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News :: Labor : Organizing : Race
Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
Hi there. My name is Sara Willig, a member of the Boston GMB. The last time you-all might’ve heard anything about/from me would be if you followed the DARE job branch struggles of 2002-4.
solidarityforever1.jpg
Hi there. My name is Sara Willig, a member of the Boston GMB. The last time you-all might’ve heard anything about/from me would be if you followed the DARE job branch struggles of 2002-4. Well, really, the situation I’m writing you about tonight is a related one. Please keep in mind that I have reason to believe, but no proof, that my signature was forged by my boss in order to manipulate co-workers into decertifying the Union about 18 months ago.

If you didn’t follow the DARE job branch situation, or if you’ve joined more recently, I’m a health care worker. I do a proletarianized social work job, but without the degree or the high wages that go along with that degree. Keeps the price down for you, The Taxpayer, never mind the State. The agency I work for contracts with Massachusetts’ Dept, of Mental Retardation (DMR) and I’m paid to Case Manage 2 disabled people. Sometimes I’ve had a caseload of 3 people. Currently my clients are borderline MR and moderately MR.

I’ve worked for DARE for 11+ years and made between $6.60 and $14.03 an hour. Typically in the Health Care Industries, wages are low and benefits are excellent. Since my third year with DARE I’ve always had 5 weeks paid vacation/3 weeks paid sick time. Every year our wages have gone up 4%, every year we’ve gotten a bonus. Mainly because a non-profit can’t make a profit. Because my agency receives so much State money, they can be easily subjected to the public eye. And there are all kinds of demands that DMR can impose and chance and re-impose. Shifts in my industry can be very long – 10, 11, 12, 14 hour are fairly common. Often with only 8-10 hours off between them.

On Thursday April 6, 2006 I went into work as usual, expecting to take the van and go help my high-functioning client with his taxes. I<!-- D(["mb","arrived about 15 minutes late and my immediate boss was there, this is unusual because he’s almost never at my job site, certainly not when I’m there. Alie, my boss, told me that Ted was here to see me from the Head Office. Last time I saw Ted was last summer when he investigated a complaint made to DMR. He’s a high-level management guy and ranks above my boss’ boss These two men sat me down at the kitchen table and Ted did all the talking, while my boss sat there like a lump. Ted gave me first a company policy on layoffs. I’d never seen this before, but then there hasn’t been an up-to-date Employee Manual kept at my job site for about 3 years. Layoff Policy: http://www.supermarket/willig Documents Willig-1-of-3.pdf Pages # 9, 10, 11 My reading of the above led me to believe that I wasn’t going to be laid off. There’s an overnight at my job site who was hired a month before I was. And a woman named Mary who’s been on forced unpaid leave since September who’s been with DARE much longer than I have, but not longer at this job site. She’s also been laid off. The other 4 people who work my job site, two of who are split-shift (some hours at one site, some at another) have all been there less time than I. In addition, when I started at DARE I declared myself to be a disabled person. This is supposed to grant me protections. Imagine my shock when Ted told me that /I/ was being laid off due to client shrinkage. Of the 3 clients who live at my work site client, one died about 5 weeks ago and one has been in the hospital or a rehab this entire calendar year. Alie had told me that DMR would be shortly ",1] ); //--> arrived about 15 minutes late and my immediate boss was there, this is unusual because he’s almost never at my job site, certainly not when I’m there. Alie, my boss, told me that Ted was here to see me from the Head Office. Last time I saw Ted was last summer when he investigated a complaint made to DMR. He’s a high-level management guy and ranks above my boss’ boss

These two men sat me down at the kitchen table and Ted did all the talking, while my boss sat there like a lump. Ted gave me first a company policy on layoffs. I’d never seen this before, but then there hasn’t been an up-to-date Employee Manual kept at my job site for about 3 years.

