Showing posts with label union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label union. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

CommonWealth Magazine: The future of work; transmission site info sought

"EVERY LABOR DAY working people celebrate the countless contributions the labor movement has made to improve the lives of working people. We reflect on the past and present to organize a better future for all.

Right now, working people are frustrated. Many are struggling to afford the basics, much less save for college or retirement. Amidst this, corporate special interests are lining their pockets off the backs of working people. In 2021, the CEO pay at S&P 500 companies rose 18.2 percent, faster than the US inflation rate of 7.1 percent. In contrast, US workers’ wages fell behind inflation, with worker wages rising only 4.7 percent in 2021. This is not “inflation.” It is “greedflation” — when companies take advantage of consumers by using their market dominance to increase prices and boost corporate profits. We’ve seen this with Uber surge pricing during times when people are most desperate for a ride, little of which goes to the actual drivers."
Continue reading the article online

"FIVE OF THE SIX New England states have launched an effort to better coordinate the process of bringing ashore electricity produced by offshore wind farms and feeding the power into the regional grid.

Currently, states contract with offshore wind developers and the developers select where they want to bring their power ashore and are responsible for all transmission system upgrades needed to make that happen.

The process has gone fairly smoothly so far, with developers picking interconnection points on Cape Cod, in Somerset, and in Rhode Island."
Continue reading the article online

5 New England states seek info on transmission issues
"5 New England states seek info on transmission issues"

Friday, July 29, 2022

Beacon Hill Round up: likely tax rebate coming in some amount/form; MA Senate union debate goes forward

"In a surprise, Baker says taxpayers could receive ‘north of $2.5 billion’ in tax relief under little-known law" 

"With state coffers overflowing, Massachusetts taxpayers could receive nearly $3 billion in tax relief under an obscure 36-year-old law, Governor Charlie Baker’s administration said Thursday, surprising lawmakers just as separate tax relief talks seemed to be reaching a crescendo.

The likelihood of a decades-old law forcing the state to give back billions to taxpayers quickly shook Beacon Hill on the same day data showed the economy had edged closer to, if not officially in, a recession.

It also complicated legislators’ negotiations over a $1 billion package of tax breaks and rebates — a mammoth proposal lawmakers pursued to help ease the pinch of ballooning inflation but were still scrambling to complete before their legislative session ends Sunday night.

How much the state could ultimately hand back to taxpayers is unclear. But Baker said Thursday that the state appears poised to trigger a 1986 voter-passed law that seeks to limit state tax revenue growth to the growth of total wages and salaries in the state."
Continue reading the Boston Globe article (subscriptions may be required)

CommonWealth Magazine coverage

Mass. Senate president won’t voluntarily recognize staff union effort, doesn’t ‘see a path forward’

Nearly four months after legislative staff in the Massachusetts Senate formally asked President Karen E. Spilka to recognize them as an employee union, Spilka rejected the effort.

“The Senate does not at this time see a path forward for a traditional employer-union relationship in the Senate as we are currently structured,” she wrote in a staff email on Thursday evening.

Staffers expressed dismay at her decision.
Continue reading the Boston Globe article (subscriptions may be required)

The union responded Senate President Spilka's statement with their own:

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Guardian: "What if the most important election of the year is happening right now in Alabama?"

"This month, 5,800 Amazon warehouse employees in Bessemer, Alabama, will be voting on whether or not to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in what could turn out to be the most important election of the year.

While the Bessemer fulfillment center itself is a drop in the bucket when compared to Amazon’s roughly 500 facilities around the country, this could be the ballot heard around the world. If successful, this election would mark the first unionized Amazon facility in the US.

Over the past 26 years, Jeff Bezos has built himself a private empire. Amazon is now the second largest employer in the US, after Walmart, and the fifth largest in the world. The more than 800,000 Amazon employees across the country represent a population between the size of Maine and Montana. Globally, the company employs more than 1 million workers."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

In the News: MA DPU lifts moratorium on NationalGrid; relief for locked-out workers sought

