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.

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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RSVP TODAY: Meet the Candidates for Governor!

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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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SEIU Endorses Elizabeth Warren for US Senate

Today the SEIU State Council, of which SEIU Local 509 is a part, voted to endorse Elizabeth Warren in the race for US Senate. Read the press release here

As state workers and private sector workers for publicly funded agencies, it’s important for SEIU Local 509 members to be involved in the political process to ensure that our agencies maintain an adequate level of funding and that the individuals that we serve and care for are looked after.

With the upcoming Senate and Presidential elections coming up, 2012 is going to be a busy year for our members and being involved in political campaigns is one of the best ways that we can protect our contracts and fight to make sure that all working people in Massachusetts are treated fairly.

Volunteer to work on political campaigns today!

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Register to Attend the US Senate Candidates Forum in February

Save the Date for the US Senate Candidates Forum!

This is your chance to meet and evaluate the candidates to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate. Your input is critical to our union’s endorsement decision!


Saturday, February 4, 2012
9:30 am – 12 noon

150 Mt. Vernon Street (BaySide Expo Office Center)
Dorchester, MA

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided

Sponsored by the SEIU State Council, SEIU Local 509, Local 615, Local 888, 1199SEIU United Healthcare East, and The SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents.

The Forum is open to members only.

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