Division of Transitional Assistance

At the Division of Transitional Assistance, Local 509 represents workers who determine eligibility for the following programs: Transitional Aid to Families with Developing Children (TAFDC), Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – food stamps). They also make the appropriate referrals to various programs.

Workers at the Department of Housing and Community Development determine eligibility for homeless benefits.

Important documents for DTA members:

With a 93.5% YES vote, SEIU 509 State Workers approve their new contract!

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Congratulations! With a 93.5% YES vote, SEIU 509 state workers just ratified their tentative agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
YES NO
UNIT 8 93.4% 6.6%
UNIT 10 97.3% 2.7%
Total 93.5% 6.5%

Over the past year, members stood in solidarity with the union bargaining committee and took action at work sites. As a result, SEIU 509 state workers won a new contract that offers more pay, more job security and better working conditions.

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Some highlights include:

  • Pay increases for three years, including a retroactive wage increase for 2017,
  • Preservation of sick time,
  • Longer vacation periods, and
  • Grievance process improvements.
There are also additional contract language improvements throughout the agreement, including agency-specific language gains for several different chapters.
 
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Thank you members for your hard work and for supporting the bargaining team throughout these negotiations. It was the members and their co-workers who proved that when we stand together as a union, we win!
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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 the last calendar year. From this year’s pool of qualified applicants, winners were drawn at random.
Congrats to all the winners, and stay tuned for information about next year’s application process!

Daniel Connerty, DOC
Danielle Henry, DTA
Diana Pereira-Velez, DTA
Ethel Everett, DCF
Euphemia Molina, DCF
Italienne Guillaume, Bridgewell
Johnson Odewale, DMH
Joyce Girardi, DMH
Kevin Higgins, Old Colony Elder Services
Kimberly Daughtry, MassHealth
Kristen Tully, DCF
Lisa Rooney, DDS
Lori Cassier, DCF
Michael Grow, DMH
Paul Kelly, DTA
Raymond Obeng, DDS
Stephanie Klink, MRC/DDS Worcester
Stephen Beloa, Bridgewell
Tiana Davis, Masshealth
Umberto Uku, Bridgewell

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DTA Stewards’ Council Meetings: May 19, June 28 and July 20

Get involved in our shared effort to improve working conditions and strengthen services!

Do you have an issue you’d like to see addressed at your local DTA office? Are there challenges you face on the job — or deficiencies that affect client services? If so, we hope you’ll get involved in our union’s Stewards’ Council at the Department of Transitional Assistance.

The Stewards’ Council was formed to improve communication among front-line staff at DTA — and to build a network of leaders who are equipped with the tools and resources needed to tackle the tough challenges at our agency.

To help kick off our effort, we’re hosting a series of regional meetings to share information, develop outreach strategies and discuss opportunities for change. The first session is coming up May 19, but there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the coming months. Details below — all DTA union members are welcome!

UPCOMING DTA STEWARDS’ COUNCIL MEETINGS

North Shore & Merrimack Offices
Thursday, May 19 at 10:00AM
SEIU Local 509 – 100 Talcott Ave, 2nd Fl – Watertown

Boston & Metro Offices
Thursday, June 28 at 10:00AM
SEIU Local 509 – 100 Talcott Ave, 2nd Fl – Watertown

Western Mass Offices
Wednesday, July 20 at 10:00AM
Location TBD – Springfield

(monthly meetings begin in August and September)


If you’re interested in attending an upcoming session, please contact us at michelle.auterio@state.ma.us or keisha.copeland@state.ma.us. And, as always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or ideas you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

In solidarity,

Keisha & Michelle
DTA Stewards’ Council, SEIU Local 509

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Take Action to Support Safety Measures at Worcester DTA

It’s no secret that safety has become an increasing concern at DTA Offices around the state. Security personnel logged early 600 incidents that required attention last quarter — incidents that could endanger both workers and clients, many of whom are families with young children.

Of particular concern is the increasingly unsafe environment at the Worcester Transitional Assistance Office. Over the last three months, nearly a third of all incidents statewide occurred at this single office — in the lobby, meeting spaces, hallways and parking lots. Several situations took place in and around workers’ cubicles.

As front-line staff, our number one priority is to help at-risk children, parents and seniors meet their basic needs and improve their overall quality of life. We know DTA can’t be successful in this mission if our services aren’t delivered in a safe, secure and family-friendly environment. 

That’s why we’re pushing hard to improve safety for workers and clients in Worcester and other DTA offices around the state. 


There are two key ways you can take action:

1. Sign the open letter to DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue
We’re asking Commissioner McCue to make a formal request to the legislature, asking for funds specifically devoted to metal detectors and other critical safety upgrades. With the uptick in worrisome incidents in Worcester and elsewhere, we need to send a clear message that action is needed. Click here to add your name.

2. Join us at our State House Lobby Day April 14
The state budget process is underway, so now is the time to push our legislators to fund security improvements in in Worcester and other troubled offices throughout the Commonwealth. 

