The Committee On Political Education (COPE) is part of SEIU Local 509 and serves as our political action fund. Money contributed to COPE goes directly toward electing pro-worker, pro-labor politicians as well as working for or against ballot measures that would affect our union.

Because many of our members are employed by the state, or agencies which receive funding from the state, having supportive politicians in office is important to funding strong and fair contracts. Contributing to COPE is a great way to invest in your future as a union human service worker in Massachusetts.

Because we do not use members’ dues to give to political campaigns, COPE is funded by voluntary contributions from our members. As little as $1/week makes a big difference. If you do not currently contribute to COPE, or would like to increase your amount, Click here to request that a COPE card be mailed to you.

COPE Committtee, which decides how funds are distributed, meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month, all Local 509 members are welcome to join and be a part of deciding how we can work together to elect pro-worker politicians, contact Deputy Political Director Melody Hugo for more information.

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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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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SATURDAY, MARCH 15: SEIU Massachusetts Governor’s Election Forum

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Remembering Kenny Gorman

Ken Gorman

Kenneth (Kenny) Gorman, Jr.

Local 509 is sad to share news of the passing of longtime member and union leader Kenneth (Kenny) Gorman, Jr.

A celebration of Kenny’s life was held on Tuesday, January 14 in Spencer, MA.  Details can be found here, or in the Worcester Telegram.

While he recently retired as a correctional program officer at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Kenny was a larger-than-life figure at SEIU Local 509 for many years. He served in a variety of union leadership roles throughout his career: steward, chapter president, chair of our Committee on Political Education (COPE), and most recently as a trustee of the local.  Many members, both in his chapter and beyond, are grateful for Ken’s willingness to mentor and support them in their work — along with his encouragement to become more active in the union.

In addition to bargaining for and representing working families in countless forums, Kenny maintained a true passion for politics. Prior to his storied years of work in the union, Ken served as a legislative aide on Beacon Hill and maintained several close friendships from his time there. Ken volunteered many of his own hours helping to elect candidates who understood and prioritized issues impacting working families — most recently helping to elect Marty Walsh as Mayor of Boston.

Both Kenny’s day-to-day work and his activism were firmly grounded in the desire to lift up all working families — and his dedication to the cause knew no boundaries. Whether here at home or halfway across the country, Kenny was always ready to lend his voice and energy to the fight for workers’ rights. When union workers in Wisconsin came under attack from  Governor Scott Walker, Kenny passionately rallied a large crowd in Boston in support of his brothers and sisters. His words and actions will continue to inspire our work for years to come.

Kenny Gorman was a great leader, a dedicated public servant, and a kind man who will be greatly missed by all of us at local 509.  The SEIU Local 509 COPE Committee has established an annual $1,000 scholarship to be given in Ken’s memory.


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Help ‘Raise Up MA’ with Katherine Clark for Congress!

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Human Service Workers Celebrate Election of Workers’ Rights Champion Marty Walsh as New Boston Mayor

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Contact: Jason A Stephany, (617) 286-4430,

Human Service Workers Celebrate Election of Workers’ Rights Champion Walsh as New Boston Mayor

SEIU Local 509 among the first organizations to endorse Walsh’s preliminary candidacy

BOSTON, MA – Susan Tousignant, President of the 17,000-member Massachusetts Human Service Workers Union, SEIU Local 509, issued the following statement following the election night victory of Rep. Marty Walsh as Boston’s next mayor:

“By electing Marty Walsh as the next mayor, the City of Boston voted for a true champion of working families.”

“Marty Walsh understands, first-hand, the struggles Boston workers face each and every day. He’s dedicated his entire career to tackling the tough issues that matter most to local families and seniors – strong schools, safe streets, real job opportunities and a secure retirement for all.”

“Human service workers were proud to be among the first to stand with Marty Walsh in the race for Boston mayor, and we look forward to continuing our work together to help our neighborhoods grow and thrive in the years to come.”

