SEIU 509’s Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission chapter is in arbitration with management because they laid off 23 workers. SEIU 509 believes that their rights were violated under Article 18. Our union is fighting in court to get their jobs back.
In addition, our union is challenging management’s attempt to close offices. We want to keep offices in the communities to make our services accessible to the individuals we serve. Many of our consumers rely on public transportation and desire a safe place for counselors to meet with their clients. Finding a safe, confidential space in the community to meet with consumers is difficult.
This year, SEIU 509 successfully reversed an attempt by management to lower our educational standards. Management wanted Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to be hired with a Bachelor’s Degree. Our clients deserve to work with Master’s level counselors with knowledge about disabilities.
Plus, our union wants to change or eliminate Disability Determination Services core hours. DDS requires our members to be at their desk or on break from 9:30-11:30 AM and from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Instead, we are working with management to roll out an alternative work options (AWO) program.
Finally, we want the MRC Commissioner to meet and communicate more effectively with our members.
By fighting for these issues, we are ensuring that we have more manageable caseloads and smoother labor-management relationship to offer high-quality, effective and efficient services to the public. Thank you MRC members for your hard work and participation to date!
MRC Chapter President David Zbikowski
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.
Some highlights include:
SEIU 509 will continue to watch and speak out to ensure that the GIC doesn’t try to take these benefits away again.
BOSTON – SEIU Local 509 President Peter MacKinnon today issued the following statement on the GIC’s announcement that they will abandon plans to take away health care plans from 200,000 people:
“We’re relieved that the GIC is preparing to undo their incredibly misguided decision, and we thank Governor Baker for stepping in to fix this disaster. We also thank Attorney General Healey, Speaker DeLeo, and Senate President Chandler for their leadership in opposing a move that was throwing tens of thousands of Massachusetts families into crisis.
“The GIC’s move would have forced working people and their families to find new doctors and other medical providers, go to the back of waiting lists for their children’s treatment, and spend valuable time trying to preserve the quality of their healthcare. In the last week, hundreds of SEIU Local 509 members called the Governor, spoke to their legislators, and attended the GIC’s hearings to protest this decision. We’re glad their voices were heard.”
Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies
SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout Massachusetts. We provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational services in both public and private sector settings. From mental health clinicians and social workers to early childhood educators and university lecturers, Local 509 members are united in our mission to raise living standards for working families while improving the quality and affordability of the services we provide. SEIU Local 509 is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. Focused on uniting workers in four sectors –- public services, long term care, property services, and hospital systems — SEIU is the nation’s largest health care union, the largest property services union, and the second-largest public employee union.
|North Central||Andrea Helie|
|Gina Surabian (Heck)|
|South Valley (Southbridge)||Aaron Glazebrook|
|South Valley (Milford)||Lauren Knapp|
|I & E||Nora Hardy|
|Adaptive Designers||Prateek Rajbhandari|
|Residential Supervisor||Robbin Egge|
|Regional Vice-Presidents||Tina Simmerman|
Some of your DDS colleagues are working together to keep 509 members in the loop about important updates and opportunities to step up and speak out! Here’s a short video update for DDS members, and check this space for future updates.
Last month, we put out the call for all members to wear purple in solidarity with state worker contract bargaining and the DDS chapter led the way! Check out the full set of photos by liking SEIU 509’s page on Facebook and make sure to tag yourselves!
As the conference committee budget heads to Governor Baker’s desk, SEIU Local 509 released the following statement lauding the inclusion of a critical safety measure for social workers at the Department of Children and Families. Effective upon the Governor’s signature, DCF social workers will be able to use state-issued identification for all DCF business, protecting workers’ home addresses from becoming public record.
The following statement is attributable to Adriana Zwick, a social worker and SEIU Local 509 DCF Chapter President:
“Social workers at DCF dedicate their careers to keeping at-risk kids safe from abuse and neglect, and unfortunately, it can be a dangerous profession. Too often in the course of our work, social workers are forced to provide personal information, like our home address, when we visit our clients in hospitals, correctional facilities, or schools. Being forced to provide our personal information poses a safety risk to social workers and their families.
“This measure keeps social workers’ personal information personal and helps protect their safety by allowing the use of state issued identification when carrying out DCF work. We are grateful to Minority Leader Tarr, Senator DiDomenico, Representative O’Day, and the Baker administration for championing home address protection for DCF social workers.”