On Thursday, April 14, we’ll gather at 10:00am at the Church on the Hill before heading in to meet with our Representatives and Senators. Together with fellow SEIU509 human services workers and educators, we’ll urge our elected leaders to take action on a host of key budget priorities and initiatives. Sign up here to attend.


There is nothing more important than ensuring safe spaces to connect the children and families we serve with the services they need. We hope you’ll add your name to the open letter today — and take action with us at the State House April 14!

As always, if you have any further questions, please contact your local Union Steward or a member of the DTA Chapter Leadership Team. 

Sincerely, 

Central Region VP Bob Sinni and the rest of the DTA Team

Arthur Casey, DTA Chapter President
Cheri Antelo, Southeast Region VP
Sonrisa Haynes, Boston Region VP
Joseph Malone, North Shore VP
Kirsten Myallaked, Western Region VP
Mark Williams, Merrimack Valley & Malden VP 

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Important Update on DTA Overtime & Scheduling

Follow These Instructions to File Your Overtime Grievance

As you may know, our union leadership team met yesterday with Chief Operating Officer Tom Massimo to discuss the overtime directive that was sent out by email this past Tuesday, February 2. At this meeting, Massimo again stated that the offered overtime is only for BERS A/B workers and BERS C SNAP Supervisors. 

Massimo also told us to “do what we had to do” in response to the directive — and we intend to do exactly that. At this time, we feel the best response is to file individual grievances for each worker who wanted to work overtime, but was not allowed. We would like to be consistent in the filing of the grievances, so please follow the directions below. 

  1. Submit a revised schedule to your supervisor TODAY with the hours you wished to work on Saturday. 
  2. Your Supervisor or Manager should sign the schedule as “denied.” 
  3. Please make and keep a copy of the denied schedule for your records. (It is important for accounting reasons that you sign up for only the actual hours you would have wanted to work.)  
  4. Click here to download a template grievance form to sign. 
  5. Attach the completed grievance form to the denied revised schedule.
  6. Hand the finished packet to a Union Steward in your office. 

Again, please be sure to submit a revised schedule to your supervisor ASAP, and follow the instructions above to file your grievance. If you have any further questions, please contact your local Union Steward. 

Sincerely, 

Your DTA Leadership Team

Arthur Casey, DTA Chapter President
Cheri Antelo, Southeast Region VP
Sonrisa Haynes, Boston Region VP
Joseph Malone, North Shore VP
Kirsten Myallaked, Western Region VP
Roberto Sinni, Central Region VP
Mark Williams, Merrimack Valley & Malden VP

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ACTION NEEDED: Fight Back Against DTA Flextime Violations!

As you may know, Acting Commissioner Thomas Massimo recently sent an email stating that more DTA workers must stay until 5:00pm on more days — regardless of previous flextime arrangements. This action is a blatant attack on the long-standing flextime agreement between front-line staff and the Commonwealth — and our union is taking action to fight back.

Since the beginning of the DTA Business Process Redesign (BPR), management-led changes have been disorganized, rushed and completely detached from client and staffing needs needs on the ground. The disconnect between Electronic Data Management (EDM), phone queues and in-person queues have seriously hampered workers’ ability to meet client needs. The result: calls pile up, the backlog grows, and clients jam waiting rooms beyond capacity as they wait for service.

It is clear that the administration’s implementation of BPR is to blame for this worsening crisis — not front-line workers who are trying our best to assist clients and process the enormous backlog. Yet DTA administrators continue to shift the burden and hardship of their broken system onto workers and clients.

It’s time for all front-line DTA workers to stand up and speak out about the impact of this broken system. Here are three steps we are taking to fight back: 

  1. We have filed Class Action Grievances (covering all members statewide) on violation of our long-standing flextime agreements — and are pushing to expedite the grievance and arbitration process.
  2. We have brought these challenges to the forefront, in both Statewide Labor-Management and Impact Bargaining meetings — presenting concrete examples of the negative impact on clients and workers.
  3. We have launched an online petition to help front-line staff inform management of how these issues harm the agency’s core mission. Click here to add your name and make your voice heard!

 

We will continue to keep everyone updated with the latest developments on flextime and other issues related to Business Process Redesign. In the meantime, all of us at DTA need to work together during this challenging time. Please contact stewards in your office or anyone from the DTA union leadership team with questions, ideas or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

 

Your DTA Leadership Team

Arthur Casey, DTA Chapter President
Cheri Antelo, Southeast Region VP
Sonrisa Haynes, Boston Region VP
Joe Malone, North Shore VP
Kirsten Myallaked, Western Region VP
Roberto Sinni, Central Region VP
Mark Williams, Merrimack Valley & Malden VP

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DTA Leaders Raise the Stakes on the #CaseloadCrisis

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Leaders from the Dept. of Transitional Assistance chapter raised the stakes in this week’s Labor-Management meetings. Talk about making a point on the #CaseloadCrisis!

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Tell Your Legislators: Support Group 2 for DTA Caseworkers!

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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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