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Today, November 25

  • Your profile picture
    2:56pm
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    Early Retirement Incentive Bill Update Inbox
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    Early Retirement Incentive Bill Update
  • Your profile picture
    2:36pm

    Court Recess is in place for December 29th and 30th.  Forms will be mailed out in December.  Program information to follow.

    All reimbursements are in place for the beginning of next year (health insurance reimbursement and drug co-pay).  Dental insurance max to continue at $2200 cap, as negotiated with DC37 trustees.  Forms will be mailed out in December.

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    1:51pm
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  • Your profile picture
    1:39pm
    Changes to Body
     
    Click the link below for the full ERFC report. 
     
    Click the link below for the full ERFC report. 
     
    Learn more. [5]
     
    Learn more. [5]
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    6/1/20
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    *Agencies Identify Cuts in Budget Exercise*
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    In May [6], state agencies were asked identify "operating budget savings options" to reduce state spending by 15%. This budget exercise was necessary due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the state budget, but also due to our state's upside-down tax system, which relies disproportionately on the spending habits of working familes -- the very same people who spend less during times of recession!
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    *See Budget Cut Exercises for Your Workplace Here [7]*
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    /*Note:* Yes, these cuts would be devastating – to our jobs, to our state as a whole, and to our ability to recover from the pandemic and recession. But these are not formal proposals. We have time pressure our elected officials to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. *This is what the People First Campaign is all about.  [8]*/
     
     
     
    [1] #BUDGET
     
    [1] #BUDGET
     
    [4] https://wfse.org/system/files/rev20200923.pdf
     
    [4] https://wfse.org/system/files/rev20200923.pdf
     
    [5] https://wfse.org/system/files/rev20200617....
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  • Your profile picture
    1:37pm

    Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

    I would like to share some updated information about the early retirement incentive bill.  Governor Cuomo is not allowing the NY State Senators (legislators) to convene until January.

    However, the legislators have some unfinished business ( the incentive bill is one ) and want to come back sooner. They now hold a supermajority and can override the Governor and come back into session earlier, anytime between December 7 - 31. If they do, they will vote on the bill and it will go to the Governor for his signature. If not, they will probably convene around January 7 and then vote on the bill.

    At this present time, the bill should pass, it’s just a question of when. Please feel free to call me with any questions at 1-646-770-6613.

    I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

    Be well

    In solidarity,

    Mike Troman
    President
    Civil Service Technical Guild - Local 375
    DC 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO

    SIGN UP FOR LOCAL 375 ALERTS & NEWS

  • Your profile picture
    12:29am
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    Members of Local 120,
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    []Members of Local 120,
     
    It is time for Local 120 Elections.* *
     
    It is time for Local 120 Elections.* *
     
    At the December 10th virtual meeting, we will hold nominations and elections for positions open for the 2021-2022 biennial term.
     
    At the December 10th virtual meeting, we will hold nominations and elections for positions open for the 2021-2022 biennial term.
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  • Your profile picture
    12:24am

    Members of Local 120,

    It is time for Local 120 Elections. 

    At the December 10th virtual meeting, we will hold nominations and elections for positions open for the 2021-2022 biennial term.

    The positions open for election are:

    • President
    • Vice President
    • Recording Secretary
    • Treasurer-Secretary
    • Sergeant at arms
    • 2 Trustee positions

    To review the duties of the various roles on an executive board, please review Officer Duties and Ethics from the AFSCME Officer Handbook.

    https://www.afscme.org/about/governance/document/Officers-Handbook.pdf

    To participate in the virtual meeting, please ensure that Council 2 has your preferred email address.  A meeting link will then be sent on December 10th.  As a reminder, please also check your spam folder for the email with the link.

Yesterday, November 24

  • 8:11pm
    Changes to Title
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    Join AFSCME Local 2187
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    Join AFSCME 2187
  • Your profile picture
    4:23pm
    Editor's Note: The day after this story was finalized, Sgt. Tony DeMarco came down with symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, he is recovering in self-isolation and hopes to return to his job shortly.

    Tony is just like any of the direct care workers, public health nurses, custodians, public works professionals, corrections officers, and so many other public service workers across our region and the country are maintaining essential services — all at great risk of contracting the coronavirus. We're on the front lines of this pandemic and doing everything we can to protect our communities at all costs and too often without the health and safety resources that we need.

    Our state and local government budgets are reeling from this crisis. We need greater investment in our health care systems, our schools and our workplaces.


    Tell Congress to fund the front lines. We're doing our jobs. We need Congress to do theirs.
     

    Boston, MA- Tony DeMarco is used to being in close contact with dangerous situations as a Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) Police Sergeant dealing with some of Boston's most vulnerable homeless and drug addicted populations, but the COVID-19 crisis has added unanticipated levels of stress and anxiety to an already stressful and dangerous job.

    DeMarco, Vice President of Local 787, and all of the BPHC Police Officers have been working their regular schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic and performing to the same high standards. BPHC Police Officers are deputized special police officers responsible for the safety and well-being of the public while on BPHC Campus properties throughout Boston.

