"When you say fiscal responsibility, it seems to me that you really mean rich people keeping their money." --- Alice Adams





Riki Hing asked what the status was on previous calls for boycotts against Whole Foods and Starbucks. So we did a few emails/ a little googling and this is what we have.

STARBUCKS... back in 2005 or so there were some claims that Starbucks was firing people for being pro-union. These seem to have died down and unionization continues to grow. The latest issue in 2007 was about managers taking a cut of worker's tips. This was brought to court and found in favor of the workers. So as far as I can see, we do not have an active boycott of Starbucks...if any knows differently, let us know.

WHOLE FOODS -- the big issue with Whole Foods was with the Chairman of the Board using his influence to try and kill public healthcare in this country. The pressure of the boycott caused him to resign as Chairman but he is still the CEO of Whole Foods. The ancillary issues are that Whole Foods is non-union and is one of the big box stores that comes in with the look of local produce but it's not, undercuts the local grocery stores and pushes them out of business.... lesson is know where the owners of your stores live and then buy local, buy local, buy local.


We're in the process of completing a look at the Union districts and Steward/District Contact assignments. We're hoping to have a new Stewards page up and running by the beginning of September.


 "People at Bear Stearns get tens of millions for doing a terrible job at manipulating financial markets. And people get minimum wage for taking care of our grandparents." Barry Blueston




News Tidbits

Listserve Changes

Some of you may be aware that the Union has two listserves. They are the Voice listserve and the Unitmember listserve. Most of you are most familiar with the Unitmember listserve. It is the one that you subscribe to and can post emails to yourself. TheVoice listserve was originally adopted to send out notifications of the Union Voice, the union electronic newsletter. The Voice listserve has the most complete list of member emails.

We have decided that we will now use the Voice listserve for all formal union communications, i.e. Union announcements, the Union Voice, other formal union communications. This is not a listserve that the membership can post to themselves. If there is an announcement that a member wants to post to the Voice listserve because of its importance and needs a wide readership, they can send the email in question to Donna Johnson for consideration.

The unitmember listserve will continue to run the way it always has with the same guidelines. Members can now decide whether they want to receive these emails or not without worrying that they will not receive important Union communications.

We also want to remind people that they can decide to use their home email addresses for either or both of these listserves.

We hope people will find this change in process to be a beneficial one for all. If you have any questions, please email

Donna Johnson

Old Union Voice Editions
web counter

Dan Clawson

Local Labor Hero

Review of Prof. Clawson's 2003 book "The Next Upsurge":

"The U.S. labor movement may be on the verge of massive growth, according to Dan Clawson. He argues that unions don't grow slowly and incrementally, but rather in bursts. Even if the AFL-CIO could organize twice as many members per year as it now does, it would take thirty years to return to the levels of union membership that existed when Ronald Reagan was elected president. In contrast, labor membership more than quadrupled in the years from 1934 to 1945. For there to be a new upsurge, Clawson asserts, labor must fuse with social movements concerned with race, gender, and global justice. The new forms may create a labor movement that breaks down the boundaries between "union" and "community" or between work and family issues. Clawson finds that this is already happening in some parts of the labor movement: labor has endorsed global justice and opposed war in Iraq, student activists combat sweatshops, unions struggle for immigrant rights. Innovative campaigns of this sort, Clawson shows, create new strategies—determined by workers rather than union organizers—that redefine the very meaning of the labor movement. The Next Upsurge presents a range of examples from attempts to replace "macho" unions with more feminist models to campaigns linking labor and community issues and attempts to establish cross-border solidarity and a living wage."

Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs began working in the railroad shops in his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, as a young man. Debs served as a national union officer, an elected city official and an Indiana legislator before 1893 when he launched the American Railway Union, an industrial union of railroad workers. After serving time in prison for his participation in the Pullman Strike of 1894, Debs emerged with two unbendable beliefs: industrial u

nions rather than trade unions gave the workers the power needed to combat America's corporati

ons, and for him, Socialism was the best political choice for workers.

Debs fought tirelessly for then "radical" workers' rights now considered standard, workmen's compensation, pensions and social security, and for social causes including women's suffrage. He helped found the Industrial Workers of the World along with Big Bill Haywood and Mother Mary Harris Jones in 1905, but soon withdrew from that movement. Debs ran five times as a Socialist Party presidential candidate, from 1900-1920. His last campaign was run from a federal prison in Atlanta, where he served 32 months of a 10-year sentence for violating The Espionage Act, by publicly opposing America's involvement in World War I. Even so, Debs received nearly a million votes.

(Note: the Debs portrait photo was taken outside of the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.)


Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993

United Farm Workers

"It's ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves."


Born in 1927 to Mexican immigrant parents in Yuma, Arizona, Cesar Chavez began toiling in the fields as a young boy. In 1939, his family moved to California and like migrant workers throughout the country, followed the harvests up and down the state. In 1952, Cesar Chavez began working for the Community Service Organization, conducting voter registration drives and battling racial and economic discrimination against Chicanos. However, his passion and commitment belonged to those working in the fields, and in 1962, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFW) within the AFL-CIO in 1965.

