Massachusetts Union News

Defeat of Question 2 featured in video at NEA RA

Significant victories for public education across the country recounted.

Robbed on the Job: Ending the Exploitation of Adjuncts

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Fri, 2017-06-30 15:02
The state of Massachusetts is praised around the globe for its role as a leader in education. Prestigious colleges are around every corner and people flock to cities like Boston to attend them. But if Massachusetts values its education so much,  why does it continue to allow the exploitation of adjuncts at countless colleges and universities? That was one of the many questions raised at the joint committee on higher education held Thursday, June 29th at the Massachusetts State House. One bill under discussion was House Bill 2236, which seeks to “ensure minimum fair wages and employment stability for adjunct faculty” at public colleges and universities. The fact is, compared to full-time faculty members, adjuncts are severely underpaid despite teaching the same material and being equally qualified. The room was peppered with bright orange shirts with the slogan “Faculty Forward.” These were worn by adjuncts in support of this equal pay for equal work legislation. Although the legislation only concerns public colleges and universities, it garnered support from adjuncts at public and private institutions alike. Despite the many differences between public and private universities, one common factor is the exploitation of adjuncts. Many testimonies illustrated these exploitative practices. Colleges, especially [...]

Remember their Faces: The Life and Death Stakes of the Healthcare Fight

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Fri, 2017-06-30 14:25
June 29, 2017 “Healthcare is a human right. Non-negotiable.” That’s what Filaine Deronnette, of SEIU 1199, said when asked what she would say to someone who asked why more than seventy men and women had gathered to protest the Republicans’ plan to strip away healthcare from between 22-23 million Americans. Hopefully future generations will think her answer is obvious and wonder why there was any debate at all about whether people living in the wealthiest country on Earth all deserved equal access to medical care. But for now, there are plenty of politicians who think healthcare is a privilege meant only for the wealthy. And if they have their way, it soon will be. That’s why members of SEIU 1199, SEIU 32BJ, Healthcare for All, the Jewish Labor Committee, Jobs with Justice, and more gathered outside the JFK Federal Building together to declare that Deronnette is absolutely right – no one living in the United States should needlessly suffer, especially when many of those who would lose healthcare are working two or three jobs to keep themselves and their families alive. There remains a grotesque number of people uninsured even with the Affordable Care Act. But the Republicans’ plan would [...]

NEA LEGACY Project draws hundreds of students, retirees to Everett

Volunteers from across the country work with students at community fair.

MTA welcomes NEA delegates to Boston

Annual Meeting and RA to run through July 5.

It’s official… Our staff is going union!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Wed, 2017-06-28 11:33
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice Staff join the Greater Boston NewsGuild – CWA   On June 26, the Staff of Jobs with Justice Massachusetts today petitioned for, and received, voluntary recognition with the NewsGuild – CWA. They will be the newest members of the Greater Boston NewsGuild – CWA, local 31032.   Members of the new unit said that being part of the NewsGuild is a natural extension of the principles that guide their work. “The staff of Jobs with Justice are committed to the principles of workplace democracy, and we know that unions are the best vehicle we have available to ensure that workplace democracy thrives.” said Lily Huang, an Organizer.   Fellow Organizer, Eric Bauer echoed this, saying, “As we advocate for unions for the workers of the Commonwealth, it is only right that we should embody our values in our own role as workers.”   In a mission statement, Jobs with Justice staffers explained why unionizing is a natural extension of the principles that guide their work:   “We believe that unionizing our staff will help to foster a worker-centered culture in our organization, allowing for full participation in important conversations about the direction and execution of our [...]

MTA releases statement on commissioner’s death

President Barbara Madeloni: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Commissioner Chester’s family.”

UMass Lowell Adjunct Faculty: First Class Performance, Second Class Pay

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-26 15:36
On June 20th, 2017, UMass Lowell held the 2nd annual Women in Leadership Conference. Founded by Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney, this conference brings together leading women professionals in business, education, government, and the nonprofit sector to share their expertise and to engage in conversations about building their careers and leading healthy and productive lives. The conference was meant to lead, empower, and inspire. This goal, though, stands in direct contradiction with UMass Lowell’s ongoing mistreatment of its adjunct faculty. UMass Lowell’s adjunct faculty, who make up 61% of the faculty at UMass Lowell, have been working under an expired contract for two years and have been fighting for parity in pay and benefits with the rest of the adjuncts in the UMass system. These adjuncts receive 32% less pay than their counterparts at UMass Boston and Amherst for doing the exact same work, which includes teaching 57% of all the undergraduate courses. The UMass Lowell Administration refuses to extend the same healthcare and retirement benefits to its adjunct faculty. Also, more than 50% of the adjunct faculty are women. There is an obvious problem when UML is promoting the financial well-being and holistic health of women while simultaneously refusing to empower [...]

