Private Sector Human Services

Local 509 members in the Private Sector Human Services Chapter provide a number of varied services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ranging from elder services to programs for those with developmental disabilities or living with mental illness, we provide the support and assistance that provide all of our state’s citizens to live independently and be important members of our community.


A Message from Our Chapter President

Greetings, Private Sector Human Services workers! Our chapter, one of sixteen chapters at Local 509, has recently increased to over 6,000 members, fully one third of the Local’s entire membership.

What’s in a name?
It can sound like Union jargon but what makes us Private Sector workers is that we work in privately owned agencies which receive most of their funding from the Commonwealth, unlike our Sisters and Brothers in the thirteen Public Sector chapters, who are State workers. The remaining two non-public chapters are the Family Child Care Providers and Early Educators chapter and our newest members we’ve been organizing in the Higher Ed chapter.

So who are we?
We provide a diverse group of services amongst our 39 agencies. Nearly 3,000 of our members work in thirteen agencies which exclusively provide services to people with developmental disabilities, in group homes, day programs, and independent living. Over 900 members at our largest agency, Eliot Community Human Services, provide a mix of services to DD, DMH, DCF, DYS/JJ (Juvenile Justice), Homeless clients and more. We have fourteen other agencies with close to 2,000 members who work in womens, family and community services while others provide child protection. We have clinicians and direct care workers in agencies dedicated to helping those with mental illnesses and addictions. Close to 500 members work with one of our most vulnerable populations, the aged, in home care elderly services settings.

How can I get more involved?
We are constantly striving to better our working lives, negotiating contracts to hopefully increase wages and our benefits. You can be proactive in the betterment of your personal lives by joining your contract negotiation team, or you can lift yourself up by attending the next Lobby Day, at the State House, on Thursday, April 14. We will send out more details but if you sign up, we can pay for you to miss work that day, or check your contract, some employers even pay for you to attend that important day, they want you to get more money from the Commonwealth. Talk to your field rep about becoming a union steward. Think about joining the PSHS CEB (Chapter Executive Board); we meet on the first Thursdays of the month at 6:30 pm, in Watertown. Contact me to learn more about this.

Maybe you’re interested in the big picture of the goings on at the Local? The Joint Executive Board (JEB) meets on the second Tuesdays of the month, in Milford, at 7 pm, except April 14, in Boston. The JEB is the governing body of the Local; this can be described as the board with the real movers and shakers of the entire Local.

Check the website,, and you’ll see a 509 Leadership Opportunities link on the first page. Check to see if your agency is represented on the PSHS CEB and even if it is, you can still join the board by running for an open Chapter Wide Seat. All elected seats, including the chapter president and vice-president, will become open for nominations at the Annual Meeting, Saturday, October 15. I will not be running again as I have reached the end of my term limits, two consecutive three-year terms. It has been a highly rewarding experience.

In Unity of Purpose,

Dennis MacDonald
Private Sector Human Services Chapter President

Local 509 Workers and CLASS, Inc. Management Reach Settlement to Raise Wages, Avoid Open-Ended Strike

After a long night of bargaining on Friday, SEIU Local 509 members at CLASS, Inc. have reached a settlement with management to raise wages at the Lawrence-based human services agency, and avoid an open-ended strike that was scheduled to begin …

Job Opening: Private Sector Coordinator

General Description of Position SEIU Local 509 is a fast growing union in Massachusetts representing 20,000 human service workers and educators in both the public and private sector. Our local is comprised of 5 sectors: state workers, private human service …

Workers at Human Service Options win major settlement

On the eve of a planned four-day strike at Human Service Options (HSO), SEIU Local 509 released the following statement: “After a late-breaking settlement with HSO management, members of Local 509 at HSO will work on Friday as scheduled. The …

Thank you for participating in the 2017 Annual Meeting!