    DeMarco is deeply concerned for well-being of all the BPHC officers and staff, "we are working daily with a lack of supplies. Yes, we have hand sanitizer, but there is a lot more that we are in need of as far as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Safety items are in high demand; many officers do not have the proper PPE; we are being issued one mask that is essentially a painter's mask not an N95."

    PPE is essential for front line workers and has been shown to limit the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this potentially lifesaving equipment is in short supply as the crisis spreads. In response to the nationwide PPE shortages, AFSCME has been working tirelessly to urge action from the federal government so that front line workers have the protection they need to keep themselves and their communities safe.

    The work of any police officer can be dangerous under the best of circumstances, but the added pressures and stress of keeping the peace during a global health pandemic heighten the dangers of the job....

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  • Your profile picture
    4:18pm

    Just over a month ago, Dave Harnois was working as a Vocational Instructor for the Massachusetts 

    Department of Developmental Disability Services (DDS) providing job and life skills training to some of Massachusetts' most vulnerable citizens. But Harnois' job duties changed in mid-March when the coronavirus began to spread quickly across Massachusetts and the country.

    A twenty-one-year veteran employee of DDS, Harnois misses his regular job at the working with DDS clients at the Dighton Redemption Center where he teaches developmentally disabled clients job and life skills to more fully integrate into the community and develop independence through work. But he knows that he is where he is most needed right now, and happy to be helping in any way he can. "When social distancing became the priority the programs we staffed were designated as non-essential and people in jobs like mine were reassigned and became essential overnight," Harnois said. But like all of my members, I'm ready to do whatever we need to do to keep the individuals who rely on us safe."

    Harnois' vocational program was abruptly halted last month, as were all programs that brought the 41,000 adults and children served by DDS into the community. Daytrips, vocational training, occupational therapy, job placements, and many other important programs were temporarily suspended to slow the spread of the potentially-deadly virus among the medically fragile populations DDS serves.

    Harnois, President of Local 651 and a Council 93 Executive Board Member, has been reassigned to a group home as a Direct Support Worker on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight. He is responsible for assisting the now home-confined clients with daily chores, food preparation, and self-care during this difficult time. Local 651 has approximately 600 members working 24/7 at fifty-three group homes in the DDS Southeast Region which spans from Cape Cod, to Attleboro, and up the South Shore. The suspension of visits from 

    residents' friends and family members has made the job of AFSCME members even more difficult and increased the already heavy reliance that residents have on the staff.

    "COVID-19 has made a difficult job that much harder," Harnois commented. "The clients we work with are used to a daily routine and this has totally upended any sense of normalcy. To make matters worse, a lot of them do not understand what is going on and why we can't go out like we used to. It is...

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  • Your profile picture
    4:16pm

    The union representing more than 6,500 direct care workers and support staff in Massachusetts State Human Services facilities and group homes has asked the Administration of Governor Charles Baker to establish a public, online system for reporting data on COVID-19 infections among staff and the patients and clients in their care.

    Council 93 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) reached out to officials in the administration during the weekend of April 17-19 to suggest the issuance of regular, easily-accessible online reports on patient/client and staff infections for each human services facility under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).

    In the days that followed, some reports were emailed to staff at select human services facilities but the union has yet to see seen evidence of a consistent, public reporting system for all facilities as requested.

    The union believes the reports are necessary to put an end to sporadic media reports of infections at select facilities under EOHHS, which have created a great deal of confusion and concern among families with loved ones receiving care in these facilities, as well as the front-line staff.

    "Concerned families, AFSCME members, and the media are turning to us for answers and we cannot and should not be the official source of this critical information," said AFSCME Council 93 Executive Director Mark Bernard. "The families and staff deserve to know what is happening in each facility and they shouldn't have to hunt for that information or rely on any source other than the commonwealth. We realize that the information provided in these online updates may be disturbing, but the fear and panic associated with the unknown is, in many respects, worse."

    In an effort to further calm concerned individuals and families, the union is also asking that the reports include specific information on steps being taken to reduce the spread of the virus at each individual facility and group home under EOHHS.

    Bernard said the union's effort is not aimed at criticizing the Baker Administration. Rather, the union is calling for the online reporting system to provide "some measure of comfort" to families and staff who are searching for answers. "This is not a complaint. It's offered as a well-intentioned suggestion," Bernard said. "We're all in this together and like our members, we believe Governor Baker and his team are doing the best they can under increasingly difficult and rapidly changing circumstances. But the bottom line here is that concerned parties deserve to know what is happening in these facilities, and they need to have easy access to the most up-to-date information from a single source. We stand ready to help in any way we can."

    Media...

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    3:32pm

    When thinking about essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, most members of the public would not immediately think of public works professionals as being among the tens of thousands of dedicated and courageous workers on the front lines.

    But, in reality there are thousands of Council 93 public works members on the job right now, and they've been there every day maintaining ensuring our trash is removed from the curb; maintaining our roads, bridges and sewer systems; ensuring we have access to clean drinking water; and much more.

    Local 680 member Kevin Naughton is one of them.

