Is May’s newsletter coming late? Is June’s newsletter coming early?
BOTH! And for good reason.
We would like to officially welcome our newest organizing committee to the Union – Pavement UNITED! The workers of Pavement Coffeehouses in Boston have been organizing together to form a new NEJB Local. If successful, Pavement UNITED will be the first unionized coffeeshop in Massachusetts. In a city with a number of independent coffee shops, the workers of Pavement are pioneering the way for others in the industry to gain dignity and respect in the workplace. We are so proud of their efforts, and wanted to extend this special announcement.
This past month many states have lifted the last of their emergency orders and fully “re-opened” from the pandemic. Today, we’re standing at a fork in the road with a choice ahead of us. Do we go back to the way things were, or take lessons from the pandemic to write a new social contract? The way things were, our bills piled up. Work asked more from us but paid us less. We were lied to, exploited, and often torn apart as a society. The only thing that accomplished was to make the rich richer.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We have the power to shift the paradigm and write a new future for working people. This future can have a true work/life balance. We can lead lives that are fulfilled by our family, friends, and hobbies instead of just being filled by work. The pandemic has proven that we can afford it, too, if our collective power chooses to fight back against corporate greed. That is the mission of all Labor Unions – ours included.
Heading into the next few months, we’ll continue to grow our Union in strength and numbers. We’ll be pursuing legislative victories that will benefit all workers. Most importantly, we’ll be celebrating and lifting up member voices. These are just the short-term goals in a broader vision. To get to our new future we must secure voting rights across America, fight back against the Tech Giant corporations, and renew strength in our communities. Finding victories in the long-term will be harder, but not impossible if we work together.
Power is the currency of change in our society. With more power, we can bring about more positive change for working people.
The question remains, what is power? Together, we create power in numbers. Our collective voice can be too loud to be ignored.
Please take a moment to watch this video. We have upcoming opportunities to use our collective voice for positive change. I hope this inspires you to join us in these efforts.
Join us on June 26th as we ride to Washington DC with three simple demands:
✔ Abolish the filibuster
✔ Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act
✔ Make Washington DC a state
On the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides, we’ll be joining Black Voters Matter and UNITE HERE! in the #FreedomRide2021 for Voting Rights – an outreach campaign to protect civil rights as voter suppression laws are sweeping the country.
Republicans all across the country are working to take away our right to vote. Together, we must stand against these attacks and pass national standards to make the promise of our democracy real for us all.
Click the link below or e-mail [email protected] for more info on how YOU can join the movement.
Transportation & (possibly) lodging will be free. More information will be announced closer to the event.
WHEN: Saturday June 12th at 12:00 PM WHERE: Strike HQ, 11 East Central Street, Worcester, MA
The nurses of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA have been on strike for 14 weeks! They showed up for each of us throughout the pandemic. Now it’s our turn to show up for them as they fight for patient safety against a for-profit hospital’s greed.
Join Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Jim McGovern, and other members of the Labor community to rally behind our nurses.
We’ve all been through a difficult year. We truly hope that everyone remains safe and healthy into the future.
As a reminder, everyone is eligible to receive their vaccine – you too! COVID-19 vaccines are free with no insurance needed. The process is quick, painless, and brings us closer to returning to normal. Please protect yourself, your family, and your community as soon as you can.
Eleven members of the Pavement Coffee Organizing Committee, represented by the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE union, delivered a letter to Pavement Coffee Roasters owner Larry Margulies Tuesday morning that declared their intent to form a union. In the letter, employees asked Margulies to voluntarily recognize the union, not engage in “any union busting activity” and enter into a good faith contract negotiation.
The Boston Globe
Steven Tolman, a former state senator who is now president of Massachusetts AFL-CIO, said he’s not surprised that workers at the coffee chain were able to garner majority support for the cause.
“Young people today are seeing the significant divide in wages and benefits,” he said. “They are seeing that there are limited opportunities, and a way to make things better is to form a union. I think we are going to see a lot more of this.”
The union effort quickly became a political topic on Tuesday, as Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu said in a statement that she supports the employees.
Malmberg said that when stores reopened last summer, some employees who returned to work saw a pay cut. And Malmberg said they think it’s time those workers demand respect.
“I think service workers as a whole aren’t really taken particularly seriously,” Malmberg said. “It’s seen as unskilled labor and something that can be kind of looked down on as something that you just do in between like, say, college and your real job, and because of that, they’re not really given fair treatment and fair share.”
The organizing effort of Pavement Coffeehouse workers is momentous, and its union would be the first of its kind in the state. If successful, the Pavement Coffee Organizing Committee’s union drive could inspire workers from other cafes, restaurants, and bars to follow suit. It would be no small feat for an industry in which labor organizing is notoriously difficult. Indeed, Fallon said that since going public, the organizing committee has already heard from a number of other cafe workers in Greater Boston who want to learn how to organize their own workplaces.
We Won! – 100% COBRA Health Coverage
Our Union worked hard to make sure that the American Rescue Plan Act passed on March 11, 2021 included funding to help laid off workers keep health insurance coverage. Your insurance will be fully paid through a 100% subsidy of the cost of COBRA from April 1- September 30, 2021. This subsidy will provide free coverage for certain eligible members and their covered dependents who lost coverage due to reduced hours or loss of their job.
You are eligible if you:
Lost coverage due to loss of job or reduced work hours between November 2019 – March 2021
Become entitled to COBRA coverage due to job loss or reduced work hours between April 2021 – September 2021
To get coverage, you must fill out a form saying that you are eligible and wish to enroll. Health plans should have sent out a COBRA election form to elect the subsidized COBRA coverage as of April 1st, 2021. Please contact us if you believe you are eligible and have not received an election form yet! Once you are no longer eligible, you must inform your health plan so that you are removed from the COBRA subsidy program.
ANYTHING TO ADD?
If you have anything that you want to see included in next month’s newsletter, please let us know! We want this to be a bulletin for all members to find value in.