Layoff Policy - http://www.supermarket/willig Documents Willig-1-of-3.pdf Pages # 9, 10, 11

My reading of the above led me to believe that I wasn’t going to be laid off. There’s an overnight at my job site who was hired a month before I was. And a woman named Mary who’s been on forced unpaid leave since September who’s been with DARE much longer than I have, but not longer at this job site. She’s also been laid off. The other 4 people who work my job site, two of who are split-shift (some hours at one site, some at another) have all been there less time than I. In addition, when I started at DARE I declared myself to be a disabled person. This is supposed to grant me protections.

Imagine my shock when Ted told me that I was being laid off due to client shrinkage. Of the 3 clients who live at my work site client, one died about 5 weeks ago and one has been in the hospital or a rehab this entire calendar year. Alie had told me that DMR would be shortly<!-- D(["mb","allotting new clients. There is a long waiting list. When I mentioned this, Ted said that it hadn’t happened yet. He said that my 8.5 hours left of vacation time would be bought out too. And that I was being formally served my 2-weeks notice and that DARE was opting to pay me, but not have me work. Getting 2 weeks notice isn’t standard either in my State or in my industry. Massachusetts is a Worker at Will state. When, the next day I asked for a statement in writing about the being paid but not having to come in, I was told that I’d receive that once I’d signed the Severance Agreement. Layoff Policy: http://www.supermarket/willig Documents Willig-1-of-3.pdf Pages # 9, 10, 11 He then handed me across the table a long scary-looking severance agreement. He told me I couldn’t sign it until April 21, because to do so before would look coercive. That I was to sign and hand deliver the form to DARE HQ on the 21st; notarized or not. At that point I’d get 7 more weeks of pay and health care. Severance agreements/Non Disclosure/gag orders are NOT standard in my industry. Severance Agreement: http://www.supermarket/willig Documents Willig-1-of-3.pdf Pages 3, 4, 5, 6 In brief, the company letter demands: no legal claims against Dare or affiliates, no charges of company denial of medical leave, and a provision that Sara will not "suggest, imply, do or say anything that could in any way be harmful the interests or good will of Dare." Also, ",1] ); //--> allotting new clients. There is a long waiting list. When I mentioned this, Ted said that it hadn’t happened yet. He said that my 8.5 hours left of vacation time would be bought out too. And that I was being formally served my 2-weeks notice and that DARE was opting to pay me, but not have me work.

Getting 2 weeks notice isn’t standard either in my State or in my industry. Massachusetts is a Worker at Will state. When, the next day I asked for a statement in writing about the being paid but not having to come in, I was told that I’d receive that once I’d signed the Severance Agreement.

He then handed me across the table a long scary-looking severance agreement. He told me I couldn’t sign it until April 21, because to do so before would look coercive. That I was to sign and hand deliver the form to DARE HQ on the 21st; notarized or not. At that point I’d get 7 more weeks of pay and health care.

Severance agreements/Non Disclosure/gag orders are NOT standard in my industry.

Severance Agreement - http://www.supermarket/willig Documents Willig-1-of-3.pdf Pages 3, 4, 5, 6

In brief, the company letter demands: no legal claims against Dare or affiliates, no charges of company denial of medical leave, and a provision that Sara will not "suggest, imply, do or say anything that could in any way be harmful the interests or good will of Dare." Also,<!-- D(["mb","that I will never mention that there even /is/ (or ever has been) any severance agreement! "Good will" in the legal sense means the saleability of a business based on its reputation. This could mean anything from keeping knowledge about client treatment under wraps, to staying silent about behavior at the bargaining table. (And these were the guys who told the union that the phrase "just cause" and “justice” were too nebulous!) In any case, Dare has not offered to commit to restraining themselves in regard to me! Less than 2 months of pay and withdrawal of all employee benefit plans not covered by COBRA is not enough to whitewash 11 years of my working life and 2 years of dubious "negotiations." I spearheaded both the unionization, was elected representative of the bargaining unit and attended all of the bargaining units. This is a final insult to injury. $1260 in cash gifts is what we would have to muster over seven weeks for me to receive an equivalent to Dare\'s sucker bait. The Boston IWW GMB urges members and sympathizers everywhere to contribute something so that Sara will not have to sign away her civil, labor, and free speech rights. Do this, and we will have one solid example of when the union pulled together on principle to explode company legal manipulation. Less than $2 per member will send the message: an injury to one is an injury to all, and we move quickly to heal the cut. [ Thank you JoeB for you help with this! ] FW Sara Willig

