Local 9185 USW SENA
Keep Your Job/Avoid Layoffs – call now!
As early as tomorrow morning, the Boston City Council will vote on Mayor Marty Walsh’s budget. Whether that budget will pass Council is the question. If it does NOT pass, layoffs, furloughs etc. may follow. l don’t want to risk it – and I don’t think you do, either.
Please call your city councilor. Tell their staffer that you are a constituent — give them your address. After that call, please phone the four At-Large city councilors.
What to Say?
First, speak to them naturally and sincerely – you should not be perfect. Don’t read anything prepared. Your goal is to impress upon them that you are a regular person who is deeply concerned about Boston andthe state of Boston’s families — including your own.
Things to say:
- Introduce yourself to the staffer
- Thank them for taking the time to listen
- Tell them you understand the Councilor maybe be voting on the Mayor’s Budget very soon
- That you want to urge her/him to vote “yes” on the budget
Tell them in your own words what you do, and why it’s important to the people of Boston, as background to why you want them to vote “yes”
- I am a member of the USW/SENA which is comprised of 750 middle-managers in Boston’s city government. We care deeply about Boston and its families. This is what we do for them:
- We organize and oversee Boston’s Emergency Medical Services
- We plan and oversee Boston’s Parks and our Rec Centers too – that help kids find summer jobs
- We oversee the sanitizing and sweeping of Boston’s streets.
- We plan and oversee Boston’s Youth & Family Services
Tell them it would be terrible to cut the jobs that make and guide these services – that Boston’s families depend on so much. Especially now, during the COVID crisis, when so many families are suffering job losses and depend on them even more.
- Sir/Ma’am., I am not saying that the debate in Council is not important to have. I’m saying, these services are important to Boston Families and that my job and the jobs of my colleagues in the union are important to us all.
Please let the Councilor know that I urge Her/Him to vote for the budget please.
Thank you for listening.
How to Call?
This is simple. There is one phone number at City Hall that you can to reach a City Councilor Office – either a staffer or a place to leave a message.
Tell them that you want to speak to your City Councilor’s Office. Be prepared for an answering machine.
Again, don’t be prefect or sound too polished.
Don’t feel comfortable calling send an email. Link: To city council page Click Here
Do it now please. Thanks.
Joe Smith, President
Brothers and Sisters.
We need to stand together! Please read below.
Our AFSCME Brothers and Sisters will not be the only ones facing layoffs and furloughs.
So I Urge you to make the call or E-Mail your City Councilor and encourage them to pass Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposed budget for Fiscal year 2021,
President SENA 9158
Dear AFSCME Boston President:
Please read the urgent message below, take the requested action as soon as possible, and then forward it to your members and urge them to take immediate action too. We are facing a very real threat of layoff and as such, need to take action immediately. Let me know if you have any questions.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED BY AFSCME CITY OF BOSTON MEMBERS
Next Wednesday, June 24, the Boston City Council will vote on whether or not to approve Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins on July 1.
Mayor Walsh’s budget includes generous funding for the essential public services delivered by AFSCME members; provides for additional positions in some of our Boston Locals; and ensures positions added in recent years are retained.
We are writing because we are hearing reports that many city council members are considering voting against the mayor’s budget for various reasons.
If the mayor’s budget is rejected, we will start the fiscal year without a budget and the city will be forced to implement furloughs and layoffs that will impact AFSCME members.
We need all AFSCME members in the City of Boston to take a few minutes to call AND email their city councilors.
We are asking each member to contact their ward councilor and all four at-large members of the council.
WHAT SHOULD I SAY?
Below are some suggested talking points for your calls and emails.
Start by stating your name, home address, job title and AFSCME Local number.
I’m reaching out to urge you to vote in favor of Mayor Walsh’s proposed budget. If we begin the fiscal year without a budget, I know the city will be forced to make job cuts.
For the past several months, I along with my AFSCME brothers and sisters, have been working through the pandemic to deliver essential services to city residents. NOTE: You can enhance this by adding some specific examples about the work you do.
Now, despite placing ourselves and our families at risk by working outside of the safe confines of our homes, we are facing the possibility of being rewarded with a layoff and loss of health insurance coverage.
I’m respectfully asking you to consider the negative impact that rejecting the budget will have on me and my family – as well as the essential services we deliver for the city.
I am urging you to please vote in favor of the budget.
