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!
Union Stewards are members like you who volunteer to help make a stronger and more effective Union. At the stewards training, you’ll receive training on how to make sure our contract is enforced and what you can do to stand up for your co-workers and help them stand up for themselves.
Come to the 2012 Annual Meeting
Saturday, October 27th
The Publick House – Sturbridge, MA (map)
Registration – 9:30am, Meeting Begins 10:00am
Click here to RSVP
This year our members have accomplished an amazing number of victories at work and at the State House. Through the tremendous efforts that many of you put in, we protected collective bargaining for state employees, moved Local 509 members into new retirement groups, got millions for private sector human service wages, created the opportunity for thousands of new Local 509 members, and accomplished many other victories for our members.
But we’re not done yet!
We’ve got a number of additional priorities for our membership in the upcoming year, and I invite you to join me and the rest of SEIU Local 509 as we lay our plan to win for Local 509 members and all working families in 2013.
President, SEIU Local 509
Click here for the list of officer vacancies to be filled at the annual meeting
The House and the Senate have both passed their state budgets for the upcoming year, but before the budget goes to Governor Patrick’s desk, the differences between the House and Senate versions need to be worked out. There are a number of issues that are very important to Local 509 members that are up for debate in the Conference Committee that works out the differences.
In order to make sure that our concerns are included in the final budget, we urge all members to contact their legislators to tell them how important these changes would be to them and the individuals that we work with. Click the links below to contact your legislators today.
- Prevent the Closure of Taunton State Hospital: Stop and Study – Calls for a comprehensive study of the actual mental health services available in our state and what is needed before we allow the closure of Taunton State Hospital or cuts to any other services.
- Human Services Salary Reserve – Provides a long overdue pay increase for private sector human service workers, most of whom make $9-$10 an hour. A Salary Reserve is vital as well because it includes language that requires that salary reserve increases be above and beyond any already negotiated pay increases.
- Increase DTA Funding – As caseloads continue to rise at DTA, it is vital that we have the staff to process these requests in an efficient and accurate manor.
- DDS FY13 budget priorities – Service Coordinators provide case management, safety, monitoring and oversight for the DDS population. Since 2008, 82 Service Coordinator positions have been lost — despite increases in the population of vulnerable citizens that need these services.
Last month a number of Local 509 members were honored for their contributions in last year’s tornado recovery efforts. Congratulations to Nancy Butler (DDS) and Carmen Rosa, Ana Muller, Tina Cookish, Igdalia Morales, and Diane Niemiro (all from DTA) for receiving the honor!
Click here to read the state’s press release on their honor