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

 

2016 State Primaries

state-primaries-2016

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Here’s just a few of our SEIU 509’s most important legislative priorities:

Increase Funding at the Department of Children and Families
Keep at-risk kids safe from abuse and neglect by supporting the funding increases needed to hire additional DCF social workers to reduce caseloads for front-line social workers and investigators.

Keep Health Insurance Costs  from Increasing for State Workers
Allow state employees to continue to pay the same premium share through the GIC, which potentially saving our families upwards of $2,000 a year in increased health insurance costs.

Increase Access to Early Ed with a Living Wage for Providers
Upwards of 40,000 kids remain on a wait list for affordable child care and early education opportunities in MA. Meanwhile, family child care educators who provide these essential services struggle to make ends meet.  We must continue to fight for appropriate funding to reduce this wait list and support the efforts to increase provider salaries to $15 an hour.

Pass the “Millionaires Tax” to Invest in Transit and Education
To generate the revenue needed to make improvements to our crumbling infrastructure and ensure that every child in the Commonwealth has access to a quality public education from pre-k to college, we must tax millionaires in Massachusetts at a higher rate.

Support Paid Family and Medical Leave
Right now 1.2 million workers in Massachusetts risk losing their jobs if they need to take time off to recover from childbirth or take care of a sick family member with a serious illness. Supporting the passage of Paid Family and Medical Leave in MA could help right this wrong.

  

State Representative Endorsements

SEIU Local 509’s Committee on Public Education  has endorsed the following state representatives based on their exemplary voting record of supporting 85% or more of our legislative priorities.

