Somerville Labor Coalition, 2013 Responses

Submitted to the Somerville Labor Coalition in response to the 2013 Questionnaire, for the SLC-hosted Candidate's Nights on September 3, 2013.

 

1.  Do you fully support the process of collective bargaining and Civil Service Administration?

I support the collective bargaining process as it is the way for both employers and employees to agree to terms that both ensure fairness and clarity of treatment for all employees as well as financial sustainability for the employer, both of which are the primary goal of both sides.

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2.  Have you ever been a member of a union? And in what prior public service, if any have you participated?

Having served the majority of my professional career as an Infantryman in the US Army, leading at the Platoon and Company level, I have not been a member of a union. However, my father is a union member and has been for 39 years working at a fiberglas insulation factory as a member of the AFL-CIO, most of that time working rotating shifts in the warehouse. I understand what it means to live and grow up in a union family, and I understand why unions are important.

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3.  How do you feel about protecting Retiree’s rights and benefits?

Protecting retiree’s rights and benefits is a must. Retiree rights and benefits are the result of hard-earned negotiations on both sides, entered into faithfully. Threatening those rights not only undermines the good faith of the contract, it also has a real impact on those who’ve planned their financial, personal, and professional lives with these agreements in mind.

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4.  What would an endorsement from the SLC mean to you?

An endorsement from SLC would be an honor because of the individuals that make up the SLC, hardworking families who have built Somerville. Working in a nonprofit serving students who come from working-class families, this support would be very meaningful to me.

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5.  How do you feel about outsourcing union positions? The trend in the city is to outsourcing to private countractors as an example, Custodial Services Street Sweeping and the Retirement Department. Do you oppose this or have a better solution? Police Chief taken out of Civil Service?

Outsourcing union positions to the lowest bidder is not the right choice for the city because it will result in lower quality work and it enables subcontracters to under-compensate – both in pay and benefits – the workers on whom this city depends.

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6.  What is your opinion of organized labor?

Organized labor grew out of necessity when workers were not treated fairly, and even today they still serve an important role. We see many families suffering under minimum wage, without earned sick time, and many other conditions which benefit from an organized labor force. As a child of a union family, I see the great value of unions and I support their work to ensure clarity and fairness in contracts.

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7.  If the city comes up to a budget shortfall, what would you do first to balance the municipal budget?

If the city comes up to a budget shortfall, the first step is to re-look our city-wide priorities and gauge how we’re measuring up against those priorities, then look into all of our expenses to find where we can do the same work more efficiently. We must first understand what levers are available to pull to fix the budget. In my work as Director of Operations and Strategy at a nonprofit downtown, part of my role is building and managing our $9M budget. I enjoy this work even while it is challenging, and I hope to bring this skill and experience to the benefit of Somerville Schools.

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8.  Would you or have you ever crossed a picket line?

I would not, and I have not.

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