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"State regulators on Wednesday lifted their moratorium on National Grid gas work, infuriating locked-out gas workers, but ordered the utility to adhere to what officials called “an unprecedentedly high standard,” including a new requirement to have work plans approved by a certified professional engineer. 
The order from the Department of Public Utilities would essentially apply the parameters of Gov. Charlie Baker’s gas safety bill and other new safety protocols to National Grid while also easing the moratorium on all non-emergency and non-compliance work across the utility’s service territory, an administration official said. 
Commercial real estate industry officials have said the moratorium was having a “huge impact” by preventing properties from obtaining needed gas hookups."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"Unable since Nov. 1 to shake his popular bill out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Mark Montigny on Tuesday has taken his case directly to Senate President Karen Spilka, urging her to help advance legislation ensuring benefits to workers locked out by their employers. 
A New Bedford Democrat, Montigny asked Spilka in a letter Tuesday to force action on a bill providing extended unemployment benefits to locked-out workers, such as the more than 1,200 gas workers who have been engaged in a labor dispute with National Grid since June. Gas workers lost their health insurance and paychecks and have turned to public insurance programs and unemployment benefits to get by during the lockout. 
Montigny said the Senate should pass a bill expanding the scope of a House bill approved Dec. 6 and correcting a portion of the House bill."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"The state Department of Public Utilities on Wednesday lifted a moratorium on gas work by National Grid, but a series of new regulations means it’s unlikely development projects that have been stalled for months will be able to resume any time soon. 
Quincy is one of a handful of cities and towns that imposed its own local moratorium on all non-emergency gas work by National Grid after the company locked out 1,200 workers in June when contract negotiations broke down. It’s also a city in the midst of a massive development boom that is suffering as developers wait to finish projects that require gas connections. 
The state followed suit with its own moratorium on Oct. 8 after state regulators were spooked by an incident in Woburn in which gas lines were over-pressurized. A series of explosions in the Merrimack Valley a month earlier were also blamed on excessive pressure."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Live Reporting: Fire Dept civil service discussion

1. Resolution 16-58: Request for Legislation
Exempting all positions in the Fire Department from Civil Service Law

The formal document can be found here

Chief McCarragher
The civil service has provided us valuable employees, it is flawed with regards to hiring and promoting. The discussion is to get people into positions quicker. It has cost us 20 weeks to bring people in. It is time to move on from the system and move to a system that will allow us to be more timely.

We don't agree with leaving civil service, we have negotiated the promotion side. It doesn't fix the hiring process. There are a lot of things that it does well and some it doesn't do well. It is not apples and oranges. Hiring would be more difficult

Nutting: I sent everybody a memo, it takes months to get people hired. How can we do this quicker. The Police as an example. They had a test in November, they'll have someone in December, 30 days. It is really up to the Council to make the decision

3 completing physical ability test, 3 other open spots

Dellorco: I took the civil service test in Boston years ago. I called other departments how is taking so long? I don't know where civil service is the problem. Fall River came out 2 years ago, and went back. Would we have preference for children of members?

Nutting: No, not by law

Kelly: we do not proctor our exams

Dellorco: Hopkinton got 35 applications and hired one
Nutting: we could use the civil service list along with this. We struggle with the process as the first person on the list is not the one we want. It does take time to do the background checks, etc. 

Pellegri: why are you so adamant to get rid of civil service?

McCarragher: I don not know that we are adamant, we want an efficient and quicker process. We are trying to do the process better. We think we can do that better outside of civil service than in. It is your decision, we will work with what we have

Nutting: there is not enough people to take the exam, so we are going to wait another year to get a captain. The proof is in the pudding, look at the Police dept. as a good example

Pfeffer: would we get someone from Franklin?

Nutting: any existing list would be honored until it expired. That was always part of the deal. Since 1950, approximately.

Pfeffer: I have been in Franklin all my life, my relatives were fire fighters and I see no reason why we would remove it

Jones: as a member of the two largest unions I am glad for the ability for the two parties. Apparently, there hasn't been enough discussion to reach a solution. I think there needs to be more discussion. There needs to be a reasonable solution to this problem.  

Bissanti: candidly, I see both sides. These are our first responders, I think they should be happy. I haven't been given enough info on going away from it. If they feel comfortable with it, I am comfortable.

Padula: Both sides have compelling arguments. This is not going to be a 9-0 vote. My decision is not going to be based on the morale of the fire dept. I don't feel it is the same as the police. At the end of the day it is based upon significant vetting. A lot of time has been spent on this. They are still talking and that is a good thing. When my head hits the pillow, I will sleep well.

Mercer: I have gone back and forth. I am trying to look at the logic picture, there are compelling arguments at both sides. When civil service came in in the 1950's, there were 15 groups, over the years the other 14 groups have moved away from civil service for one reason or another. Over the time, I have not heard of any mistakes in making those moves away from civil service. Civil service for the existing doesn't change, wheat does change is the new hires coming on board. This is one of the more difficult decisions I have had to make. They are not easy discussions. There needs to be ongoing discussions to make this better.

