Organizing Committee

When Local 509 members are sworn in as officers of the union they pledge “that I will work to the best of my ability to provide effective and responsible leadership and representation to the members, including organizing the unorganized workers within my jurisdiction.

The Organizing Committee is a way for members of the union to take an active role in bringing new members into our union.

SEIU’s Henry: Trump Dept of Labor nominee Puzder dead wrong for America’s working families

Mary Kay Henry

Mary Kay Henry, SEIU President

WASHINGTON—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement on President-elect Trump’s intended nomination of Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, to be Secretary of Labor:

“With the intended nomination of Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor, President-elect Trump has once again shown how out-of-touch he is with what working Americans need. Working families, including those who elected him, issued a mandate for economic change because they are sick and tired of working longer and harder than ever but still struggling to build a better future for their families. Puzder has proven he doesn’t support working people: he opposes raises to the minimum wage, even though every time Americans have been called to vote for raises on the ballot, they always do.

“Throughout his career, Andrew Puzder has shown he does not believe in the dignity of all work and has used his position to line his own pockets at the expense of workers. In 2012, Puzder made $4.4 million, a full 291 times more than the average food worker. He doesn’t support measures that would help families who work hard build a better life, such as the overtime rule, which would put more money in the pockets of millions of workers for the extra work they do. He wants machines to replace workers because robots ‘never take a vacation’ – even though robots can not ever replace the work that people do. He has stood with Republican congressional leaders who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act – even though his underpaid workers and millions of working Americans depend on it for healthcare.

“Working Americans aren’t fooled by the anti-worker Trump-Puzder vision for America. They know it threatens their ability to have a voice and to provide for their families. That is why millions of American workers continue to come together through the Fight for $15 movement to make President-elect Trump and his administration deal with our economic reality. Together, workers in the Fight for $15 movement have made the kind of economic change America is crying out for by paving the way for 20 million people to get a raise. SEIU members will not back down, we will stay in the streets to fight back against anti-worker extremism and we will not stop until all work in valued and every community in America has the opportunity to thrive.”

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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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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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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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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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Lesley Adjunct Faculty Vote ‘Union YES,’ Join Adjunct Action/SEIU

Adjunct Action Boston LogoLesley University Adjunct Faculty Vote to Form Union, Join Colleagues at Tufts in Adjunct Action/SEIU

Lesley University adjunct faculty have resoundingly voted to form a union in Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The victory marks the second time in five months that adjunct faculty at Boston-area universities have formed a union to improve their profession and the quality of education.

Adjuncts teaching across Lesley’s four campuses stood together and overwhelmingly supported a union on campus by voting 359 to 67 to join SEIU.  The votes for the all-mail ballot election were counted at the Boston office of the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.

The win reflects an 84 percent vote in favor of forming a union – a landslide victory for adjuncts, and the entire Lesley community. Matthew White graduated from and now teaches graphic design at Lesley. He said, “Teaching is a passion for me.  Seeing students transform their ways of thinking and doing is what it’s all about.  With part-time faculty making up the majority of faculty, our working conditions are directly related to student success and that’s why I’m excited about forming our union today. Our union will help Lesley University provide students a richer experience and better education. “

This shift to a contingent faculty workforce in higher education has been dramatic. In the early 1970s, almost 80 percent of faculty were tenured or on the tenure track. Today, only 33 percent of faculty remain in tenured or tenure-track jobs. As a result, being a university professor, once the quintessential middle class job, has become a low wage one where instructors face low pay and no benefits or job security. Many do not even have access to basic facilities like office space, making it increasingly difficult for adjuncts to do their best for their students.

Lesley adjunct instructor Shira Karman said, “We, the adjunct faculty at Lesley, voted to form our union to be seen and respected as a vital part of the Lesley community.   Today marks a new day for us and the Lesley community.  I’m thankful for the heartening support from all corners of campus; full-time faculty, students, alumni and our local elected officials who stood with us as we voted to form our union.”

Over the past few months, adjunct and part-time faculty from coast to coast have engaged in conversations about forming their own union to raise standards for private, non-profit universities. Tufts University part-time faculty voted to join SEIU in September 2013 and are currently bargaining their first contract.  In December, adjunct faculty at Whittier College in Los Angeles voted to form a union with Adjunct Action.  Last Thursday, contingent faculty at Seattle University in Washington State filed an election petition with the NLRB.

The efforts to form unions come on the heels of victories by part-time professors in the Washington, D.C. area. There, contingent faculty significantly improved their pay, job security, benefits and working conditions after forming a union with SEIU.

