Tag Archives: union

Union calls for action on Medicaid rates, workforce training and job protection within payment reform legislation

BOSTON – The largest healthcare union in Massachusetts is about to take the issue of healthcare payment reform public with a series of mobilizations, community forums, a massive advertising blitz, caregiver workshops, and other actions in a new statewide campaign slated to launch on Wednesday, April 6. The campaign aims to elevate the voices of all healthcare workers in the ongoing debate around quality and cost control reforms, while also raising awareness of the key role hospital service workers play in overall healthcare delivery. 1199SEIU members are calling it the “Voices of Quality Care” campaign.

The campaign kicks off Wednesday with a TV ad featuring the kind of service and technical workers who union members say are often overlooked as part of the care delivery team. The ad promotes a new website that both explains 1199SEIU’s take on payment reform, and encourages caregivers to join the union.

“Our basic message is that patients and caregivers need more than a voice in these upcoming reforms – they need a strong voice,” said John Herr, a respiratory therapist at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton. “We can’t let the conversation be dominated by insurance executives and regulators, so we’re bringing our perspective as frontline caregivers straight to the public.” Continue reading Union calls for action on Medicaid rates, workforce training and job protection within payment reform legislation

After-school programs are key! Let’s keep our schools open those extra 90 minutes!

By Rosalie Tirella

Years ago, I was an inner-city kid. I, along with my sisters, attended the old Lamartine Street School in Green Island. We were labeled the City of Worcester’s first “inner-city” school. But I had the best public school teachers in Worcester! Mr. John Monfredo! Mr. Gillman! Mrs. Napoli/Zaterka! Mr. Chickarian! All of these folks ran their classrooms like well oiled clocks, where learning was serious business, but they also made learning fun/hands-on and managed to convey a genuine fondness for us kids – all of whom were poor, many of whom were very rough around the edges.

Going to Lamartine Street School was the best part of my childhood! A magical place where books were plentiful, games were fun (and educational), adults didn’t scream at each other, hamsters and other pocket pets were cared for (usually by little bookworms like me!) and … after school activites were made available to us kids.

I don’t think any of the teachers at Lamartine got paid for their extra efforts after school – I do know everyone had a lot of fun. Mr. Gillman, my fourth grade teacher, played the accordian! What a cool – BIG – musical instrument, I thought when I saw him take it out during class to play Christmas songs for us. I immediately began whining to my mom to get me a starter/kid accordian with cool rhinestone buttons on the left and fake ivory inlay over the keyboard at right. And in between – squezze box! A bunch of Lamartine kids felt the same way and their parents got them accordians too. So Mr. Gillman began teaching every accordian toting kid – after school. Giving us music lessons. For free. Boy! Did I sound horrific, but my chest swelled with pride whenever I carried my pretty little accordian (which my mom rented for me from some teeny music store on Pleasant Street) to class.

After school fun that kept a smart kid like me from going home to sadness … At Lamartine I did not have to get sad over my father or our living situation.

About two decades ago, I had an epiphany. I remember walking out of Union Hill School – an adult now. School had ended about 20 minutes ago. And what did I see? A six year old boy running around the street in front of his home WITH A STEAK KNIFE. A steak knife!

What a godsend that Union Hill had an afterschool program, I thought. That little boy needs to join the Union Hill afterschool program. Nothing heavy – nothing amazingly acacademic. Just a classroom where the Unioh Hill kids could: create little arts and crafts projects, finish up their homework, color mimeographed pictures or play in the school yard – maybe kickball or dodge ball.

Nothing fancy happend at Union Hill’sd after school program. Just like nothing too fancy happened at Lamartine Street School for me years ago. But guess what? Activities like these keep some kids out of trouble/steak knife drawers, provide a quiet place to do homework (our three-decker apartment could get noisy with all the arguing: my baby versus my dad versus my mom!) or just hang out and color in a coloring book – in an attractive, safe place. Your neighborhood school.

So much more than babysitting! Life-saving, actually!

And last night I watched the Worcester School Committee worry about: paying WPS teachers who are too cheap to volunteer – want to get paid $60 per hour for their work (90 minuites of work). The city doesn’t have the bucks to pay all these teachers – and Mayor Joe O’Brien (wisely ) said that the system should just hire regular folks to run some kind of after school activites – not really teaching academic.

Bravo, Joe!

But of course, the WPS teachers plan to sue over that. They want the money that the city doesn’t have.

They, unlike, my old Lamartine teachers, don’t give a shit about the kids. Don’t care about their safety or happines. They are gonna go to the mat for a lousy $60 an hour. Over folks who may be able to run a good afterschool program getting payed 10 or 12 or 15 bucks an hour.

What a way to bring in the holidays!

Sodexo workers at Clark University to hold community briefing

Workers will give update on their fight to address low wages, unaffordable health care, and Sodexo’s unfair labor practices

Community, religious, and elected leaders in the Worcester area, and Clark students, will join Sodexo workers at the university for a campaign briefing on Wednesday, October 13.

The briefing will outline next steps that Clark Sodexo workers, who are supported by the Service Employees International Union, are planning in their months-long fight to improve their lives and the lives of their communities.

Clark Sodexo workers say they want to address ongoing, serious problems at their workplace, citing their low (in some cases, near-poverty) wages, an unaffordable company-offered health plan priced beyond the reach of many Clark Sodexo employees, and Sodexo’s pattern of intimidating, interfering with, and restraining U.S. Sodexo workers who are seeking to form a union.

Protests against intimidation of union supporters, substandard wages, and working conditions at Sodexo have broken out at colleges and other sites across the country in recent weeks, Continue reading Sodexo workers at Clark University to hold community briefing

The Worcester Police Department and Worcester’s provincialism

By Rosalie Tirella

I got a chance to catch last week’s Worcester City Council meeting. Appalling! To see all our city councilors get up to kiss Police Chief Gary Gemme’s ass – after he throws out his “you- should-thank-God-for-the-WPD crime” report. For without us, Police Chief Gemme was telling the council (not so blatantly, of course) this place would be Dodge City!! This place would be overrun with crime and criminals!” (truth: Worcester has a lower crime rate than Hartford, Springield, etc because Woercester has more upper income folks/families living in our city limits than cities like Hartford or Springfield do. And rich people don’t commit the kinds of crimes poor/desperate people do. Springfiled, Hartford – even Providence – have many more poor people – poor neighborhoods – than we do. In fact, Hartford is one of the poorest cities in New England and one of the poorest in the USA!). Continue reading The Worcester Police Department and Worcester’s provincialism