City/Town District Full Title 509 Voting Record
Newton Twelfth Middlesex Rep. Ruth Balser 100%
Somerville Thirty-Fourth Middlesex Rep. Christine Barber 100%
Lunenberg Thirty-Seventh Middlesex Rep. Jennifer Benson 100%
Melrose Thirty-Second Middlesex Rep. Paul Brodeur 100%
New Bedford Thirteenth Bristol Rep. Antonio Cabral 100%
North Adams First Berkshire Rep. Gailanne Cariddi 100%
Brockton Ninth Plymouth Rep. Gerry Cassidy 100%
Quincy Second Norfolk Rep. Tackey Chan 100%
South Boston Fourth Suffolk Rep. Nick Collins 100%
West Roxbury Tenth Suffolk Rep. Ed Coppinger 100%
Lynn Eleventh Essex Rep. Brendan Crighton 100%
Duxbury Sixth Plymouth Rep. Josh Cutler 100%
Winchester Thirty Frist Middlesex Rep. Michael Day 100%
Cambridge Twenty-Fifth Middlesex Rep. Marjorie Decker 100%
Worcester Sixteenth Worcester Rep. Dan Donahue 100%
Brockton Tenth Plymouth Rep. Michelle DuBois 100%
Pittsfield Third Berkshire Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier 100%
Arlington Twenty-Third Middlesex Rep. Sean Garballey 100%
Sudbury Thirteenth Middlesex Rep. Carmine Gentile 100%
Springfield Tenth Hampden Rep. Carlos Gonzalez 100%
Attleboro Second Bristol Rep. Paul Heroux 100%
Dorchester Sixth Suffolk Rep. Russell Holmes 100%
Brighton Seventeenth Suffolk Rep. Kevin Honan 100%
Dorchester Thirteenth Suffolk Rep. Dan Hunt 100%
Worcester Fifteenth Worcester Rep. Mary Keefe 100%
Newton Eleventh Middlesex Rep. Kay Khan 100%
Natick Fifth Middlesex Rep. David Linsky 100%
Boston Eighth Suffolk Rep. Jay Livingstone 100%
East Boston First Suffolk Rep. Adrian Madaro 100%
Worcester Thirteenth Worcester Rep. John Mahoney 100%
Jamaica Plain Eleventh Suffolk Rep. Liz Malia 100%
Lawrence Seventeenth Essex Rep. Frank Moran 100%
Clinton Twelfth Worcester Rep. Hank Naughton 100%
Worcester Fourteenth Worcester Rep. Jim O’Day 100%
Somerville Twenty-Seventh Middlesex Rep. Denise Provost 100%
Charlestown Second Suffolk Rep. Dan Ryan 100%
South Hadley Second Hampshire Rep. John Scibak 100%
Brookline Fifteenth Norfolk Rep. Frank Moran 100%
Springfield Ninth Hampden Rep. Jose Tosado 100%
Malden Thirty Third Middlesex Rep. Seven Ultrino 100%
Holyoke Fifth Hampden Rep. Aaron Vega 100%
Framingham Sixth Middlesex Rep. Chris Walsh 100%
Somerset Fifth Bristol Rep. Pat Haddad 97%
Northhampton First Hampshire Rep. Peter Kocot 97%
Worthington First Franklin Rep. Stephen Kulik 97%
Brighton Eighteenth Suffolk Rep. Mike Moran 97%
Wellesley Fourteenth Norfolk Rep. Alice Peisch 97%
Cambridge Twenty-sixth Middlesex Rep. Tim Toomey 97%
Concord Fourteenth Middlesex Rep. CoryAtkins 96%
Winthrop Nineteenth Suffolk Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo 96%
Watertown Twenty-Ninth Middlesex Rep. Jonathan Hecht 96%
Stowe Third Middlesex Rep. Kate Hogan 96%
Provincetown Fourth Barnstable Rep. Sarah Peake 96%
Lenox Fourth Berkshire Rep. Smitty Pignatelli 96%
South End Ninth Suffolk Rep. Byron Rushing 96%
Jamaica Plain Fifteenth Suffolk Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez 96%
Longmeadow Second Hampden Rep. Brian Ashe 95%
Peru Second Berkshire Rep. Paul Mark 95%
North End Third Suffolk Rep. Aaron Michlewitz 95%
Needham Thirteenth Norfolk Rep. Denise Garlick 94%
Watertown Tenth Middlesex Rep. John Lawn 94%
Peabody Sixth Essex Rep. Jerry Parisella 94%
Westport Eighth Bristol Rep. Paul Schmid 94%
Haverhill Third Essex Rep. Brian Dempsey 93%
Canton Sixth Norfolk Rep. William Galvin 93%
Stoughton Eighth Norfolk Rep. Louis Kafka 93%
Lexington Fifteenth Middlesex Rep. Jay Kaufman 93%
New Bedford Eleventh Bristol Rep. Robert Koczera 93%
Danvers Thirteenth Essex Rep. Theodore Speliotis 93%
Mattapoisett Tenth Bristol Rep. William Straus 93%
Dorchester Twelfth Suffolk Rep. Dan Cullinane 92%
Methuen Fourteenth Essex Rep. Diana DiZoglio 92%
Marblehead Eighth Essex Rep. Lori Ehrlich 92%
Milford Tenth Worcester Rep. John Fernandes 92%
Bedford Twenty-First Middlesex Rep. Ken Gordan 92%
Fall River Seventh Bristol Rep. Alan Silvia 92%
Marshfield Fourth Plymouth Rep. Jim Cantwell 91%
Easton Eleventh Plymouth Rep. Claire Cronin 91%
Woburn Thirtieth Middlesex Rep. James Dwyer 91%
Holliston Eighth Middlesex Rep. Carolyn Dykema 91%
Gloucester Fifth Essex Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante 91%
Cambridge Twenty-Fourth Middlesex Rep. David Rogers 91%
Franklin Tenth Norfolk Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez 91%
Medford Thirty-Fifth Middlesex Rep. Paul Donato 90%
Fall River Sixth Bristol Rep. Carole Fiola 90%
Lowell Sixteenth Middlesex Rep. Tom Stanley 90%
Quincy Third Norfolk Rep. Ron Mariano 90%
Weymouth Fourth Norfolk Rep. James Murphy 90%
Norwood Twelfth Norfolk Rep. John Rogers 90%
Waltham Ninth Middlesex Rep. Tom Stanley 90%
Westfield Fourth Hampden Rep. John Velis 90%
Revere Sixteenth Suffolk Rep. RoseLee Vincent 90%
Braintree Fifth Norfolk Rep. Mark Cusak 89%
Lawrence Sixteenth Essex Rep. Marcos Devers 89%
West Springfield Sixth Hampden Rep. Michael Finn 89%
Ludlow Seventh Hampden Rep. Thomas Petrolati 89%
Hyde Park Fourteenth Suffolk Rep. Angelo Scaccia 89%
Chicopee Eighth Hampden Rep. Joseph Wagner 89%
Kingston Twelfth Plymouth Rep. Tom Calter 88%
Methuen Fifteenth Essex Rep. Linda Dean Campbell 88%
Dorchester Fifth Suffolk Rep. Evandro Carvalho 88%
Dedham Eleventh Norfolk Rep. Paul McMurtry 88%
Westford Second Middlesex Rep. James Arciero 86%
Quincy First Norfolk Rep. Bruce Ayers 86%
Lynn Tenth Essex Rep. Dan Cahill 86%
Shrewsbury Eleventh Worcester Rep. Hannah Kane 86%
Everett Twenty-Eighth Middlesex Rep. Joseph McGonagle 86%
Lynn Eighteenth Middlesex Rep. Rady Mom 86%
Grafton Ninth Worcester Rep. David Muradian 86%
Peabody Twelfth Essex Rep. Tom Walsh 86%
East Falmouth Third Barnstable Rep. David Vieira *
Roxbury 7th Suffolk District Monica Cannon *
Milton Seventh Norfolk Tony Farrington *
Nantucket Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucke Dylan Fernandes *
Leominster Fourth Worcester Natalie Higgins *
Fitchburg Third Worcester Kim Maxwell *
Saugus Ninth Essex Jen Migliore *
East Falmouth Third Barnstable Rep. David Vieira *

