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.
- 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.
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!
On Wednesday June 27, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the Union Office in Watertown there will be an open meeting to review the two pending Memorandums of Understanding with the Department of Correction. Following the meeting (tentatively around July 6th) we will be mailing the ballots for the member’s ratification. This process will allow the membership the full measure of understanding of the Memorandums and the process. If you have any questions, please contact any of your E-Board members for further clarification.
Kenny Gorman - Chapter President
Changes continue at a regular pace in agencies under the governance of the Chapter on Public Safety. Parole has seen operational changes along with several new members. This past year saw a proposal from the Governor to consolidate all children services which would have a direct impact on the Department of Youth Services. A process the Chapter has been monitoring closely. A new Commissioner is on board at Corrections with a number of recent management changes.
The merger of children service, with consequences for DYS, initially appeared to be on a fast track. Although recently movement has not been as pronounced. More recently we were able to address concerns of the Clinical Social Workers in the agency. The addition of a new Parole Board Chair and several new members has resulted in operational changes which effect not only Parole but Corrections as well. We will be working with the Chapter’s representatives in Parole to address those changes.
For the first time unions were at the table during the selection process for a new DOC Commissioner. This gave the unions the opportunity to express our concerns and hopes in a commissioner. It also gave the Chapter exposure to several community stakeholders in Corrections. Initially it appears our new commissioner has heard some of those concerns. The Labor/Management process has been more open and fruitful, he has established increased communication and involvement with the union.
There are a number of efforts moving forward within the Chapter. We have established a Workload Committee to address overlapping duties and outdated procedures. We will also address workloads in general, and the direct impact on providing needed services. The Chapter has been closely monitoring the more recent DOC transfer and promotions to ensure compliance with the contract and Civil Service.
Corrections recently graduated over twenty new CPOs from the Academy. We are looking at another twenty some in the upcoming class and will be working with the Commissioner for additional positions in a proposed class early next year. Staffing will continue to be a prime concern of the union.
The Chapter is also working with the DOC to initiate a mediation program. The Department has secured funding for this program which will hopefully address individual conflicts before they requires management and union attention. The chief mediator was at a recent Chapter meeting outlining the program and emphasizing it’s confidential nature.
The Chapter and Local will be closely monitoring Pension Reform legislation presently in the legislature. Public hearings have increased at the State House in recent weeks. We will continue to testify and lobby on behalf of Chapter related legislation. We will also be closely monitoring a “special commissioner” resulting from a outside section of the budget. This commission calls for a review of the “criminal justice system” which could directly impact both Parole and DOC.
Finally I would like to thank all the Chapter Board members and stewards for their efforts. It is only through their effort that we are able to be more effective.
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