",0] ); //--> that I will never mention that there even /is/ (or ever has been) any severance agreement!
"Good will" in the legal sense means the saleability of a business based on its reputation. This could mean anything from keeping knowledge about client treatment under wraps, to staying silent about behavior at the bargaining table. (And these were the guys who told the union that the phrase "just cause" and “justice” were too nebulous!) In any case, Dare has not offered to commit to restraining themselves in regard to me!

Less than 2 months of pay and withdrawal of all employee benefit plans not covered by COBRA is not enough to whitewash 11 years of my working life and 2 years of dubious "negotiations."

I spearheaded both the unionization, was elected representative of the bargaining unit and attended all of the bargaining units. This is a final insult to injury. $1260 in cash gifts is what we would have to muster over seven weeks for me to receive an equivalent to Dare's sucker bait. The Boston IWW GMB urges members and sympathizers everywhere to contribute something so that Sara will not have to sign away her civil, labor, and free speech rights. Do this, and we will have one solid example of when the union pulled together on principle to explode company legal manipulation. Less than $2 per member will send the message: an injury to one is an injury to all, and we move quickly to heal the cut. FW Sara Willig

To donate funds you can send check or money order to:

Boston Area IWW
P.O Box 391724, Cambridge, MA 02139
Contact Info: FW Mike Bell: 781.913.0290

This work is in the public domain
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Comments

Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
sounds like they screwed you for sure. just gotta say: no high wages for any social workers. we are all underpaid.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
sure if you're a college educated person who wants to learn insurance regs and medicare rules, home health procedures and appeals procedures for state assistnce you may not need a social worker. Most people who require public assistance or medical assistance like medicaid like to know that they have an advocate. But if you are sick, cna't speak English but need community resources, or are laid off and need benefits, or are depressed and can't afford a psychiatrist, you definitely can handle it yourself. Just don't get in the way of those who need a little help.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
You should have said:

If you are a college activist who wants guaranteed employment after graduation you DO need social worker positions to exist.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
If you can't speak english, what you need is an English Teacher, not a social worker.

--rabble rabble--
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
I love it when people claim they are realists, implying that they speak for reality and that you are unrealistic. Very intellegent debating skills.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
20 Apr 2006
could someone (admin?) clean up the article? it keeps repeating itself. i want to read it but am having trouble following it.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
21 Apr 2006
realist also used a line from south park.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
21 Apr 2006
is there paypal account open for quick internet donations?
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
21 Apr 2006
If anyone thinks I am realist, I am not. I am not that narrow minded.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
21 Apr 2006
Could someone get rid of that post about not saving someone with whooping cough and no English skills? It's useless, and borderline eugenicist. Social workers not necessary? Not in the healthy peoples' paradise, where only "normals" survive. Nursing homes aren't necessary either, then.
Nor are pharmaceuticals.
Get lost, realist.
Re: Appeal for Solidarity from Boston IWW Member
24 Apr 2006
I'd like to say something offensive here but seems like all my lines have been taken by someone else... oh wait, it's me! i'm a plague to positive people everywhere with my endless stream of hate and self-importance, and yet i'm allowed to stay out of prison. i spend waaay more time destroying and insulting good work than building and supporting it, but nobody has put me out of my misery yet. we must be living in a society where assholes get protected by the state and good people get slammed by assholes.

back to the point, sara, hope you find a way out of this mess though i don't have the means to help at the moment. the entire dmr system is a mess, from what i can tell, and in fact the whole state contracting/privatization scheme is a big ripoff to taxpayers and clients.
let's see... social work versus dollars... hmmmmm... could this be a capitalist argument?