  

State Senator Endorsements

SEIU Local 509’s Committee on Public Education  has endorsed the following state senators based on their exemplary voting record of supporting 85% or more of our legislative priorities.

City/Town District Full Title 509 Voting Record
Brockton Second Plymouth and Bristol Sen. Michael Brady 100%
Everett Middlesex and Suffolk Sen. Sal DiDomenico 100%
Arlington Fourth Middlesex Sen. Ken Donnelly 100%
Acton Middlesex and Worcester Sen. Jaime Eldridge 100%
Quincy Norfolk and Plymouth Sen. John Keenan 100%
North Andover Second Essex and Middlesex Sen. Barbara L’Italien 100%
Winchester Fifth Middlesex Sen. Jason Lewis 100%
Salem Second Essex Sen. Joan Lovely 100%
Lynn Third Essex Sen. McGee 100%
Springfield Hampden Sen. James Welch 100%
Worcester First Worcester Sen. Harriette Chandler 97%
Newton First Middlesex and Norfolk Sen. Cynthia Creem 97%
Somerville Second Middlesex Sen. Pat Jehlen 97%
Amherst Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Senate President Stanley Rosenberg 97%
Jamaica Plain Second Suffolk Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz 96%
Westport First Bristol and Plymouth Sen. Michael Rodrigues 95%
Framingham/Natick Second Middlesex and Norfolk Sen. Karen Spilka 94%
Lexington Third Middlesex Sen. Michael Barrett 93%
Millbury/Worcester Second Worcester Sen. Michael Moore 93%
Dorchester First Suffolk Sen. Linda Dorcena-Forry 92%
Newburyport First Essex Sen. Kathleen O’Connor-Ives 92%
New Bedford Second Bristol and Plymouth Sen. Mark Montigny 91%
Taunton First Plymouth and Bristol Sen. Marc Pacheco 91%
West Roxbury/Dedham Norfolk and Suffolk Sen. Michael Rush 90%
Winthrop First Suffolk and Middlesex Sen. Joe Boncore 89%
Belmont Second Suffolk and Middlesex Sen. William Brownsberger 89%
Lowell First Middlesex Sen. Eileen Donoghue 89%
Leominster Worcester and Middlesex Sen. Jennifer Flanagan 89%
Spencer Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex Sen. Anne Gobi 89%
Springfield/Longmeadow First Hampden and Hampshire Sen. Eric Lesser 89%
Weymouth First Essex Sen. Patrick O’Connor 89%
Walpole Bristol and Norfolk Sen. James Timilty *
Cape & Islands Cape and Islands Julian Cyr *
Pittsfield Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Andrea Harrington *
Milton Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth Nora Harrington *

*For open seat races, the Committee On Political Education interviewed candidates to assess if they were committed to 509’s legislative priorities. In some cases, incumbents who did not meet our strict 85% cutoff rating were endorsed based on being a recent champion of some of our highest priority legislation.

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September 10: Rally to ‘Raise America’ through Fair Wages!

Raise America September 10Human service workers and educators have long been at the forefront of the fight to raise wages and improve working conditions across Massachusetts. With the support of faith leaders and community allies, we’ve won major increases in the minimum wage, secured earned sick time for more than a million working families, and set new standards in compensation and job security on college campuses and in family child care settings from Boston to the Berkshires.

This fall, nearly 15,000 janitors across New England will come together to negotiate new contracts that build on the progress made over many years to raise standards in the industry. Their struggle for fair wages comes amidst our own bargaining sessions in Higher Education and Early Childhood Education — and may set the stage for upcoming contract negotiations covering thousands of State Employees and Private Sector Human Service workers throughout the Commonwealth.

On Saturday, September 10, human service workers and educators will join janitors and service staff represented by SEIU 32BJ for a rally to ‘Raise America’. Join us at the Boston Common bandstand at 1:00pm as we bring the ‘Fight for $15’ to new heights!

‘RAISE AMERICA’ RALLY WITH SEIU 32BJ

Saturday, September 10
Gathering at 1:00opm

Boston Common – Parkman Band Stand
(underground parking in the Common Garage – 0 Charles Street, Boston)

Click here to join us and make your voice heard! 

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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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