Department of Public Health

Local 509 members at the Department of Public Health perform a variety of tasks in for the department, and are primarily Licensed Social Workers or Human Services Coordinators. Due to the expertise and dedication of our members, we continue to make significant progress considering the ever-present challenges that we encounter daily.

About 60% of Licensed Social Workers provide clinical and social support in hospital settings while others work in the communities. Many provide services such as discharge planning for those clients who are hospitalized, assist clients to obtain health insurance coverage, assist with placement issues, immigrations issues, legal issues, family issues, and many other tasks.

Human Services Coordinators work in various institutions like prisons and hospitals or may primarily work in the communities of our state. When needed, a consortium of services providers are assigned to a task, some of which are:

  • In a hospital settings with high risk populations – They function as Milieu Therapists. They provide services to clients with behavior problems that other hospitals are unable to manage by doing therapeutic groups and interventions. They are expected to respond to all DPH behavioral emergencies including code greens.
  • With substance abuse clients, they provide rehabilitation education, as well as assisting them to locate a proper programs that fit their well-being needs.
  • In the prison settings they provide pastoral and spiritual care as well as moral support.
  • Many function as community outreach workers to provide support for homeless populations.
  • Others function in more clerical roles including admitting, billing, and assisting with insurance paperwork.

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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Alliance Contract Negotiations in Full Swing!

MRC Lowell Staff Rally for a Fair Contract

Workers at MRC Lowell were among the thousands of state employees wearing “Fair Contract NOW!” stickers on the first day of negotiations.

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!

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State Worker Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly

Today, state workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contract!

Voting Results:
Unit 8
3252 – YES
212 – NO
8 – blank
Unit 10
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

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