NEJB Local 1554T Giving Tree Program A Great Success

Local 1554T Wraps Up its 21st Year of Adopting Local Families


Local 1554T of the New England Joint Board, UNITE HERE of Coventry, RI, has wrapped up its 2013 Christmas Giving Tree Program. After 20 years of adopting local families at Christmas we have again kept the tradition alive as we wrap up our twenty first year. Once again the tree went up and the tags with the names of children who would have not had a Christmas went on the tree. Since the program’s modest beginning in 1992, the Local has worked with various agencies to sponsor families from Coventry, West Warwick, Cranston, Scituate, Foster, Warwick, Providence, Westerly, Central Falls and Narragansett. This year was no different. This year with a lot of help from its members and donations made by many generous companies, restaurants and other many individuals, we are able to assist seven families, which included eleven boys and nine girls from different parts of Rhode Island, plus an additional number of kids through donations to other drives. Each of our adopted families received a $50 gift certificate for food, clothes, as well as toys. Through the history of the program this year brought the total to more than 92 families and several hundred individual children through other drives.


Each year there is never a shortage of families which, for whatever their situation, need a little support. We at Local 1554T hope that the people and organizations which have made donations this year and in the past will continue in the future so we can continue to keep Christmas alive for the children of our area.


All of us at Local 1554T would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.


Brian Coutu President

Richard Rupp Vice President

Byron Carrington Sec/Treasurer

Local 1554T – New England Joint Board – UNITE HERE


NEJB Local 1554T Continues Tradition of Giving Back to the Community

Local 1554-T of the New England Joint Board, UNITE HERE of Coventry, RI, sponsors a Christmas Giving Tree Program. After more than two decades of adopting local families at Christmas they will again be keeping the tradition alive as they kick off their twenty first year with fund raising events and raffles. Then, once again the tree will go up and the tags with the names of children who won’t go wanting will be on it starting the day after Thanksgiving. Since the program’s modest beginning in 1992, the Local has worked with various agencies to sponsor families from Coventry, West Warwick, Cranston, Scituate, Foster, Warwick, Providence, Westerly and Central Falls. In this time they have helped several hundred individuals in more than 95 families and hundreds of additional underprivileged children. Each year they adapt their program depending on the needs of the adopted families and their budget. Local 1554-T looks forward to another successful season.


Donations are always appreciated to raise funds to help supply clothes, food and gifts to families in our area.

Brian Coutu

President Local 1554T

New England Joint Board- UNITE HERE

Aramark Food Service Workers at Springfield College Join the NEJB

On Thursday, Oct. 24 at approximately 6:30 p.m., the final numbers were tallied and the ARAMARK workers at Springfield College were informed that they had won the election for a union by a vote of 58-26.

“It was pretty exciting. Very exciting. It was like winning on a championship team,” Cheney chef and union organizing committee member Erskine Kelly said.

NEJB Local 406 member Roger Gay Runs for Saco City Council

SACO – City Councilor Les Smith has served the residents of Saco’s Ward 2 for more than 20 years. In November, he is facing a challenge by newcomer Roger Gay.

The Sun Chronicle asked each candidate the same set of questions and their answers follow:

NEJB Municipal Election Endorsements

On Tuesday November 5th, voters across the region will be casting ballots for candidates for municipal office. The following candidates have been endorsed by the NEJB. These candidates represent the best choices for working families. Please do not forget to vote and encourage your coworkers, family and friends to support these candidates:



Mayor: Martin J. Walsh (Laborers Local 223)

City Council At Large: Michelle Wu

City Council District 2: Suzanne Lee (previously endorsed by NEJB)


Mayor: Dan Rivera

City Council At Large: Nilka Álvarez-Rodríguez (previously endorsed by NEJB)



City Council Ward 2: Roger Gay (NEJB Local 406)

New York:

New York

Mayor: Bill de Blasio

Aramark Workers at Springfield College Band Together to Seek Union

Springfield – Never before in the history of Springfield College has there been a union representing a group on campus. That could change on October 24, when the ARAMARK dining service workers from Cheney Dining Hall and the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union vote in an election for a union

NEJB Members Create New Storyline in MA Senate Race

Things are heating up in the Massachusetts Senate special election. Democrat Ed Markey, the NEJB’s endorsed candidate, is running to fill the seat vacated by John Kerry, now US Secretary of State. Ed Markey has advocated for Massachusetts’ working families for over 30 years in the US House as a Congressman from Malden. His near perfect labor voting record and pioneering stances on environmental and other progressive issues makes him the clear choice for union workers. His opponent, Republican Gabriel Gomez, is a businessman from Cohasset who made millions as a private equity executive. Gomez has no experience running for or holding elected office. 

