full-Time Faculty Victory 4616_580pFor interviews with professors leading the movement to unionize, contact:
Jason A Stephany(617) 286-4430,

BOSTON – Full-time and salaried faculty at Boston University voted “Union Yes” by a 4-to-1 margin today, casting their ballots to join Faculty Forward – a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The vote marks the tenth straight union victory for Boston-area faculty, with more than 3,500 educators now joined in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“This is tremendous day for faculty, our students and the entire Boston University community,” said Bill Marx, a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Writing Program. “Today’s vote gives full-time and salaried lecturers and instructors the proactive voice we need to improve the teaching and learning conditions on campus.”

With today’s 135 to 36 vote, more than 275 salaried lecturers and instructors join 800 unionized adjunct colleagues at Boston University – along with faculty on the Northeastern, Tufts, Lesley, Bentley and Brandeis campuses. Part-time lecturers at Tufts signed their first union contract in 2014, followed by a landmark agreement at Lesley University last year. In January, adjuncts at Northeastern University reached a three-year agreement that made significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making.

“Through a strong union contract, faculty will have real seat at the table to push for investments in classroom education, professional development and research,” said Katherine Lakin-Schultz, a lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies. “By standing together, we can make real progress in addressing the challenges faculty and students face at BU.”

Greater Boston’s contingent faculty form the core of a robust, nationwide movement to address the crisis in higher education – where the role of educators is increasingly low-wage and marginalized, despite tuition increases and growing endowments. The groundbreaking effort seeks to reinvest in the classroom, raise standards and improve stability through the Faculty Forward initiative.

The Boston University full-time faculty union vote was conducted by mail, with ballots tabulated at the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Boston.

SEIU Local 509 represents more than 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including 3,800 part- and full-time faculty in the Greater Boston area. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.

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Full Time, Salaried Faculty File for Union Election at Boston University

Join BU adjunct colleagues, 3,500 other Boston-area educators in FacultyForward/SEIU

[For interviews with professors leading the movement to unionize, contact:  Jason A Stephany, (617) 286-4430, jstephany@seiu509.org]

BOSTON, MA – Full-time and salaried faculty at Boston University filed a formal petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Friday, seeking to join Faculty Forward – a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509. The election petition marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with more than 3,500 Boston-area educators united in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.

“Like so many of my colleagues, I love teaching at Boston University and I want to do everything I can to improve the learning experience for my students,” said Somy Kim, a Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Today’s filing marks an important first step in securing a real voice in the decisions that affect teaching and learning conditions on campus.”

The NLRB election will join more than 275 salaried lecturers and instructors with 800 adjunct colleagues at Boston University – along with unionized faculty on the Northeastern, Tufts, Lesley, Bentley and Brandeis campuses. Part-time lecturers at Tufts signed their first union contract in 2014, followed by a landmark agreement at Lesley University last year. In January, adjuncts at Northeastern reached a three-year agreement that made significant gains around compensation, working conditions and educators’ role in decision-making.

“My colleagues and I are on the front-lines, teaching a significant number of important classes and seminars at BU, with a focus on essential writing and communication skills,” said Bill Marx, a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Writing Program. “This action comes down to recognizing the value of the job we do in educating our students, improving the conditions under which we work, and the active role we must play in the decision-making process.”

Greater Boston’s contingent faculty form the core of a robust, nationwide movement to address the crisis in higher education – where the role of educators is increasingly low-wage and marginalized, despite tuition increases and growing endowments. The groundbreaking effort seeks to reinvest in the classroom, raise standards and improve stability through the Faculty Forward initiative.

Dates and balloting details for the BU faculty union vote will be determined by the National Labor Relations Board office in Boston in the coming weeks. 

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SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including more than 3,500 non-tenure track faculty in Greater Boston. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.

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Vote Tuesday, March 1 | Polls Close at 8:00pm!

Dear Friends,Hillary SEIU_580p

Tuesday is Election Day, so I’ll get straight to the point: If we want real progress on the issues that will help us build a brighter future for human service workers, educators and the communities we serve, then we need to elect Hillary Clinton—and every one of us needs to get out and vote before 8:00pm on March 1.

Click here to find your polling location.

From the fight for living wages to our push to ensure universal access to quality education and child care, Hillary Clinton is best positioned to deliver on a progressive agenda that will make life better for working families across the country. For example:

  • Hillary has consistently spoken out in support of the Fight for $15 and a union, the growing movement built from brave working people getting out in the streets and making a bold demand on big corporations. Hillary endorsed the New York wage board fight that resulted in $15 for all fast food workers in the state. She has issued statements of public support for workers and their Fight for $15 and a union on all national days of action and has applauded decisions to raise wages to $15 in communities across the country.
  • Hillary understands the needs of home care providers and family child care providers who help educate our future generations and allow our seniors and those with disabilities to live with dignity at home. “One of the things I’m trying to do in this campaign is put raising wages at the center,” Clinton said at a roundtable in Los Angeles with SEIU home care providers. At a child care roundtable she joined in Chicago, she said, “When we short-change child care workers, we short-change kids and America’s future. ”
  • Hillary’s plan would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave—an effort we are spearheading at the state level here in Massachusetts. Her proposal is funded by ensuring the wealthiest pay their fair share, not raising taxes on working families. “For many workers, staying home to take care of a sick child or an aging parent means losing a paycheck—or worse, even losing a job,” she said in November.  “That is an impossible choice we shouldn’t ask anyone to make—and yet American workers are forced to make it every day.”

All of this is why SEIU has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Find your polling place here — and make your plan now to vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, March 1. Take a look at your calendar and make sure you will have time to get to the polls before 8:00pm.

Let’s not leave our families’ future to chance.

Thanks for all that you do,
Tousignant Signature fname_tsp

 

 

Susan Tousignant
President, SEIU Local 509

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Jobs, Justice and Climate: Rally to Defend New England’s Future Saturday


Right now, world leaders are meeting in Paris to negotiate a new global climate treaty. This is their 21st attempt, and we know that whatever agreement may result won’t be nearly as strong as we need it to be. This year is on track to be the hottest on record, and unprecedented storms, floods and droughts are happening around the world.

The cost of climate change will be high, and we know that middle class and low-income families will wind up paying the price. We need to do something about the situation now, before time runs out — and we need to do it in a way that protects workers and retirees.

On Saturday, December 12 people will come together from across New England to call for bold climate solutions that create secure union jobs, strengthen community power and help build a more resilient future. Join us to make your voice heard!


 Jobs, Justice and Climate: Rally to Defend New England’s Future

Saturday, December 12 — 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Boston Common, Boston


Check out the video above for more information — or visit our coalition website at www.JobsJusticeClimate.org.

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