    Naughton, a longtime Local 680 member with the Arlington Highway Department, has been on the front lines since the start of the pandemic in mid-March. To practice social distancing and limit exposure the town has gone to one-week-on one-week-off split shifts with all crews on standby in case of an emergency, but the work and the needs of the public remains the same. "We are maintaining the critical infrastructure of the town for the residents' of Arlington just like we always do," Naughton commented.

    To further protect workers- equipment is being regularly disinfected, trucks are limited to one worker, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer is supplied. Despite the precautions, Naughton noted that "due to the nature of the job, there is only so much we can do. The job necessitates being close to our co-workers. Whether it is in a hole, patching a street, or holding a post in place you are often going to be closer than six-feet. We are doing the best we can with social distancing and PPE, but we can always use more."

    Naughton understands that his job is essential to the well-being of his community, but of course, he is "worried every day" about his and his family's health and safety. "My wife is a nurse and I am a DPW worker- we are both essential employees. It is the job we signed up for, but I worry about getting the people I love sick. I have two young kids at home. I worry about them getting sick. I worry about what we are going to do for childcare since their daycare is closed."

    Naughton's story is unfortunately typical of the thousands of his brothers and sisters employed in municipal and state public works positions and all other essential workers. They all deserve our gratitude for their dedication and courage. This week, our union and organizations across the country are taking time to especially recognize Naughton and public works...

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  • Your profile picture
    3:17pm

    For the past several months AFSCME Council 93 has been working in coalition with other public sector-unions in support of HB4631. The legislation filed by State Representative Tackey Chan and co-sponsored by dozens of members of the house and senate, seeks to provide time-and-a-half pay to all public sector workers who have been required to work outside of their homes during the pandemic – retroactive to March 11th. The bill was sent to the Joint Committee on Public Service and thousands of public-sector union members across the state joined their union leaders in submitting testimony in support of the legislation. Under legislative rules, the committee was required to issue a recommendation on the legislation by Friday, June 19th. Late Friday, the committee voted to send the legislation to a "study," essentially ending hopes for passing this particular bill in the current session.

    While efforts to pass the precise form of hazard pay proposed through this particular bill have been dealt a major setback, it does not prevent Council 93 from continuing to work in coalition with other public-sector unions to provide financial recognition to the thousands of public-sector workers who put their safety and the safety of their families in jeopardy by continuing to deliver essential public services during the pandemic. The primary factor influencing the house committee's decision was cost of funding the increases, which are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Due to severe revenue shortfalls resulting from the shutdown of the economy, the state along with municipalities, are struggling to maintain public services and avoid layoffs until the economy rebounds.

    AFSCME is currently working on a national level to secure a new round of federal financial aid to states and municipalities in an effort to maintain essential services until we see a full economic recovery. Legislation providing this relief has already cleared the U.S. House of Representatives and is now awaiting action in the U.S. Senate. In addition to direct aid to states and municipalities, the house bill also includes billions in funds that would be set aside to help government entities provide hazard pay. So, while the fight for passage of HB4631 may be over for this session, rest assured AFSCME will continue working with other public sector unions on other options to deliver some form of well-deserved hazard pay to our members.

  • Your profile picture
    3:14pm

    Earlier this week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a far-reaching bill aimed at addressing longstanding, deep-rooted racism and bias within our law enforcement system. While we believe the action by the senate was well-intentioned, we also believe the bill that a majority of senators supported is fundamentally flawed.

    In particular, we believe the provision in the senate's legislation that eliminates so-called qualified immunity protections were approved too hastily, and without due consideration and study of the likely impact.

    We also believe the qualified immunity section of the senate bill that removes this protection for ALL PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS is a drastic and dangerous overreach because it wrongfully puts all public sector workers at risk for lawsuits targeting their personal assets.

    Immediately after the bill was released by the Senate Ways and Means Committee without a public hearing, AFSCME Council 93 began analyzing the legislation to determine its impact on our members. When problems with the qualified immunity section of the senate bill were identified and confirmed by our legal team, our legislative team began working with like-minded unions in an attempt to amend the legislation, specifically by supporting an amendment that would require more thoughtful consideration of the attempts to eliminate qualified immunity for all public sector workers.

    We worked to build support for an amendment that would provide a committee of legal experts - including a designee from the state's Supreme Court - with up to six months to study the impact of eliminating qualified immunity, and issue expert guidance before the legislature moved forward with passing a law. Unlike some organizations who called for defeating the entire bill, it was our hope and intent to improve the bill rather than defeat it because we believe that we need substantive, permanent change to address this crisis.

    Despite the limited time we were forced to work with due to the wrongful rush by the senate to pass this legislation without a public hearing, AFSCME Council 93, along with many other unions, successfully secured the support of 16 state senators including ten Democrats who reached across the aisle to join their Republican colleagues in support of the study amendment. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the amendment fell just a few votes short. CLICK HERE to see how your state senator voted on this amendment.

    Moving forward, our efforts are now focused on the House of Representatives where House Speaker Robert DeLeo has pledged to hold a public hearing on any legislation...

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