Believe it or not, Election Day is just around the corner — and we only have a few weeks left to make a difference as we elect a new President, send legislators to represent us on Beacon Hill, and fight to preserve public education in Massachusetts.
As part of our effort to ensure the voices of human service workers and educators are heard on November 8th, SEIU 509 members will have the opportunity to participate in our fall Political Action Program. As in previous years, we plan to do all we can to elect state and local elected leaders who understand the issues that matter most to SEIU members and the communities we serve. We’ll also fight to protect funding for our public schools by defeating Question 2 — in addition to campaigning in New Hampshire to help defeat Donald Trump’s destructive agenda.
Our push for fairer workplaces and stronger communities doesn’t stop with the fall elections. We’ll need to work hard to support the allies we elect as they pursue a progressive legislative agenda in 2017 and beyond. From the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage, to making millionaires pay their fair share in taxes, to comprehensive immigration reform, to paid family and medical leave, we’ll need all hands on deck. Sign up here to get involved in any or all of these important issues.
The SEIU Political Action Program will launch on Thursday, October 13 and run through Election Day. So whether you’re interested in volunteering on a local campaign, getting involved in a ballot initiative, taking a trip to a presidential battleground state like New Hampshire or just staying informed of future opportunities, be sure to sign up using the online form. We’ll have updates soon on a host of events, from our upcoming member political action training to celebratory Election Night events.
This is an important political season for human service workers and educators throughout the Commonwealth and across the country. Even if you only have an hour or two to spare in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll get involved.
Thank you for all you do!
Susan Tousignant, President
El día de elección ya está por venir — solo tenemos un par de semanas en asegurarnos que hagamos las diferencia en lo que elijamos el nuevo presidente, los legislativos estatales quienes nos van a servir en Beacon Hill, y vamos a batallar para asegurar que preservemos la educación pública en Massachusetts.
Como parte de nuestros esfuerzos y en asegurarnos que las voces de trabajadores sociales y de educadores sea escuchada vamos a tener un Programa Político Comenzando el 8 de noviembre. Como en años anteriores estamos planificando en hacer todo lo que podamos hacer para elegir un nuevo liderazgo. También vamos a batallar para proteger los fondos de pregunta dos y batallar contra Trump.
Nuestros esfuerzos por trabajos justos y comunidades fuertes no para con la elección del otoño. Vamos tener que seguir trabajando para apoyar los que nos apoyando a nosotros mientras ellos persiguen una agenda progresiva para el año 2017. Desde nuestra batalla para un pago mínimo de $15 dólares la hora, hacer que los millonarios paguen su parte justa en impuestos, aun plan comprehensivo inmigratorio, y al tiempo pago de familia de atención médica, vamos a necesitar a todos ustedes. Inscríbase aquí para que se involucren en una de estas oportunidades.
El programa político de SEIU va a comenzar el 13 de octubre y va a continuar durante el día de elecciones. Si estas interesada en ser voluntario quieres ser parte de una campaña local y desea quedarse al día con las elecciones por favor inscríbase hoy en esta lista.
Esta etapa electoral es sumamente importante para los trabajadores de servicios humanos y para educadores en nuestro estado. Si tienes una hora o dos por favor yo espero que ustedes se involucren.
Gracias por todo lo que hacen.
Susan Tousignant, Presidenta
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.
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||*|
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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,
President, SEIU Local 509
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.
Members: Clinton supports our movement to build a better future for working families
WASHINGTON — After a rigorous, months-long member engagement process, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling her a leader who will stand up for the working people building a movement to secure a better future for their families.
“Hillary Clinton has proven she will fight, deliver and win for working families,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “SEIU members and working families across America are part of a growing movement to build a better future for their families, and Hillary Clinton will support and stand with them. This movement for economic, racial, immigrant and social justice is poised to turn out to vote in November with their families and communities and keep pushing elected officials to deliver once in office.”
“We are endorsing Hillary Clinton because she will stand up for working people like me when she’s in the White House, not the rich and powerful,” said Regina Sutton, a home care worker and member of SEIU Local 2015 in California.
