Faculty Support NEJB Food Service Workers at Springfield College

To the Springfield College Community:

During the Fall semester, Aramark workers at SC impressed us with their tenacious and inspirational union organizing drive. Ninety-eight faculty and over 300 students signed on to letters of support during the organizing drive. After a resounding victory they entered into negotiations with Aramark with the expectation of a fair and respectful process and hoped for a contract agreement by Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, as spring finally emerges, the negotiations have stalled and the workers once again need our support as they struggle with Aramark over health care benefits.  

Worcester State University Food Service Workers Win First Contract

This week 60 food service workers employed by Compass Group at Worcester State University in Worcester, MA won their first contract, capping off a 9 month organizing campaign with the New England Joint Board of UNITE HERE. Workers began organizing last summer under a card check neutrality agreement. They won recognition of their union in the fall and joined the ranks of nearly 1,100 other NEJB members in the city of Worcester who are employed in distribution centers and industrial laundries.

Worcester State workers began negotiating immediately after winning recognition. Over the past few months the negotiating committee worked diligently to educate and activate their fellow workers: some lifelong Worcester residents, others new immigrants from Albania and Latin America. With a new-found sense of unity WSU workers were able to win a landmark contract. The contract contains strong immigrant rights language and defines full time hours as 29 hours and above per week allowing more workers to qualify for benefits. In addition, workers won quality and affordable union health insurance with the company paying 85% of the costs and workers receiving 52 weeks of coverage while contributing only 32 weeks of the year. On average, workers will receive close to a 14% wage increase over the life of the 3 year contract as well as a defined benefit pension plan and free eyeglasses or contact lenses every 2 years for employees and one dependent.

At the ratification, which passed with 99% approval, workers like Mimoza Sulejani expressed their excitement, “It means that we are together and everyone will be treated equally. Now we have rights and rules that management has to respect. As immigrant workers we can now demand respect! We now have fair raises and good health benefits!”.

The New England Joint Board of UNITE HERE represents nearly 8,000 workers in the six New England states and New York in the textile, garment, manufacturing, food service, distribution, laundry, and disability services industries.

The negotiating committee.

The negotiating committee.


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: http://www.necn.com/06/04/13/Gomez-work-records-become-issue-in-Senat/landing_politics.html?blockID=842931&tagID=63181

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.