Member News

Driving Our Future

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MOSES MassDOT members (volunteers at the conference); Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin (with tie); MassDOT Secretary & CEO Stephanie Pollack (in red); and officials from the Federal Highway Administration are pictured below at the 2016 Annual Meeting held in Boston. Considered one of the industry’s most important events that brings together transportation, government and commercial organizations, the Annual Meeting offers industry professionals the opportunity to network and share the latest in policies and innovations.

Key topics addressed at this year’s meeting included intermodal transportation development and its direct impact on statewide economics; examination of user fee alternatives to the traditional fuel tax framework; and the viability of automated vehicle technologies as a great potential for improving safety, mobility and efficiency within the transportation system, to name a few.

MOSES President Joe Dorant shared, “It was quite an event. Great minds and great people joined together, sharing state-of-the-art ideas and information, all in the name of improving transportation."

MOSES MassDOT Divers Featured in TV Story

IB ImageMOSES MassDOT members were recently featured in multiple news stories on WBZ-TV4, WCVB-TV5 and FOX25, as well as in the Boston Globe.

During the underwater inspection of a bridge over the Neponset River, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin took time to praise the Underwater Operations Section for its unseen work to keep state bridges safe for the public.

“It’s very crucial for the safety of the public,” MOSES member Randi Bonica, the Underwater Operations Engineer, shares. “They don’t know what’s going on underneath the water. The only way to determine if there are any issues is if we inspect it.”

Brian Clang, also a MOSES member, is the State Bridge Inspection Engineer and oversees the dive team. He explains, "Underwater bridge inspection is likely the least visible role of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, but perhaps one of the most critical. Our 22-member team of full- and part-time divers take on tough conditions to inspect - below the water - the state's approximate 1,000 bridges. Additionally, we supply the labor and underwater repairs at no charge, so the savings to cities and towns to keep bridges not owned by the state safe is substantial."

The dive team inspects approximately 400 bridges annually throughout the Commonwealth. They dive year-round, making inspections, as well as repairs, as needed. The current dive team consists of five full-time divers and an additional 17 part-time divers, each of whom work in various engineering positions within MassDOT. All divers make at least 20 dives a year and must complete an initial 100-hour in-house dive training course, an 80-hour National Highway Institute bridge inspection course, as well as other ongoing dive and engineering training.

Joe Dorant, president of MOSES, observes, "The commitment by each of our members to this important and much-needed service provided by MassDOT is staggering. Their work is not only strenuous, but can be hazardous, as well. Yet, since 1973, when the Underwater Operations Section was formed, there have been no diving injuries. This fact alone is a testament to the extensive and continuous training each member completes."

Kudos to Randi and all the MOSES members of MassDOT's dive team, including Gordon Broz, Bill Colleran (eastern area dive coordinator), Brian Fitzgerald and John Mankowsky (western area dive coordinator), all full-time divers, as well as the part-time dive team that includes Steve Ausevich, Mike Bastoni, Allen Bondeson, Barry Courville, Mike Dostal, Bryan Engstrom, Bill Ferry, Steve Finck, Zach Gikas, Mark Griffin, Ali Jalinous, Carrie Lavallee, Dan Mastrangelo, Tom Prendergast, Dennis Simkhovich, Roger Wykes and Joe Graham with the United Steel Workers.

Watch the story by reporter Anna Meiler of WBZ-TV4 here: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/11/04/massdot-dive-team-bridge-safety/

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2016 MOSES Election Results

IB ImageThe votes have been counted and the results are in. These results must be approved by the members present at the December 13, 2016 General Membership Meeting. Once the Election Committee report is accepted, the new Officers and Trustees will be sworn in for a new two year term. A total of 1,273 ballots were received (36% of membership).

For a complete election vote summary, please click here.

At-Large Contest results:

President  
Joe Dorant (DEP) 1062  -  Unopposed
   
Vice-president  
Patrick Russell (MWRA) 742  -  Elected
David  Baker  (MassDOT) 502
   
Secretary  
Allen Bondeson (MassDOT) 824  -  Elected
Jennifer Marsh Baker (Military Div) 396
   
Treasurer  
Jim Galvin (MassDOT) 948  -  Unopposed
   
Trustees (3 Seats)  
Mary Richards (Retiree) 849  -  Uncontested
Paul DiPietro (Retiree) 820  -  Uncontested
Vincent A Long (Retiree) 803  -  Uncontested

For a complete election vote summary, please click here.

The Election Committee:

Louis Sciortino - Retiree MDC  - Co-chair
Robert Danilecki - Retiree DHCD - Co-chair
Arne Carr - Retiree - DFW
Stephen Hawko - Reiree DEP
Norman Goldman - Retiree DOT
Paul Petrowski - EOL
Chuck Salemi -Retiree POL

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Higher Education Pays!