SEIU’s member engagement included a 1,200-member conference in March, three national tele-town hall meetings in which more than 178,000 members participated, three national member polls from the fall of 2014 through the fall of 2015, more than 200 local executive board debates and discussions with thousands of local union officers and elected member leaders and local union member discussions representing 1.2 million SEIU members, which included leadership assemblies, live phone calls, worksite meetings, emails and text messages.
Hillary Clinton will fight to raise wages and has stood up for the rights of workers to join together in a union. She has spoken out in support of the Fight for $15 movement: on the movement’s April 15 national day of action, during the New York wage board fight that resulted in $15 for all fast food workers in the state, for the $15 victories in Los Angeles city and county and again just last week, on Nov. 10, during the biggest day of action yet.
“As cleaners, we roll up our sleeves every day and get the job done without complaint. When Hillary Clinton is president, she will do the same. She will fight tirelessly for working families. I like that she is not running to prove a point, she is running to make our country better,” said Pam Johnston, a cleaner, member of 32BJ SEIU in Pittsburgh and executive board member.
Once elected, Hillary Clinton will have the opportunity to address the epidemic of low wages and poor training standards for our nation’s airport workers, who keep travelers safe and airports clean. “Airport jobs should be good jobs — and together, we can make sure they are,” she wrote to airport workers gathered at a national convention last month in Washington.
Clinton has recognized the value of care work in our nation, particularly the home care providers and child care teachers who help educate our future generations and allow our seniors and those with disabilities to live with dignity at home. In many places, these workers earn poverty wages with no sick or vacation time and few if any benefits. “One of the things I’m trying to do in this campaign is put raising wages at the center,” Clinton said at an August roundtable meeting in Los Angeles with SEIU home care providers. “I think your skills deserve a lot more pay and benefits than what’s currently being made available to you.”
“Hillary Clinton understands that child care teachers need living wages and that the care has to be affordable for people,” said Marites McLean, a child care provider and member of SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts. “She gets it and she’s going to do something about it.”
Clinton is also a leader on the core issues SEIU members care about in this election, including fighting for commonsense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, standing up for voting rights and criminal justice reform that prioritizes ending mass incarceration and supporting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Clinton’s commitment to quality, affordable healthcare goes back decades to her courageous efforts in 1994 to ensure coverage for all. SEIU members know she will fight hard to strengthen the ACA so we never go backward.
“I’m very excited about our endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president,” said Ann Byrne, a member of SEIU Local 199 and nurse at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. “I’m going to caucus for her, door-knock for her and phone bank for her. As a nurse for 26 years, I know that Hillary Clinton will defend and strengthen the Affordable Care Act so our patients get the care they need.”
SEIU’s 2 million members will join hands with community partners in a broad movement for economic, social, immigrant and racial justice. Along with the 64 million people who work at jobs paying poverty-level wages, they will be a powerful force during the 2016 elections. SEIU members will use their strength at the grassroots and community levels to support the candidates who will stand with them. Hundreds of thousands of face-to-face and door-to-door contacts, millions of phone calls, robust digital engagement and other activities to get out the vote will counteract the efforts of billionaires and corporations to elect leaders who would answer only to the wealthy few.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy. More information at www.seiu.org.
SPRINGFIELD, MA – On the eve of what is expected to be a final negotiation session with agency management, the Springfield City Council voted unanimously Monday to support front-line clinicians and crisis workers in their fight for quality mental health care at the local branch of Clinical & Support Options (CSO). Authored by Council Vice President Orlando Ramos, the resolution sends a clear message that the City of Springfield stands with mental health workers who provide critical care – urging agency managers to return to the table “to reach a fair resolution that appropriately values these vital services and those who provide them.”
“The opioid epidemic is at the forefront of the local and national debate. These are the people who provide the services we need to tackle that crisis,” said City Council Vice President Orlando Ramos at Monday’s meeting. “We’re calling on Clinical & Support Options to negotiate in good faith with mental health and crisis workers – to value their important work.”
