As a Massachusetts Higher Ed employee, are you and/or your spouse counting on your pension AND Social Security benefits to provide for yourselves in your retirement years? 

If so, you should know that the Social Security benefits you are planning to receive will be drastically reduced – and in some cases completely eliminated – due to a federal law that wrongfully strips hard-working people of the full Social Security benefit they earned and paid for, simply because they are also entitled to a public pension benefit.

Under current law, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) will significantly reduce your Social Security benefits if you plan to collect a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security– even if you are entitled to a Social Security benefits from work you did before you started your public-sector job.

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) will significantly reduce any survivor’s benefit your spouse may be entitled to in the event of your death if your spouse collects a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security – even if they are entitled to the survivor benefit based on their spouse’s past work in a Social Security covered job.  

The WEP or GPO currently strips thousands of dollars a year from retirees and you will not see it in any estimate of benefits you may have received from the Social Security Administration.  If we don’t fix it now, someday it will hurt you and your spouse in your retirement years. 

Fortunately, a proposed law in Congress would eliminate the WEP and GPO and ensure you and your spouse receive the full Social Security benefit you paid for and should be entitled to receive.

H.R. 82- Social Security Fairness Act of 2021, filed by Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, fully eliminates both the WEP and GPO putting hundreds of dollars into the pockets of retirees every month. H.R. 82 has strong bi-partisan support with 280 co-sponsors- 77 Republicans and 203 Democrats. H.R. 82 is the only bill in Congress that effectively eliminates the WEP and GPO once and for all. 

Click here to email Congressman Richard Neal and ask him to co-sponsor and strongly support H.R. 82.

According to the Social Security Administration, more than 76,000 Massachusetts retirees are hurt by the WEP and nearly 39,000 surviving spouses are impacted by the GPO. Many are harmed by both!

If we don’t stop this now YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WILL BE NEXT!

Click here now to help us win this fight.

The form will prompt you to put in an address to find the elected leaders we are targeting and since it is only Rep Neal, only addresses in his district will allow you to go further. Please use the mailing address that is within his district, either your home or the campus. As always, use your personal email address when sending targeted political messages.

AN OPEN LETTER TO AFSCME MEMBERS OF ROXBURY COMMUNITY COLLEGE FROM COUNCIL 93

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.  My name is Kim Sylvia and I am the higher education coordinator for AFSCME Council 93 and also the Staff Representative assigned to your campus. 

I would like to inform all of you of a recent issue that was brought to my attention during a recent grievance hearing.  I just learned that ALL Unit 1 bargaining unit members were scheduled the same work hours as Unit 2.

As you know Unit 1 members work and are paid for 37.5 hours per week and Unit 2 members work and are paid for 40 hours per week.  I have learned that this has been happening upwards of 15 years.

Your collective bargaining agreement is very specific that you work 37.5 hours per week with two (2) paid breaks (15 min each) and a thirty (30 min) unpaid lunch break.

Your work hours should be consistent with 8-4; 8:30-4:30; 9-5.  However, you have actually been scheduled for 8:30-5!

Therefore, this violates the contract; violates the Fair Labor Standard Act and must be rectified.  The first step that has been agreed upon with your leadership and HR was for management to change hours immediately to stop the overage and second, I am working with the college for some sort of monetary settlement.

I have not worked out the details of the settlement at this time but will send out the agreement once it’s finalized.

I apologize that things are moving so fast and you may have already heard or will be hearing for your supervisors of the change in hours.

Thank you, I hope this makes sense and answers some questions.  If you need more clarity please reach out to me, my office number is in my signature below.

I will be working with 1067 Leadership on this settlement and once I have more details I will send another campus wide message.

Thank you.

Kim

UPDATE: MA Higher Education Contract Funding April 2, 2022

Local 1067 contract update- Late Thursday night the supplemental budget with funding for our contract passed the house and senate and is on Governor Bakers desk awaiting his signature. Click here to Sign up to get up-to-date text messages.

UPDATE: MA Higher Education Contract Funding March 25, 2022

Good news! The Massachusetts Senate has just voted to pass the supplemental budget containing contract funding for Local 1067, Local 1776 (UMass Amherst) and Local 507 (UMass Dartmouth).   While differences between the house and senate versions of the budget must still be resolved by a house senate conference committee before the bill is sent to Governor Baker to be signed into law, the funding for our higher education contracts is in both the house and senate budget bills and therefore will be included in the final bill.  As always, Council 93 will continue working in coalition with other public sector unions awaiting funding for their members’ contracts to push for the bill to reach Governor Baker’s desk as quickly as possible.

Jim Durkin | AFSCME Council 93
Director of Legislation, Political Action & Communications
8 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02108
Office: 617-367-6012 | Cell: 978-866-2283

CONTRACT Funding update March 8, 2022

We have good news to report on the status of legislative funding for the contracts between AFSCME Local 1067 and Massachusetts Board of Higher Education;  and AFSCME Local 507 and the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth.  The House Ways and Means Committee has just moved the budget forward, trimming about $900 million in proposed funding by Governor Baker but retaining the funding for the our contracts and approximately 40 other collective bargaining agreements.  The budget could see action by the full house as early as tomorrow.  As always, we continue to work in coalition with other public-sector unions to move the legislation along as quickly as possible and we will continue to post updates here as the legislation moves forward.

CONTRACT Funding update February 19, 2022

We have good news to report on the funding status of our contracts for our members at the UMass Dartmouth (Local 507) and our members in Local 1067 working on campuses under the Board of Higher Education.  Late this afternoon, Governor Baker filed the necessary legislation to fund the contracts.  The process now moves to the legislature starting with the House of Representatives and then the Senate.  Council 93 will be working in coalition with other public-sector unions to urge quick passage in the legislature in an efforts to put these hard-earned, and well-deserved pay increases into the pockets of our members as quickly as possible.  We will be posting updates here as the legislation moves through the process.

Thanks you! 

2020 – 2023 Contract update February 4, 2022

Process for contract funding:

  1. AFSCME signed and the local membership Ratified a ONE year contract extension from July 1, 2020- June 30, 2021 with 0% increase
  2. Parties began successor contract negotiations in July 2021 and concluded in November 2021- with an agreement to amend the one year 0% ratified extension
  3. – with an agreement to amend the one year 0% ratified extension Union ratified November 17th
  4. Board of Higher Ed, by law, has 30 days to submit MOA for funding
    1. Board of Higher Ed submitted MOA for funding on Dec. 17th (the union was provided with the documentation)
  5. OER (Officer of Employee Relations) has 45 days to review, approve or send back to the parties.
    1. OER sent back to the parties to remove two cost items that exceeded the state parameters
  6. The parties updated the MOA and executed a side agreement for the two cost items (Side letter agreements DO NOT have to be submitted for funding) on January 14, 2022
    1. OER approved the updated documents and submitted to the Governor for signing on January 19, 2022
  7. BHE confirmed that the funding request will be added to the February supplemental budget to be voted on by the legislature January 26, 2022.
  • Retro COLA (cost of living adjustments) will be for all employees: present – retired – deceased and/or left service (resignations, terminations).  First current employees will be calculated then employees who left service
  • COVID pay – will only be paid to employees that were on the payroll the first pay period of July 2020 and were still on the payroll date of the execution of the agreement
  • We clarified that the DATE of execution of the agreement is the DATE the agreement was fully signed NOVEMBER 24,2021.

We do not have the timeline on how long it takes for the campuses to receive their “allowance” from the comptroller but have been told fairly “quickly”.  The payroll should be ready to go and executed once the money is released.

The estimate is for increases to be realized in payroll in March 2022.

Successor Agreement Covering July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2023