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.
State contract negotiations are already in full swing, and Local 509 members are more prepared than ever for the potential fight ahead. Dozens of leaders prepped at Bargaining Team caucus meetings, and more than 1,700 members responded to our contract survey –- sharing their ideas, concerns and priorities for the upcoming negotiation sessions. This trove of information will serve as the foundation for many of the proposals we put forward in the coming weeks, and we are fired up and ready to go!
The first Alliance Contract negotiation session took place on July 31, and Local 509 members put their solidarity on full display. Thousands of state workers rocked their ‘Fair Contract NOW’ stickers to send management a clear message: let’s get this thing done! (Check out the Local 509 Facebook Page to see a few of the many photos members sent in throughout the day.)
With so much at stake in this contract — from wages to benefits to working conditions — it’s incredibly important that as many workers as possible get engaged in the negotiation process. A quick and easy way to get involved is to sign up for the Contract Action Team (CAT) for your chapter/worksite. As a CAT member, you’ll communicate important negotiation updates to co-workers at your worksite and help mobilize members for key contract actions as the process moves forward.
Workers have set a goal of building a 750-member CAT team in the coming weeks, so there’s no shortage of opportunities to make a difference. Together we can win a strong contract for all state workers!
Today, Wednesday the 15th, we will be filing suit against the Department of Mental Health in Suffolk County Superior Court. With this lawsuit, we are looking to secure the re-hire of the DMH case managers that were laid off in 2009.
During the privatization of case management duties in 2009, the department ignored their responsibilities under the state’s privatization regulations, commonly known as the Pacheco Law. The layoff of over 100 DMH case managers has had a serious impact on the services that individuals with mental illness receive in our state.
With the support of our allies at the Disability Law Center, MPower, mental health caregivers in the Local 509 Private Sector Human Services chapter, and the whole of Local 509, the DMH chapter is hopeful that these case managers will be re-hired.
Follow these links to view our press release and the details of the lawsuit
As the lawsuit progresses, we will work stewards and local union officers to get updates to the membership.
STATE HOUSE NEWS – Thirteen members of a task force convened after community-based mental health worker Stephanie Moulton was murdered in January are calling on the state to significantly increase funding in next year’s state budget.
In a letter Wednesday to Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, the task force members say their recommendations, released in June, point to the link between public funding of the mental health services system, the safety of workers and the quality of services provided to individuals with mental illnesses. The letter, signed by officials representing SEIU 509, the Pine Street Inn, The Providers’ Council and other groups, said funding increases beyond a $20 million increase this fiscal year are necessary over five years to implement the task force’s recommendations. Describing a system they say has been “decimated” and will take years to rebuild, signers cited a National Alliance on Mental Illness report asserting overall funding for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has been cut by more than $55 million since fiscal 2009.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services will host a 2 p.m. hearing Friday on fiscal 2013 budget issues at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. 4:20 p.m.
Dear Chapter Members,
This year, 2011, has been a busy one for the DMH Chapter. We have been working on several issues. Ensuring safety in the workplace and healthy environmental work conditions has been a priority.
Some uplifting news for our members:
Due to the great work and the long hours and efforts of energetic members, stewards, and Chapter leaders, we were able to successfully achieve the results mentioned above. Thank you.
I also want to express my gratitude to Local 509 for the unconditional support to our Chapter. All of the good results we’ve seen in the past year have been due to the hard work of the Executive Board members. Special thanks to the Chairs and Committee Members: Mary Stanton, Sheelagh O’Connor, Jane Malkiewich, Robert Carey, Cassadra Sampas, and Noel Johnson.
As always, I am interested in hearing from you about the issues that are vital to us.
Today, state workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contract!
3252 – YES
212 – NO
8 – blank
237 – YES
4 – NO
Thanks to all of the poll captains and volunteers who staffed the 26 balloting sites across the state. Your hard work was instrumental in making today’s vote a smooth process.
To see the details of the newly ratified settlement, click here to read the Memorandum of Understanding