Member Committees of SEIU Local 509

Local 509 Endorses Martha Coakley for Governor

LAWRENCE — Martha Coakley today received the endorsement of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509, based on her commitment to providing all of our children with early education and our workers with earned sick time.  The endorsement builds on the campaign’s momentum following Coakley winning the Democratic nomination for governor last week.
“From our efforts to improve child safety to the fight to expand access to early education, Martha Coakley has been with us every step of the way,” said Susan Tousignant, president of the Massachusetts Union for Human Service Workers and Educators, SEIU Local 509. “We need leaders like Martha Coakley who understand the issues that matter most to working parents — and we are proud to endorse her as our next Governor.”
“Martha Coakley understands the important fight to eliminate the wait list for affordable early education and child care. Educators and parents, all of us, have a great partner in Martha Coakley,” said Dulce Espejo, a veteran early childhood educator from Lawrence.
“I look forward to continuing my work with the hard working men and women of 509, as we create a more fair and prosperous Commonwealth by providing all of our children with quality early and ed and our workers with earned sick time,” said Coakley.
The Union for Human Service Workers and Educators in Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509, represents over 17,000 workers throughout the Commonwealth. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of educational and social services to at-risk children, elders and people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the largest and fastest-growing labor union in the United States.
The 509 endorsement adds to the thousands of workers across the state working to elect Coakely, including Teamsters 25, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 103 and 223, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) 369, Massachusetts Coalition of Police, Massachusetts Police Association, Sheetmetal Workers Local 63, 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East., New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Painters and Allied Trades District Council #35, AFSCME Council 93 and 32BJ SEIU. 
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SEIU 509 COPE Endorses Steve Kerrigan for Lieutenant Governor

Friday, September 5, 2014
Contact: Jason A Stephany, (617) 286-4430,

SEIU Human Service Workers, Educators Endorse Kerrigan for Lieutenant Governor

Kerrigan speaks to human service workers at LifeLinks, Inc. workers before joining the picket line. (Aug 21, 2014)

Kerrigan speaks to human service workers at LifeLinks, Inc. workers before joining the picket line. (Aug 21, 2014)

Union cites hands-on leadership style, outspoken advocacy on behalf of workers’ rights

WATERTOWN, MA – The Mass. Union for Human Service Workers and Educators, SEIU Local 509 Committee on Political Education (COPE), today announced its endorsement of Steve Kerrigan in the race for Lieutenant Governor – citing his hands-on leadership and outspoken advocacy around key issues of importance to working families.

SEIU Local 509 represents more than 17,000 human service workers and educators throughout Massachusetts, and is among the Commonwealth’s most progressive and politically active labor organizations. The union has a proud history of aggressive primary endorsements that have made a difference in major electoral contests – from the first campaign of Governor Deval Patrick to the recent election of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“From our shared efforts to improve child safety to the fight to expand access to early education, Steve Kerrigan isn’t afraid to stand up and speak out on the issues that matter most,” said Christine Crean, Chair of the SEIU Local 509 Committee on Public Education (COPE) and a longtime social worker. “Working families have a true champion in Steve Kerrigan, and we are proud to endorse him as our next Lieutenant Governor.”

SEIU human service workers and educators participated in a transparent, member-driven endorsement process for races up and down the ballot – including forums, questionnaires and face-to-face meetings with the candidates. In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Kerrigan stood far above other candidates in his willingness to directly engage with workers and seek solutions to complicated challenges.

“Steve Kerrigan was right there with us on the picket lines, doing everything he could to support workers in our fight for fair wages and dignity on the job.” said Deborah Martin, a veteran day habilitation specialist who helped lead the successful August strike at LifeLinks, Inc. “That’s exactly the kind of Lieutenant Governor we need – someone who will roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done.”


“As someone who was raised in a strong union household, I’m proud to have stood with working people my entire career – in local, state and federal government – and I’m thrilled to have the support of the human service workers and educators of SEIU Local 509,” said Kerrigan. “The issues facing these front-line workers are real and they need a voice in the Corner Office who will be with them, work with them and, when needed, stand with them. I’m honored to be that candidate and I’ll be honored to be that Lieutenant Governor.”


The Union for Human Service Workers and Educators in Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509, represents over 17,000 workers throughout the commonwealth. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of educational and social services to at-risk children, elders and people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the largest and fastest-growing labor union in the United States.

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2014 Primary Election Endorsements

Believe it or not, Primary Election Day is just around the corner in Massachusetts — and the outcome of Tuesday’s races could have a major impact on the issues that matter most to important to human service workers and educators. It’s important that each and every one of us get out and vote!

To help inform these important decisions, the Local 509 Committee on Political Education (COPE) spent several weeks interviewing many of the candidates who will appear on the September 9th ballot. Members questioned incumbents and challengers alike on their stances on issues ranging from social service caseloads and earned sick time to collective bargaining and private sector wages. Based on these face-to-face interviews, candidate questionnaires and voting records, COPE has endorsed a host of workers’ rights champions for offices up and down the ballot. Be sure to check out the Local 509 COPE endorsements in key races below!