IB Image 2016 MOSES Scholarship winners were drawn at September’s General Membership meeting in Raynham, Mass. A total of 24 scholarships (23-$750 scholarships and one $1,500 scholarship) were distributed to help defray educational expenses. 

Joe Dorant, president of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, shared, “I am proud that our board voted to increase each award amount by 50%. Member families count on this support to help pay higher education expenses and the MOSES leadership gets that.”

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MOSES Advocacy Leads to Key Budget Overrides

IB ImageThanks to MOSES members advocacy, vetoes from Governor Baker (which would have negatively impacted MOSES members) were defeated. These included an override of a health insurance premium increase and restoration of $7 million in cuts to both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation & Recreation budgets.

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Gov's Sick Leave Cap Targets Rank-&-File, Not True Abusers

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MOSES, along with other unions, turned out in full force in opposition to Governor Baker’s recent proposal to cap sick leave accruals at 1,000 hours for Executive Branch employees. His bill, House Bill 4341, An Act to Reform Sick Time, was filed in response to multiple stories in the Boston Business Journal which highlighted high-level personnel at campuses across the public higher education system cashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused sick time at the end of their careers. Under Baker’s proposal, Executive Branch employee’s sick time would be capped at 1,000 hours. Those with more than 1,000 hours at the time the bill is signed would be grandfathered into keeping their sick time, but could not accrue any more.

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MOSES Member Darryl Forgione Named Buddy Adams Award Recipient

DCR Engineer Honored by the Mass. Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health

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(Pictured (left to right): Darryl Forgione, MOSES President Joe Dorant and Alex Brown, MassCOSH board member and representative of the North Shore Labor Council.)

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) named Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) Board Member Darryl Forgione of Ipswich the 2015 Buddy Adams Award recipient.

The award, presented this year by the North Shore Labor Council, recognizes a resident who has demonstrated leadership and dedication to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of workers in the Commonwealth. It is named in memory of Buddy Adams, a member of IUE-CWA local 201 who, fought for better health and safety conditions through activism at General Electric.

Forgione, an engineer with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), has been a longtime champion of occupational safety.

In his 20 years of advocacy, Forgione has built an effective labor-management health and safety committee. Together, they study injury data with an eye to reducing areas where accidents trend; work to get personal safety equipment and training for employees; regularly testify before the Massachusetts legislature in support of safety bills, including the recently passed bill extending OSHA protections to executive branch employees; and develop health and safety policies to keep fellow workers from harm, among other efforts.

“I am very vocal about safety,” Forgione explains. “If my efforts can help educate everyone to better understand everyday risks in the workplace and, in turn, mitigate these potential hazards, I’m happy to do it. Being safe on the job saves lives, money and heartache. I know that I, as well as my fellow workers, work hard to create a safe work environment, and this award is an honor for all of us.”

Joe Dorant, president of MOSES, observes, “An effective workplace safety program starts with a strong and visible commitment to safety and touches every level of the organization. Each and every day, Darryl leads by example by encouraging safe practices and procedures and exemplifying his commitment to ’safety first.' The Commonwealth is well served by MOSES members like Darryl, who recognize that workplace safety programs, with a focus on prevention, are key to ensuring dedicated public servants remain safe and protected on the job.”

DCR Acting Commissioner Daniel Sieger shares, “This recognition highlights the dedication and determination that employees like Darryl have made to create a safe work environment. We at DCR are especially proud to have one of our engineers receive this prestigious award.”

“Darryl truly embodies the passion and dedication to health and safety of the late Buddy Adams,” says Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director, MassCOSH. “Darryl has devoted decades of his career to ensuring that his fellow workers can do their jobs protecting our state’s parks and return home safely to their families. We all owe a debt of gratitude to him.”

Representative Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich) says, “Darryl Forgione is an invaluable employee of the Department of Conservation and Recreation due to his commitment to safety in the workplace. The Commonwealth is lucky to have Darryl, and I am proud to call him a constituent."

Every day, throughout the Commonwealth, thousands of professional engineers and scientists dedicate themselves to serving the public interest. They provide protection from life threatening dangers; assure the quality of our air and water; design, build and preserve our roads and bridges; and ensure that our workplaces and homes are safe from toxins. These employees all have one thing in common – they are members of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES), a professional organization 3,200 members strong dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Massachusetts’ residents through science and engineering.

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A "Grand" Turn Out for Lobby Day

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A “Grand” Turnout: More than two-dozen MOSES members lent their support to Union Lobby Day on April 2, 2015. Pictured above on the Grand Staircase at the State House is (back row, l-r) Ron Stoner*, Greg Ringdahl, Mike Epstein*, Rajinder Khetarpal, Anne Malewicz*, Tom Prendergast*, David Shakespeare; (front row, l-r) Mary Richmond, Mike Galvin*, MOSES President Joe Dorant*, Leonard Meleger, Val Soroka and Mohammed Chowdry. Missing from photo: Philip Murphy, Susan Fessenden, Gerry McCullough*, Chris Bresnahan*, Alex Smigliani*, Jacob Oliver, Tim Connolly, Ben Gardner, Stephen Spencer, Mary Richards and Donald Miller (* indicates member MOSES Board of Directors).

