Since October 2010’s Annual Meeting, the Local 509 Organizing Department, working in conjunction with the Organizing Committee, has been on a roll. On December 14, 2010, workers from Sullivan & Associates (now renamed Guidewire) had their ballots counted. They won their union election in a landslide victory and are getting close to completing their first contract. When bargaining is done and their contract is ratified, we will be welcoming over 450 sisters and brothers who work in Mental Health and Developmentally Disabled programs in the Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield areas. Local 509 NOC-trained members were key in talking to workers throughout the organizing campaign as bosses tried to dissuade them from forming a union and 509 members were invaluable in the “Get Out The Vote” or “GOTV” efforts. Thanks to all of you who worked on this campaign.
In addition to Guidewire, Local 509 also had a huge success in winning the Bridgewell campaign, with nearly 700 workers voting Union YES! See the separate article in the Private Sector Human Chapter report on page 15.
In addition to the ten NOC (National Organizing Corps) trainings held in 2010, we also had two in 2011 that were tied to specific campaigns. Newly trained NOC members, as well as 2010 “NOC veterans,” have helped immeasurably with campaigns that, at press time, are not yet complete: the NLRB (National Labor Relation Board) found 34 violations in last year’s MHA (Mental Health Association) election so we are currently in the midst of trying to win a new election, by using a fairer system of voting, the mail ballot. A campaign at Alternatives Unlimited, an agency that cuts a wide swath through Central Massachusetts, from the Rhode Island to New Hampshire, is in full swing; their GOTV is supposed to be timed with the Annual Meeting.
We invite anyone who is interested in helping the union grow to attend a meeting, and see what we do. We meet every month, and the time/location of the meeting is on an alternating schedule. Contact Dennis MacDonald for more information. This is an opportunity to help others achieve what we may take for granted, e.g. “Just Cause” and rights to the grievance and arbitration procedures. Officers of Local 509 take a pledge, “to organize the unorganized workers.”