UNION UPDATE: 
May 2018
In this issue:
2018 Lobby Day | 509 News I Scholarship I Leadership Vacancies | Stay in Touch | President's Message
2018 Lobby Day
On April 11th, your union brothers and sisters successfully lobbied at the State House for legislation and budget items that affect our specific chapters, as well as broader issues affecting SEIU 509 members and the working people of Massachusetts. Specifically, we advocated for GIC health insurance reform, state contract ratification and our $15 minimum wage plus Paid Family & Medical Leave ballot initiatives. Our Lobby Day actions are critical to getting our legislation passed. We will keep you informed on our progress. Here are some pictures from our 2018 Lobby Day:
President Peter MacKinnon, Treasurer Israel Pierre, Family Child Care Chapter President Celina Reyes with SEIU 509 member leaders
SEIU 509 member meets with State Representative Rose Lee Vincent
SEIU 509 members at the Massachusetts State House
SEIU 509 Private Sector Human Services member leaders receive letter of support
All Constitutional Amendments Vote
This year, SEIU 509 members cast ballots on 14 constitutional amendments.

All amendments passed with an over 90% percent YES vote.

509 News
Brandeis graduate workers rally for a fair contract
Dozens of Brandeis University graduate student workers rallied to demand that the administration bring them an offer for a fair contract. After over six months of bargaining, the administration hasn’t responded to several of the union’s most important issues, including compensation, benefits, and workload.

Supporters marched to the offices of President Ronald Liebowitz and Provost Lisa Lynch. There, they submitted over 200 cards of support from students and parents, letters written by undergraduates about the role graduate assistants have played in their education, a petition signed by dozens of graduate students, and a letter of support signed by more than 50 Brandeis faculty members. There was one unifying theme behind all of these messages: a demand for a fair contract—now! Read More.


SEIU 509 wins settlement against Triangle Inc.

In an new settlement reached with our union, Triangle Inc. will hire back one of the four employees they fired for helping to organize their workers. Plus, Triangle Inc. will stay "neutral" in any future union drives to avoid a National Labor Relations Board hearing.

Thanks to the persistance of the affected workers, solidarity from other unions, and broad community support the agreement paves the way for workers at Triangle to organize a union free from interference.

Thank you to all the members who helped make this happen.

SEIU 509 members lobby to protect mental health clinicians from insurance clawbacks

SEIU 509 members lobbied for fair parameters around the health insurance practice of reverting payments (clawbacks) for which providers of behavioral health services had received previous authorization and been paid by health insurers.

Our legislation will limit both MassHealth and commercial health insurers to a 12 month period for recovering payments to a behavioral health provider for behavioral health services completed.

Thank you CliniciansUNITED members for meeting with your legislators!
SEIU 509 joins "Save Our Public Services" community coalition
SEIU 509 joins a coalition of community organizations, business groups, labor unions, religious congregations, and advocates who want to protect the vital public services funded by the Massachusetts state sales tax.

The proposed initiative petition would reduce state revenues by about $1.25 billion annually, necessitating severe cuts to local schools, public safety, roads, transit, health programs, and other vital services. This extreme proposal would cut the state’s second largest source of revenue by 20 percent.

“We’re in the middle of an opoid crisis, but this dangerous ballot question would divert millions of dollars away from critical social services like addiction treatment, homelessness prevention, and mental health counseling,” said Peter MacKinnon, President of SEIU Local 509. “As social workers and clinicians, we know first-hand that Massachusetts can’t afford such severe budget cuts when we’re trying to fight this public health emergency.”