Note: For polling locations, voting information and to view which races are on the ballot in your neighborhood, type in your home address at and select your party.



Lieutenant Governor

Steve Kerrigan
Website | Facebook | Twitter


Attorney General

Warren Tolman

Website | Facebook | Twitter


5th Congressional District

Cong. Katherine Clark

Website | Facebook | Twitter


6th Congressional District

Cong. John Tierney
Website | Facebook | Twitter


1st Essex

Sen. Kathleen O’Connor-Ives

Website | Facebook | Twitter

2nd Essex & Middlesex

Barbara L’Italien

Website | Facebook | Twitter

2nd Hampden & Hampshire

Patrick Leahy

Website | Facebook

Norfolk, Bristol & Middlesex

Dylan Hayre

Website | Facebook | Twitter

2nd Suffolk

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz

Website | Facebook | Twitter

1st Worcester

Sen. Harriette Chandler
Facebook | Twitter

Worcester & Middlesex

Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (write-in)

Website | Facebook | Twitter


9th Bristol

Rep. Christopher Markey

Website | Facebook | Twitter

14th Essex

Rep. Diana DiZoglio

Website | Facebook | Twitter

8th Hampden

Rep. Joseph Wagner

9th Hampden

Edward Collins

Website | Facebook | Twitter

10th Hampden

Ivette Hernandez

Website | Facebook

25th Middlesex

Rep. Marjorie Decker

Website | Facebook | Twitter

28th Middlesex

Rep. Wayne Matewsky


31st Middlesex

Michael Day

Website | Facebook | Twitter

33rd Middlesex

Steve Ultrino

Website | Facebook | Twitter

34th Middlesex

Christine Barber

Website | Facebook | Twitter

10th Plymouth

Michelle Dubois

Website | Facebook | Twitter

2nd Suffolk

Rep. Daniel Ryan

Website | Facebook | Twitter

5th Suffolk

Rep. Evandro Carvalho

Website | Facebook | Twitter

7th Suffolk

Rep. Gloria Fox

12th Suffolk

Rep. Daniel Cullinane

Website | Facebook | Twitter

14th Suffolk

Rep. Angelo Scaccia

15th Worcester

Rep. Mary Keefe

Website | Facebook

16th Worcester

Rep. Daniel Donahue

Website | Facebook | Twitter

17th Worcester

Doug Belanger

Website | Facebook

Questions? Need additional information? Contact the Local 509 Legislative & Political Department at (617) 924-8509 x515 or email

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SHNS | Study Examines State Spending on Employee Health Insurance

The average per-employee monthly premium for coverage of state government employees in the United States was $963 in 2013, according to a study of state spending on employee coverage, which pegged the average in Massachusetts at $1,089.

The study, by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation, was released Tuesday with its authors hoping to inform public policy debates and decisions with new information. The study’s authors told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that management of state employee health benefits affects the fiscal health of states, the ability to recruit and retain employees, and the physical, mental and financial well being of workers.

The study found the average employer premium contribution percentage across 49 states at 84 percent, with the average state employee premium contribution percentage at 16 percent. In Massachusetts, that split was 75 percent employer and 25 percent employee. The average total premium across the states for employees plus dependents was $1,238, compared to $1,418 in Massachusetts.

States collectively spent $30.8 billion to insure 2.7 million employee households in 2013.


Other Resources:
Read the full study on State Employee Health Plan Spending via Pew Charitable Trust.
Learn more about state employee benefits through the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission.

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SEIU State Council Endorses Warren Tolman for Mass. Attorney General

SEIU State Council Endorses Warren Tolman for Massachusetts Attorney General

State’s most politically active labor organization hails veteran legislator as a strong ally of working families

BOSTON – One of the largest grassroots labor organizations in Massachusetts, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), today announced its endorsement of Warren Tolman in the race for Attorney General.

“Working families have an incredibly strong ally in Warren Tolman,” said Cliff Cohn of SEIU Local 509, who serves as President of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council. “Whether it is fighting for a higher minimum wage, expanding healthcare access, or advocating for affordable housing, Warren Tolman has always put workers first – and SEIU is proud to endorse him for Attorney General.”

Representing nearly 90,000 healthcare and human service workers, educators, security officers, janitors and others across the Bay State, SEIU is a democratic union with an endorsement process driven by its members.

“The healthcare workers of SEIU are excited to be part of this endorsement, not only because of Warren Tolman’s track record on labor issues – such as raising the minimum wage and earned sick time – but also because of his pro-active consumer protection and anti-violence initiatives,” said Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Secretary-Treasurer of the SEIU State Council.

Tolman had previously been a paid advisor to the healthcare workers of 1199SEIU during several campaigns, including efforts to improve the quality of life for caregivers and patients in Massachusetts hospitals, nursing homes, and home care programs.

