Issue #3  -  January 18th 2015

Watertown Firefighter Union Rally
Watertown Firefighter Union Rally
Watertown Firefighter Contract Standoff Continues 
Written by: Charlie Breitrose(Wicked Local)

The impasse between town officials and the Watertown firefighters continues after Town Councilors declined Tuesday night to reconsider their vote on the arbitration award on the fire union's contract.

Local 1347 had plenty of support Tuesday night, with nearly 400 people turning up for a rally in front of Town Hall before the meeting. The rally drew firefighters from around the state, and as far as Washington, D.C., and Texas. Members of other unions, including the SEIU and the Massachusetts Teachers Association also backed the Watertown firefighters.

Discrediting #BlackLivesMatter With Ambulance Concerns Is Disingenuous. Here's why.
Written by: Dr. Rebecca Hains

Boston-area #BlackLivesMatter protesters made national headlines by chaining themselves to roadway railings and 1,200-lb construction barrels, bringing traffic into Boston on I-93 N and S to a halt during the morning commute [last week].

...But today, I would like to explore a pattern that transcends whether the protest was right or wrong: the vociferous response from those who allege the protesters are endangering lives by making it more difficult for ambulances to get into the city. 


From my vantage point, analyzing the discourse, there are some signs that at least some of these comments aren't really about the ambulances. Rather than critiquing the protester's choice and asking if they considered emergency vehicles during their planning stages, they're using the idea of emergency access to disparage and insult the protesters.


Some people are using ambulances as a socially acceptable excuse to slam protesters with whom they disagree. It's not really about the ambulances or the medical emergencies: It's about a protest and a movement that some folks would never agree with, no matter what they do. This kind of hypocrisy is problematic. 


In addition to the problems we have during rush hour, anytime there is a Red Sox game, traffic from I-93 onto Storrow Drive and onto Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon Street, Brookline Avenue, and other major roads comes to a standstill. These are the roads used to access the Longwood Medical Area, which is in easy walking distance of Fenway Park. (The gridlock is not confined to Yawkey Way, as some who haven't worked in Longwood might believe.) 


During baseball season, ambulances are routinely prevented from reaching major Boston hospitals in an efficient manner. I wonder whether the people who are attempting to discredit the #BlackLivesMatter protest also speak out against the Red Sox and their fans for blocking traffic? After all, although the intent of the Red Sox fans and these protesters differ, the outcome is the same: Predictable though Red Sox traffic may be, emergencies are by nature unpredictable, and emergency vehicles do become stuck on their way to the Longwood Medical Area on game days. 



Housekeepers, Hotel Commonwealth Agree To Changes To Keep Work And Rooms Safe
Written by: UNITE HERE Local 26

Housekeepers at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston's Kenmore Square have reached an agreement with hotel management that will ease the workload of housekeepers who attend to rooms with kitchenettes. Housekeepers at the hotel-which overlooks Fenway Park-are members of Boston's UNITE HERE Local 26.

Written by: Chaz Bolte(We Party Patriots)

$2 million worth of new floors, walls, plumbing, lighting, fire alarms, sheetrock, paint, electrical and heating systems were installed to help these homeless folks, who had been placed in temporary shelters to keep them out of the cold.  The union workers, as many as 60 at a time, renovated the Department of Transportation's old sign shop into a premier facility that will house 100 people after this week's opening and 700 when renovations are fully complete.  


To safely complete the project on time three private contractors - Turner Construction, Suffolk Construction, and Gilbane - employed a team of union carpenters, pipefitters, plumbers, iron workers, electricians, and sprinkler fitters.  Touring the facility last week, Mayor Marty Walsh said the closure of the Long Island facility could "ultimately be a blessing."  He noted that the new state-of-the-art facility would also provide counseling and a range of services to help the homeless.  "I hope homeless people understand the care and compassion that went into building this place," Walsh said, "and that they know that people really care about the homeless in Boston."


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Union Group Sends Bogus Invitation to Meet with Provost

A group that supports the efforts of part-time faculty to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sent a bogus invitation "on behalf of the Provost" to a reception that the provost had planned to hold with those faculty members Wednesday evening. The fake invitation was sent to members of the BU community, including department chairs and administrative leadership, last Friday afternoon by John Griese (ENG'15). 

Griese's invitation, which urged "alumni, students, staff, and full-time faculty" to gather at the reception, included such sarcastic statements as "Refreshments will be served to the BU part-time faculty in lieu of pay raises, health benefits, and job security," and "This may be the first and last time the Provost holds a reception with part-time faculty."

University Provost Jean Morrison says the University is considering filing an unfair labor practices charge against the union.


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Workers At Nashoba Valley Medical Center Vote To Join 1199SEIU
Written by: 1199SEIU Massachusetts

170 workers at Nashoba Valley Medical Center have voted overwhelmingly to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. 1199SEIU is the largest healthcare workers union in Massachusetts with 50,000 members, and the fastest growing union in the state.


Nashoba Valley Medical Center employees who participated in the vote to join 1199SEIU included business, office, clerical, and service workers.


Nashoba Valley Medical Center, a part of the Steward Heath Care, is a 73-bed facility serving Central Northern Massachusetts. Previously, workers at seven other facilities currently operated by Steward Health Care have voted to join 1199SEIU and have successfully negotiated a range of improvements to jobs within the state's largest network of community hospitals. Those facilities include: St. Elizabeth's Medical Center; Norwood Hospital; Morton Hospital; Merrimack Valley Hospital; Holy Family Hospital; Good Samaritan Medical Center; and Carney Hospital.



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Support Striking Workers at FairPoint!
Written by: Mass. Jobs With Justice


As of October 17, union workers at FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are on strike to protect their pensions, health care, job security, decent wages, and the future of their communities. These members of the IBEW and the CWA build and maintain the communications network that brings essential phone and Internet service to northern New England. Many seniors, people with disabilities, and rural residents depend on these skilled workers.


The firm of Angelo, Gordon & Company is a major hedge fund that makes tens of millions of dollars each year by managing employee pension funds. At the same time, Angelo, Gordon is the largest shareholder in FairPoint Communications, a company that is currently waging war against its own workers, freezing pensions, cutting retiree health care, and sharply raising health care costs for current employees. To make matters worse, FairPoint is demanding the right to outsource work at any time to lower-paid, less-experienced, out-of-state and overseas contractors.


If you think there's hypocrisy in Angelo, Gordon getting rich from workers' hard-earned pension dollars while owning 20 percent of a company that's destroying its own workers' chance for a decent and secure retirement-well, you're right.


If FairPoint won't listen to its workers or the communities that support them, surely it will listen to its powerful Wall Street investors. Please help us urge Angelo, Gordon, & Company to use its influence to demand that FairPoint go back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract and to support quality customer service, good jobs, and a secure future for northern New England workers and their families.


Stop the hypocrisy!


(Weekly email edition)
(If you're in a union, where it says "Companyput your union/local in that space.)

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