Recently Gomez visited Polartec in Lawrence, MA, a textile mill represented by NEJB Local 311. The visit was intended to highlight Gomez’s latino roots with the over 85% latino workforce at Polartec. NEJB members were there to meet Gomez and show support for a real worker-firendly candidate; Ed Markey. While Gomez was inside the mill touting his ideas for new trade agreements which have historically devastated American’s manufacturing industry, NEJB members were rallying and meeting with press outside the mill. NEJB members called for Gomez to release his client list and details about his business experience as a private equity executive, a heretofore unknown piece of Gomez’s past. Questions continue to be asked about Gomez’s work record. As NEJB Manager Warren Pepicelli stated; “Gomez touts his business experience as a quality that qualifies him to serve in the US Senate. The voters deserve to know what the business experience entails.”What was supposed to be a strong press opportunity and shining story for the Gomez campaign opened up more questions about his unclear background and experience. As NEJB member Annia Lembert said: “He needs to do more than just speak Spanish to win our support. He needs to show his commitment to workers. We know where Ed Markey stands; with us.”

Massachusetts Senate special election will be held on June 25. The NEJB and Massachusetts Labor Movement supports Ed Markey for Senate. 

To see a news story about the action featured on NECN click here:

Madison Polymeric Rallies for a Fair Contract

Members of NEJB Local 151 at Madison Polymeric in Branford, CT rallied this week as they continue negotiating their contract. Negotiating quality and fair health insurance has become increasingly difficult with the many unknowns related to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, which goes into effect in 2014. Workers at Madison Polymeric who manufacture protective packaging and foam inserts have been having a particularly difficult time negotiating over this issue. The show of solidarity and activism was organized to send a clear message: we deserve a fair contract. With union negotiations nation-wide becoming more and more difficult workers are demonstrating their solidarity like never before. OBB summer organizers joined the rally to support the workers in their contract negotiations.

Massachusetts Workers Need A Raise!

On June 11th members of the NEJB testified before the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Workforce Development  on in support of an increase to the minimum wage. Currently the Massachusetts minimum wage is $8.oo. The proposed bill would see that number rise to $11.oo with further increases tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

NEJB members from food service, laundry, and retail industries joined other unions, community groups, faith leaders, economists, academics, and business leaders for the hearing. Testifiers highlighted the fact that worker productivity has skyrocketed while wage levels have stagnated. The last time the minimum wage was raised in Massachusetts was in 2007. Since then the cost of food, gas, utilities, rent, and other expenses increased dramatically. More and more workers are relying on minimum wage work sometimes working two or three of these jobs just to get by. The low wage work that is typical of the retail, hospitality, and service industries keeps workers in a rut, limiting their upward mobility. As Cara Cinelli, a retail cashier at Logan Airport and member of NEJB Local 24 testified: “I live in East Boston and am a lifelong resident and currently live in the hom I grew up in with my two daughters, grandson, mother, and brother. I am forced to live in the home my mother owns because I can’t afford to live anywhere else.”

A raise in the minimum wage would affect 580,000 Massachusetts workers and their families. Our Joint Board is proud to join numerous allies from many different movement and backgrounds in fighting for this just piece of legislation. Without our activism we will not win. Urge you state senators and representatives to support an increase in the minimum wage. It’s long overdue.

Members in Worcester Stand Up for Good, Union Jobs

NEJB members are speaking out about the importance of good union jobs in the city of Worcester. Massachusetts’ recently expanded gaming legislation allows for three regionally located resort casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts. Currently one development company has submitted a proposal to build a slot parlor and hotel in Worcester. In order to qualify for a gaming license through the Massachusetts Gaming Commission applicants must enter in to a “host community agreement” that addresses issues of importance around the building and operating of such a gaming facility. Ultimately the decision to authorize a gaming facility will be put to the voters through municipal/town refernda.

In Worcester, Rush Street Gaming is proposing a slot facility in the Green Island area of the city. Unfortunately at Rush Street Gaming’s other facilities throughout the country workers are being denied a fair process to organize a union. Rush Street has a track record of failing to keep its promises to the communities in which it operates casinos. UNITE HERE and members of NEJB locals 313, 75, 66L in Worcester have been attending city council meetings to stress that if gaming jobs are coming to Worcester they must be good, union jobs that strengthen our community. Recently David Kenney of Local 66L Ameripride Laundry spoke before the Worcester City Council: “We’re not for our against the slot parlor in Worcester. What we are for is good union jobs with a voice in the workplace.” Members stressed the importance of union jobs in helping improve the economy of Worcester. “We want to bring Worcester up, not bring it down” said Barbara Breaux, NEJB executive board member and Local 313 TJMaxx member. Concerned NEJB members and Worcester residents will be calling on the City Manager to negotiate a host community agreement that includes strong protections for workers.


Click here to see NEJB member Barbara Breaux interviewed on Channel 3 Worcester News