Kelly: I feel like since I got on the Council that this has been a pending decision. I hope that we can do that tonight and move on. The union and the fire fighters have been great and we'll work together

Yes would send the petition to the legislator
6 no (Pellegri, Padula, Pfeffer, Bissanti, Dellorco, Jones)
3 yes (Mercer, Vallee, Kelly)

Civil Service will stay

Monday, February 22, 2016

Franklin DPW: Memorandum of Agreement 2015-2018

Side Letter - Attachment B

Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance at the Franklin High and Horace Mann Middle Schools

Not withstanding the settlement of the parties' 2015 to 2018 collective bargaining agreement, the parties shall have continuing discussions about the impacts of the Franklin High School outside grounds, court yard and new athletic playing fields.

The expected impacts and costs to maintain these new areas with current staffing levels of DPW personal are unknown. ·

Specifically, the costs associated with the man power, equipment and materials needed to maintain the school grounds can only be estimated. It is anticipated with the burden of maintaining these new areas at the High School, man power and resources will be drained from other areas of the DPW. The current overall "high maintenance level" at the Town and School departments will suffer not only at the High School, but at other Town and School facilities.

From July 1, 2015 through November 2018 the Town will have the right to outsource the following work to determine the cost of labor and resources at the High School and Horace Mann Middle School:
  • Mowing and trimming of all "passive grass areas" i.e.: lawns around school buildings, lawns around parking areas, islands in parking areas, MS4·green spaces, and any area that is not used for athletics.
  • Providing and installing Mulch to all planting beds.
  • The picking up of litter in all passive grass areas mulched planting beds.
  • Spring and Fall clean-ups, which may include mowing, weeding, leaf pick-ups for all "passive grass areas" outlined above and planting beds.
Due to the skill set of present DPW personnel and equipment already owned by DPW, DPW will continue to maintain all "active grass areas" i.e. sports fields at the High School and Horace Mann Middle School, which will include mowing and trimming of grass areas, litter pick up, and emptying of all trash containers. It also may include limited fertilization and line painting as determined by Director.

The Town has the right to outsource such work, subject to three conditions:
  1. No member of the bargaining unit will be laid off solely as a result of such outsourcing.
  2. The Town will bargain with the union about any demonstrable impacts on conditions of employment.
  3. The Town will provide a copy of the bid documents for the out sourcing of said work, all costs associated with said work for future discussions.
This was part of the set of documents released for the Town Council agenda 2/24/16 (page 43 of 45)

Or a copy of the single page here:

one of the new ball fields at Franklin High School
one of the new ball fields at Franklin High School

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Communication goes a long way"

As mentioned  in the FY 2016 update at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Franklin and the fire fighters union are waiting on a decision from the arbitrator.
Union president Bob Donovan said Thursday that an arbitration award was expected this month, but the panel has likely delayed its decision to April. 
When the award arrives, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said it will take time to figure out the financial implications for the town's budget. 
"This goes back four years," Nutting said Thursday. "You have to go employee by employee, year by year, to get a total. That’s not an easy task." 
The timing of the award creates an additional strain on the town, he said, because it is preparing to begin collective bargaining with the eight other unions.

Continue reading the article here 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Jan 7, 2015

Note: The meeting has a scheduled start of 6:00 PM. They will open the meeting, go to Executive Session with a return to open meeting after their discussion on the Fire Fighters Union contract.  

– Collective Bargaining with Fire Fighters Union

The Town Council needs to meet in executive session for the purpose to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining with fire fighters’ Union; I declare that an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the public body. 
The open session will reconvene at the conclusion of the executive session.

- December 17, 2014

– This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon channel 29. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin Matters.



- Historical Commission: Phyllis Messere Malcom

- Zoning Bylaw Amendment 15-745: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 7, Part VI, Use Regulation Schedule, Residential Uses, Office Zoning District – 7:10 PM

- Artistry Kitchen – Change of Manager


  • Community Opportunity Group – Community Development Block Grant 
  • 150 Emmons Street 
  • Town Administrator’s Annual Update, Five Year Fiscal Forecast, Master Plan Update


1. Resolution 15-01: Acceptance of Gift – Council on Aging 
2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 15-745: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 7, Part VI, Use Regulation Schedule, Residential Uses, Office Zoning District – 1ST Reading






The full set of documents released for this meeting can be found here:

150 Emmons St, Franklin, MA
150 Emmons St, Franklin, MA

Friday, October 31, 2014

In the News: Best Buddies, civil service

School officials recognize the challenge in having younger students take part in a Best Buddies program, but believe the pairings will help foster respect and tolerance - values that will prove important as students mature. 
The district already has chapters within the middle school and high school, and pending approval from Best Buddies Massachusetts, it would become the first in the country to offer the program to students during all points in their primary and secondary education. 
“As a district and learning community, we value inclusion, and by supporting friendships, collaborative relationships and connections among our elementary students we can change perceptions, values and beliefs of children as they mature into middle school and high school students,” Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski wrote in an email.
Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News here (subscription maybe required)

