For a hard copy of the contract, email your home mailing address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be advised that NAGE continues to experience email issues that have prevented outgoing and incoming email from reaching recipients. Unfortunately, we were not made aware of the problem until several days after it began. In other words, if you have not received a timely response to an email inquiry, it's not because the email response was never sent. NAGE prides itself on promptly addressing our members' emails.
Our IT staff is doing everything possible to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, if you have not received a response to a recent email and your issue is very important, please call the NAGE staff member/leader you're trying to reach. The NAGE main number is (617) 376-0220. Click here for phone numbers of NAGE regional offices.
Thank you very much for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
National President David Holway testified on House Bill 59 today at a hearing of the Joint Committee on Public Service. The hearing took place at the State House and was held to address the retiree health insurance bill that Governor Deval Patrick filed in January based on a report produced by the “Other (than pension) Post-Employment Benefits” Commission—or OPEB. The Legislature created the commission last year to study the state's unfunded liabilities for retiree health care benefits. If passed the bill could substantially change state employees' health care costs and benefits in retirement.
National President Holway was joined by the NAGE legislative team, Trial Court Local Presidents Margaret Thompson and David Abbott, and state presidents Theresa McGoldrick, Leo Munroe, Chris Grey, Greg Sorozan, and John Mann, along with several local executive board members. NAGE also submitted video testimony of two members who told their stories of making career decisions to work for the state only to see the state threaten to back down on their promises and commitments.
Photos from the hearing
"It is really appropriate that this hearing was scheduled for today—Halloween," said Holway in his testimony. "This legislation for public employees is all trick and no treat.
"First, let me state that whatever problems the Commonwealth has with the funding of the pension system is the fault of your predecessors in not meeting their obligation to pay their share into the fund. Public employees have paid every dime that they were obligated to pay since the inception of the retirement plan—the Commonwealth has not."
Local 229 President Thompson said, "Current employees came to work for the state under a contract that laid out certain provisions and promises at retirement. People made career and life decisions based on the terms they were offered when they were hired. It's unjust and unfair for the state to change those terms midway through people's careers."
Local 458 President Abbott agreed. "A deal is a deal. The state made mistakes along the way by not upholding their end of the deal and funding this liability, and now they want to punish workers who did nothing wrong. The burden is once again being shifted onto our backs and being sold to taxpayers as cost savings. It's not cost savings; it's cost shifting."
President Holway in further testimony warned the committee members of the dangers of allowing the state to make the same mistakes as the federal government.
"Federal employment is now a revolving door," he said. "In bad times people flock to work for the federal government. In good times they leave in droves because there is no reason for them to stay. They have no commitment to their employer because their employer has no commitment to them. To adopt legislation that turns Massachusetts towards the federal model is a very shortsighted idea. We need employees who are committed to public service and we need a public that is committed to public employees."
Trial Court members are reminded that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Trial Court employees and their families at no cost. While this program is not new, we remind you that it’s a valuable resource if you or a colleague or family member is experiencing difficulties in your work or home life. The program is completely confidential and is described in the brochure that is linked to below.
If you or any member has a question about the program, please contact Roger Albrecht, Benefits Manager for the Trial Court at (617) 878-0373, who is managing this benefit.
Most employees think it could never happen to them, but ... if you are ever called into an interview meeting with your supervisor or manager so that they can investigate a situation that might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are called Weingarten Rights and are based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision (NLRB v. J. Weingarten).
WEINGARTEN RULES TO REMEMBER
Under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, when an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:
RULE 1: You have the right to have a union steward or union representative present, and you have the right to speak privately with your representative before the meeting and during the meeting. Your steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting and is not just a witness.
You must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview; management is not obligated to inform you of your right to representation.
If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a representative, do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over call your representative at once.
RULE 2: After you make the request, your supervisor or manager can do one of three things:
1. Grant the request and delay questioning until your union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with you; or
2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
3. Give you a choice of (a) having the interview without your union rep or (b) ending the interview.
RULE 3: If your request for union representation is denied and your manager/supervisor continues to ask you questions, he or she is committing an unfair labor practice and you have a right to refuse to answer. Your manager or supervisor may not discipline you for such a refusal.