June 26, 2017: JwJ Summer Workshop _ Let’s Talk: Communicating Our Cause!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-26 15:00
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice 2017 Intern/ Volunteer Education Series Third Workshop Let’s Talk: Communicating Our Cause! How we talk about the issues that matter most to us is just as important as the issues themselves. In a world where we’re constantly flooded with information, we need to communicate in a way that cuts through the clutter and leaves an impression. In this session, you will get some advice on how to write and speak with passion to tell your story and forge powerful relationships Date and time: Monday, 6/26/2017, 6:00 p.m. Workshop Leader: Natalia Berthet (Organizer at Massachusetts Jobs with Justice)

Member advocacy halts misguided DESE proposal

DESE has nixed proposed licensure regulations that would have trampled on educators' free-speech rights.

Five honored at 2017 MTA Human and Civil Rights Awards banquet

Annual event thanks “role models, risk-takers, organizers and innovators” who make the world a better place.

Time is Running Out: What We can do to Save Francisco

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:25
June 16, 2017 On Friday, an urgent rally was held in front of the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in support of Francisco Rodriguez, who is facing deportation. Union members from the SEIU32BJ and supporters from various organizations rallied to protest ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)’s decision to suddenly, and without explanation, change his next check-in date and to demand that ICE grant Francisco’s stay of removal. On Tuesday, June 13th, Francisco went to his immigration check-in and was accompanied by more than 40 community members to bear witness, support him and his family, and take a stand against unjust immigration laws and deportations. Together we chanted and sang songs of solidarity as we waited for Francisco. In the morning, he was told to return in December 13th for his next check-in, meaning he has six months to stay in the U.S. However, just six hours later, ICE called back Francisco’s lawyer and said that Francisco has to return for his check-in on July 13th with a plan ticket to El Salvador in hand. In the next few days, ICE will decide whether or not he can stay with his family in Chelsea. We need to put a spotlight on [...]

UPDATE: We Still Need Your Help to Stop Francisco’s Deportation!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:24
The fight’s not over yet! Thanks to all who have already taken action to stop Francisco’s deportation and keep him home in Chelsea! We’ve collected over 3,000 signatures across 2 petitions. You can read more about Francisco’s case below and here. On Tuesday, June 13th, Francisco went to his immigration check-in and was accompanied by more than 40 community members to bear witness, support him and his family, and take a stand against unjust immigration laws and deportations. Together we chanted and sang songs of solidarity as we waited for Francisco. In the morning, ICE said that Francisco has until Dec 13th for his next check-in, however, just six hours later, ICE said that Francisco has to return for his check-in on July 13th with travel documents. This is urgent– please call ICE and them to grant Francisco his Stay of Removal! Call: New England Regional ICE office Immigration officer Gary Roltsch: (781) 359-7500 X7625 New England Regional ICE office (Burlington, MA): 781-359-7500 (General line) Community Relations officer Alexia Koplewski: (781) 359-7511 Sample script: “Hi, my name is __ and I live in__. I am calling to ask you to grant Mr. Francisco Rodriguez Guardado’s stay of removal. His A-Number: [...]

Standing With Francisco Rodriguez

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:23
Francisco Rodriguez has lived in the U.S for ten years and is a father of two children and baby on the way. He is a church goer, school committee member and is employed as a janitor at MIT. Rodriguez also owns his own carpet cleaning business. Rodriguez has never been convicted of any crimes and pays all of has taxes. Yet he is currently in the Trump administration’s crossfires. Since Trump’s inauguration, harsh deportation and unjust immigration practices have been implemented throughout the U.S. Many immigrants have been detained and taken away during their routine check-ins at the ICE. At his last check-in, Rodriguez was warned that there was a strong possibility of deportation during his next check in in June. On June 13th, Francisco  Rodriguez and his family anxiously entered the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement in Burlington, MA. But they were not alone. Outside ICE headquarters, a rally was held to support Rodriguez. People from various groups and organizations came together to fight this injustice. Groups like Jobs with Justice, Unitarian church groups, MIT student groups, members of Rodriguez’ union, SEIU32BJ, as well as others whose community has been enhanced by having Rodriguez be a part of it. During [...]