The Town Council’s vote eight months ago to remove future fire department hires from the civil service process was never valid, and union leaders say they only learned weeks ago that the system remains in place. 
Apparently the town did not follow the proper procedure under state law for removing a department from civil service. 
To revoke civil service, cities and towns must take the same steps they did to adopt it, or petition the state Legislature to pass home-rule legislation, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News here (subscription maybe required)

My notes on the meeting Feb 12,2014 can be found here

Franklin Fire Dept - Station #1
Franklin Fire Dept - Station #1

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"contracts without raises regularly since 2008"

The Milford Daily News reports on the contract ratifications at the Town Council meeting:
In the contracts approved last night, the custodians as well as the public safety telecommunications unit, public facilities employees and municipal building employees will get the raises. 
The one-time lump-sum payments will be funded by state aid from fiscal year 2012, and not out of resident taxes. officials said. 
All four groups’ raises will be spread over the next three years. Employees are set to receive a 1.5 percent increase in fiscal ’13, 2 percent increase in fiscal ’14, and 2.5 percent increase in fiscal ’15.

Read more:

Related posts

Contract ratifications scheduled

The full Town Council agenda

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"we approach education collaboratively"

Following a salary freeze two years ago, raises for last year remained at zero, while raises for this year go up 1 percent at the beginning and 0.5 percent on the last day of the contract. 
Negotiations for a new contract will have to begin soon, school officials said, but School Committee members say they are upbeat. Union leadership, they said, seems committed to a less confrontational approach than in the past. 
"There is agreement by both sides to review the salary structure," School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy said. 
"It represents closure for me and a move away from the negotiation table," committee member William Glynn said of the brief hiatus between negotiations. "We don't often talk about the deep-seated problems, the systemic problems."

Read more:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"a situation that requires urgent action"

Unlike the state, municipalities must negotiate with local unions before increasing co-pays or deductibles, a requirement the report's sponsors and the Massachusetts Municipal Association want dropped. 
At issue is what role collective bargaining should play in revising the system and whether municipalities should join the state plan or simply use it as a model. 
Unions made other concessions to get better health care, state fire union head Ed Kelly said, but are open to deductibles and larger co-pays as long as bargaining is protected and a safety net established for especially sick employees and their relatives. 
"We don't have our heads in the sand," he said. "We know this is a problem."
Read more:

Franklin, MA

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A rose is a rose is a wage increase

Gertrude Stein would roll over if she heard that a wage freeze is not really a wage freeze. Yes, Gertrude is the one who wrote the oft quoted lines:
"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose"
There are at least four key terms that we should all be aware of and agree on how they are to be used; freeze, increase, step, lane.

Freeze as I want to use it is defined as "a halt of a regular operation"

Step is the increase associated with moving from one salary step to another, usually associated with years of service.

Lane is the increase associated with moving from one classification on a step to another.

Increase is an amount more in one period than in the comparable period.

For example, the salary table may look like this for one year.

Step Bachelor B +15 B+36/M
1 38,010 39,501 41,759
2 39,935 41,813 44,071
3 42,688 44,130 46,387

Someone would get hired with a bachelors degree and start on Step 1 for their first year.

In year 2, they would move to Step 2. (Step as defined above results in an increase from 38,010 to 39,935.)

If they completed 15 credits towards their next degree, in Year 3 they could make a Lane change and move to the B+15 column. So instead of earning 42,688 with a Step change, they would earn 44,130 with a Lane change.

The entire salary table would change from one year to the next based upon contract negotiation. If the union was successful in negotiating a 2.5% increase, then each number in the table would be increased by 2.5% for the next year. The second year table would look like this:

Step Bachelor B +15 B+36/M
1 38,960 40,489 42,803
2 40,933 42,858 45,173
3 43,755 45,233 47,547

Calculate the difference between Bachelor Step 1 in the first table (38,010) and the second table (38,960) the difference is 950 or 2.499% which rounds to 2.5%.

Why do this?
Well according to the information I have received, the wage freezes announced by the town only include the increase from year to year, they do not include the step or lane changes.

So if this is true, don't be too surprised when the budget comes out and the total salary lines are actually higher than last year.

Where did the wage freeze go?

No wonder Shakespeare said "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Citizen Comments - Chandler Creedon (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting 4/30/08, Chandler Creedon, President of the Franklin Education Association (fondly referred to as the teacher's union) speaks to clarify some misinformation.

Time: 1 minute, 31 seconds

MP3 File