Building upon his Catholic upbringing and his adherence to the teachings of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Chavez successfully brought together religious organizations, labor unions, students, minority organizations, and consumers in a fiveyear grape boycott. His efforts turned the nation's attention to the dismal working conditions of the farm workers. In 1975, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, a collective bargaining law for farm workers. By the early 1980s, tens of thousands of farm workers were under UFW contracts, and realized higher pay, family health coverage, pension benefits, and other protections.

USA Calendar
Search our website

This search function does not search the Contract PDF file. If your search does not show what you want, try opening the Contract page above and search the PDF.


Got taxes?

I have three points I'd like to make…

One, we need to reorient ourselves and our attitudes about taxes. We need to remember the good that taxes can do for us, has done for us and will continue to do for us.

Second, we have undergone in the past ten years an erosion of that good collective common wealth and we are now in a position to see the results of that bad advice and bad actions in cutting our tax rate from 5.9% to 5.3%

Third, the days of laissez-faire of citizenship is gone. Putting our collective monies into a coffer requires, REQUIRES us to be informed, engaged and outraged when those collective funds are used in a manner that does not promote the common good of our state or our nation. 

Click to read more ...


Members go to the Statehouse

This was my second journey to the Statehouse to lobby our legislators regarding important matters concerning both students and employees.  My husband, Donald Pipczynski accompanied me (he's a councilman from Belchertown on the Hampshire County Board of Government).  The three of us (including Deb Warner from UHS) had to skip the march due to the cold, windy weather. We did participate in the rally and were energized by the speakers, including Aggie Mitchkoski, as well as the student speakers. My husband was interviewed by ABC 40 from Springfield while we were at the rally.

We went inside the Statehouse and headed for Sen. Rosenberg's Office.  Fortunately, we caught him just before he left for a caucus.  Channel 22 actually followed us into his office and he spoke with us and they televised his comments and we were shown shaking hands with him on TV.  He is very much pro higher education of course and didn't need much convincing from us!  We met many students and employees from other state colleges and shared our opinions and thoughts with them.  We also participated in the debriefing in the Gardner Auditorium after we met with the legislators.

Click to read more ...


What role models we have...


"You never come back. I say goodbye when I see you going in doors, the hopeless open doors, that call and wait and take you then for -- how many cents a day? How many cents for the sleepy eyes and fingers?" Carl SandburgMarch is National Women's History Month and March 8th is the anniversary of several women's labor actions. In 1857 women garment workers from New York City took to the streets, picketing for better working condtions, a 10 hour day and equal rights for women. They were attacked by the police.Two years later, again in March, these women workers formed their first union to try and protect their rights.

On March 8, 1908 15,000 women again took to the streets in New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. These were the women who created the slogan "Bread and Roses", with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life.

Here we are again in a time of great challenge. The benefits we today take forgranted were won at great cost and risk to those who came before us.  We have very big shoes to fill.


Rally for Understanding the UMASS Budget Crisis

Updated on Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 6:23PM by Registered CommenterWeb Administrator

I cannot believe we didn't plan for taking any pictures of the all Union, all student event at UMASS! The Labor Coalition pulled this lunch event together in just under 2 weeks and had a great turnout. Many thanks to Karen Markham, Rich O'Rourke and Linda Fish of USA who helped to make this event happen.

Unfortunately the music we hoped to play at the event didn't happen but you can see it here. Thanks to Sue Randall in psych for bringing it forward.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World "Stand By Me"

Donna Johnson, president of the University Staff Association union of classified staff emceed the event. Randy Phillis, president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors union gave a sharp and clear outline of the budget situation. Dominique Cambou from the Graduate Employee Organization union spoke to the potential increase fees and reduction in positions affects that group. Francis Martin of the AFSCME union of blue-collar workers on campus spoke to the poor performance of previous attemps at privitization. Dale Melcher from the Professional Staff Union began the final portion of the program which was aimed at alternative solutions to the traditional avenues of layoffs and fee increases.  Examining the President's office and the $19million of University funds that are siphoned theree each year, looking at the high-level adminsitrative staffing that has swelled over the past 10 years,  as well as looking for increased revenues.

Click to read more ...


Governor Patrick Visits the MTA

Linda Hillenbrand and Aggie Mitchkoski took a trip last Thursday to Natick to hear Governor Patrick speak to the Massachusetts Teacher's Association (MTA). Even though Governor Patrick was with President-elect Obama earlier in the day, he arrived at the meeting early. He made his way around the room, stopping to see and warmly greet Cathy Boudreau as well as a host of other MTA members. 

When MTA President Anne Wass came up to the front of the room where Governor Patrick was waiting, the Governor dropped onto one knee, put his hands together in supplication and greeting to Anne. It was quite humorous but I wasn't fast enough to catch in on film!

Click to read more ...