Thank you for participating in the 2017 SEIU Local 509 Annual Meeting! At the 2017 Annual Meeting, we celebrated our important wins, learned about the challenges ahead, and plotted our course for the future: Heard how we are building our strength across Massachusetts Reconnected with union …

Direct Care Workers Building Momentum in Fight for Living Wage

String of major contract wins increasing pressure on taxpayer funded agencies to address crisis in care MARLBOROUGH, MA — At the midpoint of its historic contract campaign to raise wages for direct care workers in Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509 announced …

Averting Strike, Workers at CLASS, Inc. Take Major Step Toward Quality Care & Good Jobs

Tentative agreement reached under increasing pressure on the agency to avoid strike LAWRENCE — In a major step toward addressing the low wages and staff turnover plaguing CLASS, Inc., staff at the agency who directly care for individuals with disabilities …

Workers at CLASS, Inc. Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize Strike

Strike vote comes as SEIU Local 509 fights to bring private sector human services workers to $15/hour     LAWRENCE — SEIU Local 509 members at CLASS, Inc. have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, in the midst of stalemated …

509’s Elise Simpson in the Worcester Telegram

A leader within 509’s MRC chapter, Elise Simpson, wrote a letter to the editor that was featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. In the letter, Elise responds to a recent story shining a light on private human service agencies spending a …

Congrats to all 2017 scholarship winners!

Each year, our SEIU Local 509 Scholarship Program funds more than a dozen educational scholarship awards for fellow members and their dependents. Each of these scholarships range from $1,000 to $1,500 — many awards are based on member’s demonstrated commitment to the union’s growth over …

Worcester Telegram: Senate backs caregiver wage hike after union raps CEO pay growth

By Brad Petrishen Telegram & Gazette Staff A new union-backed report rapping CEO salary growth at nonprofits that provide human services – including the Seven Hills Foundation of Worcester – has spurred a local lawmaker to seek pay increases for …

NEW REPORT: State Funding Increases Going to CEO Pay Over Direct Care Workers

As Senate considers amending Chapter 257, research uncovers provider organizations padding CEO pay, admin costs with funding increases Provider organizations, economists, and policymakers agree that Massachusetts faces a workforce crisis in human services. Yet a new report released today by …

Remembering Our 509 Sister Lisa Goncalves

On April 2, 2017, we lost one of our most active union members from the Private Sector Human Services Chapter, Lisa Silva Goncalves. She was an officer on the Joint Executive Board, a single mom of two young girls who, …

Union Leadership Opportunities

Para leer más información en español, haga clic aquí.  Nominations will be accepted until Wednesday September 5, 2018 at noon. Below you will find the list of opportunities to serve on the SEIU 509 Unionwide Trustee, Joint Executive Board (JEB) and Chapter Executive …

Boston Globe Editorial | Mandate treatment, funding for mentally ill

NANCY CHIERO WAS as devoted as she was patient with her son Lee. The 35-year-old Uxbridge man had spent his life struggling with psychotic delusions, which would periodically send him to the emergency room for a prescription for medications. Those …


CONTRACTS: ServiceNet 2016-20 STEWARDS: Faith Rockwood – REACH Program  

SEIU’s Henry: Trump Dept of Labor nominee Puzder dead wrong for America’s working families

WASHINGTON—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement on President-elect Trump’s intended nomination of Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, to be Secretary of Labor: “With the intended nomination of Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor, President-elect …

CONGRATS to our new leadership team!

The results are in! With all votes tallied, SEIU Local 509 members have elected our next leadership team. Peter MacKinnon will serve as president of our union, alongside Israel Pierre as our treasurer and Ivette Hernandez as our recording secretary. (See …

Elder Services of Berkshire County

CONTRACTS: Berkshire County Elder Services 2016-19 STEWARD:  Bill Mash:

New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT)


509 on the move | 509 en movimiento

Beginning Monday, September 19, the SEIU 509 headquarters has relocated to 293 Boston Post Road West in Marlborough, Mass. Click here for new contact information for Local staff and elected leaders.