The Springfield resolution marks the latest call in a growing public outcry over the taxpayer-funded agency’s refusal to value essential mental health and crisis services in Western Massachusetts. City Councilors in Northampton unanimously passed their own resolution in support of CSO mental health workers in September, following similar action by the Greenfield Town Council in August. Community members throughout the region have sent more than 1,500 messages of concern to the agency’s Board of Directors and CEO as well.
“As mental health and crisis workers, we’re out in the community every single day working with some of Springfield’s most at-risk and vulnerable populations,” said Chassity Crowell-Miller, an outpatient clinician based at CSO’s Springfield facility. “This resolution sends a clear message that our elected leaders understand the importance of our work, and believe CSO must do more to support us in our efforts to keep communities safe and healthy.”
Clinicians and crisis workers staged their first demonstrations outside agency facilities in April to draw attention to near-poverty wages and severe workplace stress at CSO – serious challenges that have spurred high turnover that jeopardize the continuity and quality of client care. Agency managers rejected all attempts to address these grave issues in the ensuing months, ultimately leading to July’s three-day strike for quality care.
“The fact that these people are doing such critical work in our community and earning less than $15 an hour is unacceptable,” said Councilor Melvin Edwards. “The least CSO management can do is negotiate in good faith and come to a fair resolution.”
Despite public calls for action, Clinical & Support Options managers have refused to engage in meaningful dialogue over the serious challenges faced by the taxpayer-funded agency. The non-profit’s CEO, Karin Jeffers, has yet to attend a single negotiation session with front-line staff. A final negotiation session has been scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, October 6.
More than 350 clinicians and crisis workers at Clinical & Support Options provide vital services to over 14,000 at-risk children and families each year – from emergency mental health interventions and gang violence prevention to sexual abuse trauma and addiction treatment. With operations in Amherst, Athol, Florence, Greenfield, Northampton, Orange, Pittsfield and Springfield, their work is critical to the safety and wellbeing of families in more than 100 cities and towns throughout Western Massachusetts.
– ### –
Last fall, a vast majority of voters across the Commonwealth approved the Earned Sick Time ballot initiative. This critical legislation guarantees that every worker can earn up to 40 hours of sick time each year to care for themselves or the health of their families.
Despite overwhelming support in his own district and beyond, Senator Mike Rodrigues (Westport) is attempting to delay implementation of Earned Sick Time for working families. If his amendment is successful, more than a million workers could stand to lose a paycheck — or even their jobs — just for falling ill or needing to care for a sick child.
The vote on this amendment is coming up soon, so it is important that our Representatives and Senators hear from us right away. We need to send a clear message that Amendment 19 — and all other attempts to roll back Earned Sick Time for working families — must be defeated. Please take a moment to contact your Representative and Senator today.
The Yes on Question 4 coalition issued the following statement about Question 4, which was approved by Massachusetts voters November 4 — and will ensure access to earned sick time for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families.
“Ted Kennedy said that ‘no one should have to choose between the job they need and the family they love.’ With passage of earned sick time, no parent in Massachusetts will be forced to choose between going to work to put food on the table and staying home to take care of a sick child. No worker will risk losing their job because they need to see a doctor.
This vote shows that the people of Massachusetts fundamentally believe that the ability to care and provide for themselves and family members is a right, not a privilege. Earned sick time will help small businesses succeed by making employees healthier and more productive, and will keep money in the hands of consumers who spend it in their neighborhoods, helping grow our local economies. For the almost one million workers in Massachusetts who today can’t take a single day of paid sick time, this vote is a major victory.”
When it takes effect on July 1, 2015, Question 4 will guarantee every worker in Massachusetts access to the benefit of earned sick time, and prohibit employer retaliation against workers who take time off due to illness.
Along with SEIU Local 509, Question 4 was supported by over 250 community organizations, religious groups, labor unions, businesses, and civic leaders, including the state’s leading hospitals and healthcare providers and the Alliance for Business Leadership — a group of 200 business leaders.
Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of more than 100 community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions, collected more than 360,000 signatures to put Question 4 and a minimum wage increase on the ballot. In June, the Legislature passed and Governor Patrick signed legislation giving Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country. Raise Up Massachusetts then led the campaign to ensure access to earned sick time for all workers in the Commonwealth by passing Question 4.