I would appreciate a call back/response to my email indicating how you plan to vote.
WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?
Please start by calling and emailing the following four At-Large City Councilors
ANNISSA ESSAIBI GEORGE
After contacting the above four At-Large Councilors, please call and email your ward councilor.
You can find a list of all ward councilors and their email addresses and phone numbers by clicking here. HTTPS://Boston.gov/departments/City-Council
aIf you have any questions or concerns please email Jim Durkin or call Jim at 617-367-6012
Protecting Public Workers
Posted: June 09, 2020
Tom ConwayUSW International President
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Steve Scarpa began fishing anti-bacterial wipes, socks and even T-shirts out of the sewers in Groton, Conn.
Scarpa, president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9411 and a member of the city’s wastewater treatment crew, said residents went into “mad hysteria cleaning mode” and simply flushed potentially contaminated objects down the toilet.
And so Scarpa and his co-workers risked COVID-19 themselves to remove items that kept jamming the sewer pumps crucial to the wastewater system’s operation.
While millions of Americans did their jobs remotely during the pandemic, public servants turned out in force every day to repair roads, collect trash, operate water systems and keep communities functioning.
They had America’s back. Now, the nation must have theirs as well.
Public workers will face additional exposure to COVID-19 as the lockdown ends and Americans return to government buildings, streets, parks and beaches in growing numbers.
Cities and counties have an obligation to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), enforce social distancing in public offices and implement other measures to protect road crews, water department personnel and code enforcement officers.
But it isn’t only the government’s responsibility to help public workers navigate the health risks that constitute the new normal.
Everyone has a role to play.
Residents can do their part by wearing masks when water department workers show up at the door to repair broken meters and by staying out of government buildings when they’re sick.
They can safeguard the health of crews repairing sidewalks, mowing parks and cleaning storm drains just by staying at least six feet away from work areas.
The public needs to pause and think about the people who perform these essential services—and about the impact careless actions have on them. It’s simply unacceptable for public workers to put themselves at risk because someone flushed a bulky item down a toilet.
“When they push the handle, no one really understands or cares what happens to it,” explained Scarpa, who believes people began flushing items because they feared leaving them inside the house until garbage day.
“We had to go and unplug pumps every day,” he said. “If you don’t unplug them, they’ll overheat, and they’ll burn out. And these things aren’t cheap.”
Public servants performed crucial roles during the pandemic. Many put in longer hours and took on additional responsibilities, such as tracking coronavirus cases or going door-to-door to warn citizens of COVID-19 hazards.
They paid a heavy price for keeping America’s cities and counties operating.
In New York alone, more than 100 transit workers died of COVID-19. Many other public servants have been infected nationwide.
Despite the risks they faced, these workers and their unions, including the USW, had to fight for commonsense safety measures.
Wanda Howard, president of USW Local 12160, battled the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority to provide PPE for front-line field representatives.
She demanded laptops for union members with health risks so they could do their jobs remotely. She argued for more sick leave so workers could stay home when they felt unwell instead of exposing others to illness on the job.
In recent months, field workers answered only emergency calls at customers’ homes. But as the lockdown ends, Howard worries that customers will deluge authority officials with routine service requests, increasing the chances that her members will encounter someone with COVID-19.
“People who want water service are not going to say they’re sick or somebody in the house is sick,” Howard explained. “They’re just not going to admit to that. My fear is that they’re going to open up appointments and want our servicemen to put themselves more in harm’s way.”
Already, she said, some customers greet union members at the door without masks. At one job site, a contractor helped himself to a worker’s wrench, even though COVID-19 can live on surfaces.
As local governments resume regular operations, it’s important for elected officials to stress the crucial work that public servants do and the collective effort needed to protect them.
That means insisting that customers report any illnesses in a home before crews arrive for service calls. It means demanding that homeowners wear masks and give workers plenty of space to make repairs or perform inspections.
And it means reminding residents to wash their hands frequently, maintain social distancing and take other steps to guard against COVID-19, even if infection rates continue to fall.
“If they stay safe, then we stay safe,” Howard said.
Workers’ lives are at stake. Essential services are as well.
In addition to handling service calls, the 125 members of Local 12160 monitor chemical levels in the drinking water and operate the authority’s offices. If COVID-19 swept through the work force, Howard noted, more than 400,000 people in 15 communities could face service disruptions.
Workers know the hazards they face better than anyone else.
