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:

Massachusetts:

Boston

Mayor: Martin J. Walsh (Laborers Local 223)

City Council At Large: Michelle Wu

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

Lawrence

Mayor: Dan Rivera

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

Maine:

Saco

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.

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

Oppose Cuts to Disability Services in New York

NEJB UNITE HERE represents 1,000 workers who work with people with developmental disabilities as employees of non-profit human services agencies throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. The state’s recent transition from institutional-based services to community-based care is being undermined by the proposed 30-day amendments to the 2013-2014 state budget. The amendments propose additional deep cuts to agencies that serve people with disabilities.

These amendments amount to an almost 6% reduction in funding to provider agencies. Almost all OPWDD services are funded through Medicaid with state dollars and matching federal dollars. This cut would amount to a total loss of $240 million to the non-profit provider agencies. These community based services have already faced more than $350 million in cuts targeting developmental disabilities services. With funding already at a low, this cut could force agencies to lay off staff putting the health and safety of those they care for at risk.

These cuts would come at a time where funding is already a serious issue that affects services and care for people with developmental disabilities. Our members and other staff in this industry work extremely hard for low pay. They describe the work they do, caring for those with developmental disabilities, as “God’s work”. Our members provide assistance with bathing, feeding, using wheel chairs, controlling behavioral problems, and coordinate recreational activities and outings. Thousands of families depend on these services to keep their loved ones safe, healthy, and happy. These services are vital in helping individuals with developmental disabilities lead fulfilling and productive lives as citizens of our communities.

Please join us in standing up to protect jobs and people with developmental disabilities. Urge your legislators to say no to the 6% cut to OPWDD services.

Contact your New York State Senators (http://www.nysenate.gov/senators) and Assembly Members (http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/) Tell them NO CUTS TO OPWDD!

SIGN THE PETITION! bit.ly/WHUP3X

Welcome Locals 919 and 1904 to the NEJB!

The members of Locals 919 and 1904 in New York City recently voted to join the NEJB and were welcomed at our November delegates meeting. Local 919 and 1904 represent workers at Richmond Community Services and PSCH, Inc. disability services agencies based in New York and New Jersey. Members of both locals serve adults and children with developmental disabilities. Members typically work in group home settings and care facilities doing everything from helping attend to the 24 hour day-to-day needs of the residents to planning and facilitating recreational and educational outings. Members are passionate about the work they do and love the people they care for.

Before joining the NEJB, Locals 919 and 1904 were part of the Disability Services and Allied Workers Joint Board of the ILGWU and later UNITE. They bring with them Business Agent Ray ACosta. Ray began as a member of the ILGWU working in a New York City garment factory in 1984. He later became an organizer for the ILG and a business agent and today proudly serves the members of the disability services locals across the NY-NJ area.

The NEJB is excited to welcome the disability services workers to our union. We share a vision of social and economic justice for workers everywhere and can’t wait to work towards these goals together. These workers and diversity to a union made up an already extremely diverse membership. The disability services workers join thousands of workers across New England in the garment, textile, manufacturing, distribution, laundry, food service, and non-profit industries.