SEIU 509 members are committed to opposing this ballot question and protecting the critical local services funded by the sales tax.
MRC Chapter fighting to save jobs and stop office closures
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!
2018 Scholarship Winners!
The SEIU 509 Scholarship Program funds educational scholarship awards for SEIU 509 union members and their dependents. Dependents are defined as children of members, or children under direct care of the member — such as a grandchild or foster child. These scholarships each range from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients will be contacted via e-mail regarding the next steps. We congratulate the following 2018 winners:
James Tremblay, DCF
John Follit Award
$1,500

Jennifer Renzi, CSO
Linda Silva/Deborah Ann D'lorio
Memorial Award
$1,000

Lynn Mourao, DCF
Luis Vega Memorial Award
$1,000

Teresa Vazquez, DCF
Zevorah Bagni Memorial Award
$1,000

Margarita Ramos,
Family Child Care
Membership Benefit
Insurance Scholarship
$1,250

Christine Fowle, DMH
Colonial Insurance Scholarship
$1,000

Donna DiNapoli,
Mass Coalition for the Blind
Membership Benefit Insurance Scholarship
$1,250
Felicia Morgan, CHL
Ginny Steinberg Award
$1,500

Maura Synder, DCF
Meredith Miller Memorial Award
$1,000

Stephen Forcha-Beloa, Bridgewell
Hilyard/McHugh
& Shea/Prout Award
$1,500

Jocelina Pires, DDS
Kenneth Gorman
Memorial Award
$1,000

Frances Ransum-Canning,
Department of Education
Membership Benefit
Insurance Scholarship
$1,250

Elysa Monseratte, DMH
Colonial Insurance Scholarship
$1,000
Paula Habersang, CCES
Martin Martinian Memorial Award
$1,000

Lynette Littles, DMH
Bill Greene Memorial Award
$1,100

Ruth Dresser, MRC
Hilyard/McHugh
& Shea/Prout Award
$1,500

Walter Tetreault, Eliot
Flynn Insurance Scholarship
$1,000

Deborah Visocchi, DDS/MRC
Colonial Insurance Scholarship
$1,000

Tiffany Goffer-Fitz, DDS
Officer's Award
$1,000

Karl Toth, Brandeis University
Mt. Washington Bank Scholarship
$1,000
Union Leadership Opportunities
Are you interested in serving on the SEIU 509 Joint Executive Board (JEB) and Chapter Executive Boards (CEBs)? (Click here to see current openings.)

If you are interested in running for a seat — or nominating a colleague — submit nominations for vacancies, in writing, to Jenny Bauer in our union office by:
  • fax 508-485-8529,
  • email (jbauer@seiu509.org), or 
  • U.S. mail (293 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough, MA 01752).
Nominations are due on Friday May 25th, 2018 at noon.

Make sure to bookmark this page as we update it frequently with new leadership vacancies and monthly nomination deadlines:
Only members in good standing are eligible for nomination. Members may nominate themselves or be nominated by fellow SEIU 509 members. The member doing the nominating also needs to be a member in good standing. Nominees who are unopposed shall be declared elected on that date. If offices are contested, election dates will be announced and candidates will be notified.
Stay in Touch
Keep in touch with your union by:

  • Letting us know if your contact information has changed by filling out this form.
  • Signing up to receive important text message updates by texting "SEIU509" to "PURPLE" (787753).
  • Liking our facebook page and following us on twitter.
President and Treasurers' Message
Thank you for making our 2018 Lobby Day a huge success!

Many of our members took a day off work to come to the State House or made phone calls to hold our legislators accountable for the votes they took and will take.

On April 11th, we spoke with one voice for legislation and budget items that affect our specific chapters, as well as broader issues affecting SEIU 509 members and the working people of Massachusetts. Specifically, we advocated for GIC health insurance reform, state contract ratification and our $15 minimum wage plus Paid Family & Medical Leave ballot initiatives. Our Lobby Day actions are critical to getting our legislation passed.

We thank you for your support and participation! We will keep you updated on our progress with these efforts.

Remember, our voice is stronger when we come together to ask for actions on issues that matter the most to us. In the next few weeks, we will also provide you with details on a national social media action that will showcase our unions' unity. Because when we fight together, we win!
In solidarity,
Peter MacKinnon, President
Israel Pierre, Treasurer