That is why they deserve extensive input into workplace safety plans.
When the pandemic hit, for example, the Niagara Falls Water Board asked Glenn Choolokian for help.
Choolokian, president of USW Local 9434, developed a safety plan with advice from labor and management that protected workers and kept the water flowing. He split the work force into teams that rotated one week on the job and one week off so a surge in infections couldn’t devastate the entire operation.
Now, as the authority resumes more regular operations, he tells union members to contact him if they encounter hazardous conditions or other problems.
As Choolokian sees it, the pandemic requires an unprecedented level of cooperation—one that could make unions and employers partners in pushing for new workplace standards and other ways to enhance safety.
“It’s time to look at things differently,” he said. “I think we have to educate ourselves and see if there’s new equipment, new ideas, new ways of doing things.”
The local promoted public involvement in worker safety through social media posts, and it encouraged local businesses to make and donate PPE. In tight-knit Niagara Falls, Choolokian said, it’s been easy to get residents’ buy-in.
In coming months, that kind of support will become ever more important.
The COVID-19 economic slowdown caused many businesses to close or scale back operations, reducing the tax revenue collected by local governments.
At a time that communities must do more to protect public workers, some may try to cut corners instead. Scarpa fears that towns will cut jobs or slash budgets, straining already-vulnerable work forces.
In a crisis like that, public servants will rely on the public to stand with them in demanding that officials implement aggressive safety plans and provide the other resources that workers need.
“We can’t make these places run with bubble gum and paper clips,” Scarpa said.
Image of utility truck from Getty Images. Photos of Wanda Howard and Glenn Choolokian
I hope all is well with you and your families.
In order to protect and keep our members safe, we have canceled our June 9th meeting.
We hope to see you all at the September meeting. If you have any question or concerns please do not hesitate to contact any E-board member or your Steward.
If the Florian Hall reopens, is available and if regulations allow us to have a meeting in July or August, we will make every effort to have a meeting where we normally be on summer break.
Please Keep yourself and your families safe.
Please continue to check the website of updates.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has plunged our world into crisis. Our USW members on an unfair labor practice strike at Asarco have been living with crisis for months and need our continued support and solidarity.
Since last October, more than 1,700 Steelworkers have been out on an unfair labor practice strike against ASARCO. The company’s proposals included no wage increases for a majority of the workers, doubling the out-of-pocket health care costs, freezing the existing pension plan and more. This is insulting after our brothers and sisters sacrificed to sustain the company during past downturns.
These workers earned and deserve a fair contract with better and more secure earnings, benefits and pensions.
If you agree, show them you’re with them by signing our solidarity pledge at: usw.to/UnityinCopperPledge.
Thanks for your time.
USW International President
Protecting Our Nation’s Workers
Information on emergency legislative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. As Congress debates measures to address the health and economic concerns that impact all of us, our union is working diligently to make sure we have a voice in that process. So far, two bills have passed through the House and Senate, and both are now signed into law.
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act – This is an emergency spending bill that was signed into law March 6. It allocates $8.3 billion for help to fund vaccine development, treatment, and public health efforts. You can find a breakdown of where that money is going HERE.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – This is a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.
Provides for Free COVID-19 Testing – Private insurance companies and government programs like Medicaid/Medicare/TRICARE are now required to cover testing of COVID-19 with no cost and no cost-sharing, and reimburse labs for testing of the uninsured.
Implements Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Employers having less than 500 employees are now required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay for quarantine, treatment or care of a family member related to the coronavirus.
Provides for Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion – This legislation ensures 12 weeks of protected job leave for workers to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed as a result of the coronavirus.
Provides Additional Resources for Unemployment Insurance – An additional $1 billion in 2020 for emergency administration grants will be available to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits.
A third measure to address the pandemic is being debated now. We hope to see more workers covered under paid sick time, and if bailouts to industries are being considered, there must be conditions attached such as ensuring the money doesn’t go to CEO pay or stock buybacks. We also are pushing for an OSHA standard to protect front-line workers and other provisions to protect our members.
Additional Union Resources
Our union has also put together some resources to help you stay safe and healthy. Find those HERE. You can also find USW coronavirus-related position statements on trade and health and safety. We will continue to get information to you as the situation changes, and please stand ready to act if needed to ensure these legislative measures have workers’ best interests front and center.
Stay safe, Steelworker siblings.