News in Brief: March 31, 2014
SEIU – Cambridge College
Cambridge City Council adopted an order last Monday, saying it will “formally go on record expressing its great disappointment in how Cambridge College has conducted itself” in choosing to hire Hunter Protective Services (HPS) to fulfill a campus security contract without being fully open with security staff. In an effort to improve wages, security guards at the college have been attempting to unionize through SEIU local 32BJ with both their former employer Longwood Security, and HPS. The order states that the council is “strongly urging representatives of Hunter Protective Services and representatives of Cambridge College to meet with SEIU 32BJ District 615 in order to establish an open line of communication and to determine what steps Hunter Protective Services will take to ensure that its security officers are paid prevailing wages and treated fairly.”
UNITE HERE – Lesley University
Food-service workers and members of UNITE HERE Local 26 at Lesley University have ratified their first union contract earlier this month. The contract “increases their wages by about $1.20 an hour in the first year and $3.40 over three years,” report The Boston Globe. “Currently, the 85 cooks, dishwashers, servers, and cashiers make $12 an hour, on average. The contract also cuts workers’ health insurance premiums in half and doubles the number of annual paid sick days, to six. The workers, who are employed by a contractor, Bon Appetit Management Co., join 800 other cafeteria workers from Northeastern University, Harvard Law School, and other local colleges who have joined the hospitality workers’ union … over the past two years.”
QueerUP – Northeastern University
A queer and pro-Palestinian activist group called QueerUP hit out at a planned appearance of gay porn director and actor Michael Lucas at Northeastern University on Tuesday. Claiming that Lucas is Islamophobic and ‘pink-washes’ Israeli crimes in the occupied territories, the group slammed the event’s organizers, and criticized Northeastern University’s gay pride group for their initial support of the appearance. The event went ahead with a film showing when Lucas did not attend to speak as expected, and NU Pride pulled their sponsorship ahead of the appearance.
MassCOSH – Boston Fire Department
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) has extended its sympathy to the families and colleagues of the Boston firefighters, Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, tragically killed while trying to tackle a blaze at a house in Back Bay on Wednesday. Wishes were also sent out for a swift recovery for those who were injured in the fire. MassCOSH will honor the two men in a gathering at the State House on April 28 to mark International Workers Memorial Day.
Women’s Fightback Network – International Women’s Day
To mark International Women’s Day earlier this month, a small number of protestors marched from Park St. station to the Boston School Committee headquarters on Court St. on Wednesday. Organized by the Women’s Fightback Network, demonstrators called for investment in education and jobs, a raise in the minimum wage, and fair treatment of the Boston Public Schools bus drivers.