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House Bill 59: It Goes Too Far.

The personal stories of workers featured in the above video paint a clear picture of what’s at stake in House Bill 59 — Governor Deval Patrick’s proposed changes to retiree healthcare. Simply put, HB59 goes to far.

Under House Bill 59, workers just two or three years from retirement could see the rules changed so drastically they would have to work another 22 years to receive promised benefits. The legislation has its biggest impact on low-wage workers, and offers no real cost-saving measures other than spiking out-of-pocket expenses for seniors – meaning future retirees will bear 100% of the cost burden of these reforms. Even worse, HB59 penalizes workers who must take a leave of absence for the birth of a child or death of a loved one.

That’s why hundreds of workers across the commonwealth are taking action to educate their legislators about the negative impact of House Bill 59 — testifying at public hearings, sending letters to Representatives and Senators, and meeting face-to-face with key legislative leaders. You can take action today to protect retiree healthcare.

Retiree Healthcare Click Here Button Additional Resources

  • Read Local 509 President Susan Tousignant’s testimony on House Bill 59 here.
  • Access the proposed legislation in its entirety by clicking here.
  • Download the Special Commission’s report on Retiree Healthcare here.
  • Invite fellow concerned workers to contact their legislators here.
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March for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Saturday, October 5!

The federal government may be in shutdown mode, but our advocacy around key issues that affect working families continues. As part of our ongoing efforts to support the rights of all workers, SEIU Local 509 has joined forces with Keeping Families Together – a coalition of dozens of community, faith and labor groups united in the fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

This Saturday, October 5, Keeping Families Together and hundreds of other community coalitions across the country are sponsoring a national day of action to demand congress enact immigration reform now. In Boston, we’ll gather at noon outside the Boston Public Library near Copley Square:

March for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Saturday, October 5 @ 12:00pm
Boston Public Library
Corner of Beacon & Charles, Copley Square


(You can also download flyers in English, Spanish and Portuguese for distribution to co-workers and neighbors.)


This is a true statewide gathering, and caravans will be driving in from a number of cities throughout the Commonwealth:

WILLIAMSTOWN: Contact Cesar Serrano 760-884-6998
SPRINGFIELD: Contact Bliss Requa-Trautz 774-722-1511/
WORCESTER: Contact Maria Lorena Valencia 781-521-2239 /
FITCHBURG: Contact Miguel Leal 978-342-2069 /
LYNN: Contact Julio Ruiz 857-227-4072
BROCKTON: Contact Angel Cosme, 617-512-5305 /
NEW BEDFORD: Contact Adrian Ventura 774-961-8283 /

Join thousands of working families from across the country in sending a message to congress: “Make immigration reform a reality in 2013!”Let’s show our leaders that all workers deserve dignity and respect, regardless of where they were born!

Members of the Keeping Families Together coalition include: American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU), American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), ADL’s Latino-Jewish Roundtable, Anti-Defamation League, The African Council, Agencia ALPHA, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Birfly Conexion Juvenil Inmigrante, Boston New Sanctuary Movement (BNSM), Boston College Students, Brazilian Immigrant Center, Brazilian Women’s Group, Brockton Interfaith Community, Centro Presente, Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores de New Bedford, Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores de Lynn, Chinese Progressive Association, Chelsea Collaborative, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Comite de Refugiados El Salvador (CORES), Dominican Development Center, East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC), Emerson College Students / EmersonUNITE, Harvard College Act on a Dream, Harvard Kennedy School Students, Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Jobs with Justice, Just Communities of Western Massachusetts, La Comunidad Inc, Latinas Know Your Rights, Latinos Unidos de Massachusetts (LUMA), Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA Coalition), MassCOSH, Matahari Eye of the Day, MIRA USA, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston, New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants and Refugees, Oiste?, Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA), REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, SEIU 32BJ/615, SEIU 1199, SEIU Local 509, Student Immigrant Movement, UNITE HERE Local 26, Williams College Students, and Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD).

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