Refusing To Be Invisible and Demanding Respect: Logan Airport Workers Fight for a Living Wage

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:22
June 15, 2017 The workers at Logan airport are invisible to most of us. In our frantic rush to catch a flight, it’s all too easy to take these men and women for granted. But it’s precisely because they are ignored that it’s been possible for the airline industry to treat them with contempt for so long. An obscenely low wage barely allows these workers to meet basic needs, like providing food, shelter, and health care for themselves and their families. And sometimes they aren’t even paid minimum wage. These human beings are invisible to too many of us, treated more like tools than professionals. But these workers are not staying silent. They refuse to be invisible and are demanding the respect they deserve. They have been fighting for decent wages and benefits for years, and on June 15, 2017, SEIU32BJ led a rally to show solidarity with not only union workers at Logan, but the many workers who have no union at all. How is it possible, though, that some workers at Logan could have union representation while others have none? Khalida, a member of SEIU32BJ involved with community strategic partnership, explained that the workforce at Logan is fragmented, [...]

Fair Share Amendment Passes with 134-55 Vote at the Massachusetts House of Representatives

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:21
On June 14th the Fair Share Amendment passed in a 134-55 vote at the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Also known as the “millionaires tax,” the Fair Share Amendment is funded by a 4% tax on yearly incomes over $1,000,000. The tax is estimated to generate roughly 2 billion dollars in revenues, with money being allocated to social support systems and community investment. Such investments would lead to more affordable higher education, improved K-12 public schools, as well as better public transportation, roads, and bridges. During the debate on the floor of the House, detractors of the amendment faulted it for presupposing that the money collected will actually serve to improve social support systems and communities. One representative warned that, once the bill was authorized, there would be no going back. Another representative argued that a raise in taxes on the wealthy in Massachusetts would cause wealthy taxpaying business owners to flee to states with lower tax rates. In leaving Massachusetts, these entrepreneurs would bring with them their wealth, need for labor, and job market opportunities. These concerns should be considered, as funds would actually need to be properly allocated for any positive changes to be realized. However, the fact that [...]

Public Hearing on the Paid Family Medical Leave

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-19 14:20
June 14, 2017 Yesterday a hearing for paid family leave was held at the Massachusetts state house. Testimony was heard from the representatives of the three bills. There was also testimony from private citizens who support the creation of paid family leave; from academics who have studied the bills and their potential effects; and from opponents of the program. A short video was shown in which local small business owners voiced their support of the program and talked about the role it could play in their business and the lives of their employees. The three bills propose to create a system that allows for the existence of a paid family leave program in Massachusetts. At its core the program would have the employers (or employers and employees) pay a small premium per employee, per year. This money would be put into a fund that employees could withdraw from in the event of a leave of absence. This would allow for the employee to retain at least some of their income, thus relieving them of the added stress of financial burden in an already difficult time. It would also allow the employer to hire a temporary replacement without having to pay [...]

Legislators’ vote sends Fair Share Amendment to 2018 ballot

Constitutional Convention overwhelmingly approves measure for second time.

JwJ 2017 Summer Workshop _ Researching to Organize: Finding the Bad Guys!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-12 12:50
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice 2017 Intern/ Volunteer Education Series Fifth Workshop Researching to Organize: Finding the Bad Guys! These days it’s clear that big money drives our politics and our economy, but who are the people behind all that money? If we want to stop corporate greed from bankrupting us all, we need to put names and faces to the 1% who run this system. Using examples tracing the big money behind charter schools, In this workshop we will learn some of the tricks of the trade for identifying the real targets in our fights. Date and time: Monday, 07/17/2017, 6:00 p.m. Workshop Leader: John Donahoe (Researcher at 1199SEIU)

JwJ 2017 Summer Workshop _ Cultural Activism: The Art of Change

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Mon, 2017-06-12 12:49
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice 2017 Intern/ Volunteer Education Series Sixth Workshop Cultural Activism: The Art of Change Words are important to get our points across, but art can make people feel the raw emotions behind our causes that make them want to take action. That’s why our movement needs creative tactics to reach the hearts and minds of our audience. In this interactive workshop, we’ll share different ways to incorporate culture in our organizing. Date and time: Monday, 07/25/2017, 6:00 p.m. Workshop Leader: Eroc Arroyo-Montana (Director of Cultural Organizing United for a Fair Economy)
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