Lesley adjuncts are joining a national movement to address the crisis in higher education where jobs are increasingly low wage and part time even while revenues and profits are increasing. Lesley adjunct Norah Dooley said, “Lesley is exceptional in the way it cares for its students as human beings. As an Alumna of Lesley, I love my alma mater yet I wish Lesley was equally as exceptional in its treatment of its adjunct faculty.  Teaching one course at Lesley does not even cover the costs of health insurance for me and my family during the 13 week semester.  While the crisis in higher education is complex, it is not intractable. Our overwhelming “yes” vote to form our union with SEIU/Adjunct Action is a great start on a solution. Adjuncts are raising standards not just for adjuncts and not just for Lesley. I truly believe we are raising the bar for all in higher education. Alumni like me want to see Lesley University take a leadership role in this movement.”

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Adjunct Action is a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest and fastest growing union and home to over 18,000 unionized college and university teaching faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to retirement benefits. For more information, visit www.adjunctaction.org.

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Merrimack Valley Human Service Workers Vote ‘Union Yes!’ at NuPath, Inc.

NuPath Workers Celebrate their VictoryIn yet another victory for workers’ rights in the Bay State, a majority of direct care workers at Woburn-based NuPath, Inc. overwhelmingly voted ‘Union Yes!’ in their recent election. The win caps off Merrimack Valley service providers’ aggressive, months-long effort to secure better pay, safer working conditions and a greater voice in the workplace. With the December vote, more than 200 front-line service providers joined the Massachusetts Human Service Workers Union, SEIU Local 509 – marking the union’s second successful organizing drive in the Merrimack Valley in 2013.

With core facilities in Woburn and dozens of independent living locations in Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Lexington, Lincoln, Lynnfield, Medford, Reading, Tewksbury, Westford and Wilmington, NuPath, Inc. provides services to hundreds of individuals people living with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and acquired brain injuries. From day habilitative care to independent living support, human service workers at NuPath play a vital role in communities throughout the Merrimack Valley, yet many earn close to minimum wage and see limited opportunities for training or advancement. The conditions led workers to seek – and win – a greater voice in the workplace with SEIU Local 509.

“This is a major win for direct care staff at NuPath, who have worked tirelessly to secure the voice they deserve on the job,” said Susan Tousignant, president of the Massachusetts Human Service Workers Union, SEIU Local 509. “Human service workers at NuPath play a vital role in the community – meeting the needs of families throughout the Merrimack Valley. We are proud to welcome them to the Massachusetts Human Service Workers Union.”

 

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Tufts Adjunct Faculty Vote ‘Union Yes’ to Join AdjunctAction/SEIU

Adjunct faculty at Tufts University have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a forming union with Adjunct Action/SEIU. Ballots were counted today at the National Labor Relations Board, and the victory was announced this afternoon. The win sets the table for contract negotiations at Tufts.

“This victory is exciting and important for the entire Tufts University community. I’m happy that my part-time colleagues and I will have a greater say in making Tufts an even better place to work and to learn,” said Carol Wilkinson, a part-time lecturer who has taught at Tufts since 1986.

Instructors at Tufts, Bentley, Northeastern University, and other Boston area colleges and universities are part of a growing movement of adjunct and contingent faculty coming together for a voice in their profession and in the future of higher education.

The victory comes after adjuncts in Georgetown University in formed a union with SEIU in May, joining DC faculty who formed unions at American University, George Washington University, and Montgomery College. In addition to adjunct organizing efforts in Boston, campaigns are underway in Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Seattle.

“Now that we’ve won our union at Tufts, we’ll be preparing for the collective bargaining process that is the only hope for achieving a measure of democracy, balance, and fairness in the academic workplace,” said Tufts part-time faculty member Andy Klatt.  This is an important victory for part-time faculty at Tufts and an encouraging step in the movement to organize contingent faculty across the country.”

Voting is currently underway at Bentley University, where ballots will be counted on October 4th. Jack Dempsey, an adjunct professor at Bentley and a member of the organizing committee there, expressed his support for Tufts.

“We want to congratulate the part-time faculty at Tufts University on their campaign to unionize and stand up for the value that they contribute to their school and students,” he said. “When we win our vote to unionize on October 4th, we’ll be thinking of you and thinking ahead to a regional and national effort with our sisters and brothers at Tufts and other schools. The day of our second-rate status is ending, and a new one is on the horizon.”

For more information on SEIU’s Adjunct Action campaign, visit www.adjunctaction.org.

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