The SEIU Massachusetts State Council is a representative body of leaders who have been democratically elected by the membership to represent their Local and workers in their respective industries. The council includes SEIU Locals 1199, 32BJ, 509, 888, Chapter 3FO and the Committee of Interns & Residents

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2014-15 SEIU Local 509 Scholarship Details & Application

The SEIU Local 509 Scholarship Program funds educational scholarship awards for members and their dependents. Dependents are defined as children of members, or children under direct care of the member — such as a grandchild or foster child.  Apply by June 1, 2014.

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Boston Globe | Not your grandpa’s labor union

Not Your Grandpa's Union ImageThe Ideas section of April 6th’s Boston Globe took on the challenges and opportunities presented by our 21st century workforce — a landscape where traditional employer-employee relationships have become more exception than norm. Author Leon Neyfakh details a host of new initiatives that aim to organize workers in this new reality, including those of healthcare professionals, adjunct professors and service industry subcontractors.

From the Neyfakh’s ‘Not your grandpa’s labor union’:

Unionization efforts have also been successful among some graduate students and medical residents, who have had to convince the institutions they work for to recognize them as employees, rather than categorize their teaching or hospital work as merely educational. Adjunct professors, who have been able to find only low-paying freelance teaching jobs after finishing degrees, have also formed unions recently. Meanwhile, the large number of doctors who in recent years have effectively gone from business-owners to employees after selling or leasing once-independent practices to hospitals are being targeted for recruitment by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists…

…In all these cases, labor experts say, what we’re seeing is evidence of a struggle to establish clarity about what constitutes employment, and an effort to reduce the ambiguity surrounding the relationship between workers and the entities that wield power over them. That is what’s happening with fast-food workers, who have been striking for higher wages since last December, and who have been told by industry executives to address their grievances to the owners of the individual franchises that employ them. Organizers counter that franchise workers should be recognized as employees of the parent companies, instead; if they were, they could potentially organize on a much larger scale.

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SEIU President: Supreme Court grants billionaires even greater political power

 After the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in McCutcheon vs. FEC, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:

“This ruling is an unwelcome sequel to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United which will further erode the ability of 99 percent of our citizens to meaningfully participate in the political process and to have their voices heard in the governance of our country. Today, in a 5-4 ruling, a majority of the Court twists the freedoms guaranteed under our cherished First Amendment to use them as a sword to further undermine the foundations of our democracy. In Citizens United the Court ruled that corporations can freely use their amassed resources to drown out the voices of real people in the political process. With today’s decision, the Court has eliminated the long-standing limitation on the ability of billionaires to buy the gratitude and loyalty of elected officials with a blizzard of separate campaign contributions to candidates and political party organizations. Taken together, these two decisions will effectively drown out the voices of working people in the political process and deny them access to their elected officials. To a Supreme Court which equates speech with money, only the voices of the rich are entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

“This is a disappointing opinion that puts the underlying values of our democratic system at risk.”

Read the New York Times’ take on the McCutcheon decision here.

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SIGN ON TODAY: Our Open Letter to DCF Commissioner Olga Roche

DCF Colleagues,

It’s no secret that front-line workers at the Department of Children & Families have faced unprecedented challenges in recent weeks. From ever-increasing caseloads to disjointed and inconsistent directives, the critical work we do has grown more difficult with each passing day.

While initial steps have been taken to address issues related to staffing shortfalls and technology deficiencies, it has become clear to those of us on the front lines that change has not come quickly enough. Even worse, many of the systemic problems that we have collectively raised for months — or years, in some cases — continue to go unaddressed.

Commissioner Roche and her management team need to understand just how severe these challenges have become – and they need to hear it directly from us, the front-line workers who are charged with protecting the safety of at-risk children.

That’s why we’re circulating this formal sign-on letter. With your help, we’ll be able to put in writing the concerns front-line workers have expressed across the Commonwealth — in a format that can’t be ignored.

There are three ways to sign on to the letter to Commissioner Roche:

  1. Download a paper copy, print and sign the third page along with your co-workers.
  2. Catch up with a Union Steward in your office. Stewards are circulating paper copies of the letter this week for signature.
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TAKE ACTION: Stop the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital

North Adams Regional HospitalNorth Adams Regional Hospital, a cornerstone of healthcare access for many Western Massachusetts families and residents for 129 years, is facing imminent closure.

This is a public health crisis — a matter of life and death for the impacted communities whose residents could lose access to emergency hospital services. The area of North Adams has a high poverty rate (22%) and many residents lack access to the reliable transportation they would need to drive up to an hour to the nearest emergency room.

Healthcare workers and community members — including our brothers and sisters at 1199 SEIU — are calling on state officials to immediately intervene and protect the vital, cost-effective services provided by North Adams Regional Hospital. The loss of 530 jobs will deal a critical blow to the area economy. This is a devastating development for patients and workers alike. This closure is unacceptable.

Click here to sign the petition to save North Adams Regional Hospital

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