MOSES Members Stand Together Against Health Insurance Cost-Shifting

More than 24 MOSES members joined hundreds of brothers and sisters in organized labor at the Massachusetts State House on April 2 to ask legislators to stop proposed health care cost increases that would severely impact state workers.

MOSES President Joe Dorant explains, “Our goal is to roll back the current 25% premium share for state workers hired from 2003 onward so that they will pay the same 20% premium share as workers hired before 2003. We hope this move will soften the impact of the already planned GIC increases in copays and deductibles, as well as the premium increases of up to 9% for all MOSES members’ insurance plans.”

April 2’s lobby day was only the first in what will likely be a 90-day push to ensure fairness for state workers in the FY2016 budget. It’s not too late to let your legislator know you can’t take any more increases. Click here (or visit www.MOSES-MA.org) to see a suggested email or phone message and call your legislator today. Not sure who to call? Visit: www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com.

UPDATE: GIC Plan Changes Shift Insurance Costs to State Workers


 

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Despite objections by MOSES and other union representatives, the Commonwealth's Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted on February 13, 2015, to increase subscriber copayments and deductibles for FY2016, beginning July 1, 2015.

The Commission also voted at their following meeting on March 4, 2015, to increase healthcare provider premiums on the average of 5.7%, with some plans increasing as high as 9%. And now, Governor Baker has proposed to increase the employee contribution to employees that were hire before July 1, 2003, from 20% to 25%. This will mean much higher out-of-pocket expenses for thousands of MOSES workers, retirees and their families.

The GIC provides healthcare coverage for state employees, retirees and more recently municipalities who chose to be included in the plan. GIC officials have pointed to the rising cost of healthcare and the fact that the GIC has been under funded over the last three years as the driving force behind this most recent decision. The GIC's overall costs are expected to increase significantly, driven largely by higher drug costs and the inability of some health plans to meet benchmarks set by the state's cost containment law passed in 2012.

Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists, testified prior to the vote at the GIC public hearing on February 4, 2015, "The increases to our out-of-pocket expenses over the last five years have placed a significant financial burden on our member's lives. We have seen our premiums and copays rise, as well as deductibles added that never existed in years past. Couple that with some of the proposed increases by the GIC for this coming year, and our members are looking at increases of as much as 100%-200%, and in some cases over 300%. We strongly oppose what we view as cost shifting onto the backs of our employees and retirees."

He continues, "It is imperative that the GIC is properly funded! Over the last four years we have seen the GIC enrollment increased by over 75,000 individuals due to municipalities joining, yet the budget has failed to keep pace with these additions. MOSES will be willing to work with the GIC and the legislature to ensure that employee healthcare is properly funded."

According to the GIC web site, the major Employee Health Plan changes effective July 1, 2015 include:

• Harvard Pilgrim Independence Plan and Tufts Health Plan Navigator will be converted from a PPO plan to a POS plan. Members must designate their PCP with the plan and get referrals to specialists for the highest benefit level.

• Prescription drug copays will increase from $10/$25/$50 to $10/$30/$65 for 30-day retail prescriptions and increase from $20/$50/$110 to $25/$75/$165 for a 90-day mail order supply.

• The calendar year deductible will change from $250 (individual) /$750 (family) to $300 (individual) /$600 (two person) /$900 (family).

• All health plans will tier specialists and the copays will increase from $25/$35/$45 to $30/$60/$90.

• Inpatient hospital copays for the wide network plans will increase from $250/$500/$750 to $275/$500/$1,500.

• Outpatient surgery copays for most plans will increase from $125/$150 to $250 per occurrence.

Additional details will be in the GIC Benefit Decision Guides. These will be shipped to agencies beginning April 3 and will be available as a download on the GIC's website at the end of March.

On the Governor's proposal to increase the employee contribution to 25%, MOSES will continue to work with other public employee unions and the Legislature to oppose this action. We must let the Legislature know that adding another financial burden on top of the recent GIC increases will have a devastating impact on our families. We will need YOUR help to do this. Look for future emails and letters asking you to contact your legislators to support this effort.

MOSES will continue to monitor the situation and report any updates as soon as they become available.

Governor Baker Proposes Early Retirement Incentive

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In an effort to reduce the state budget gap and prevent layoffs of state workers, Governor Charlie Baker has filed legislation offering early retirement for some state employees. A copy of the bill H.61 and the Governor's letter to the legislature is linked here.

On the positive side, this is an opportunity for some MOSES members to be able to enhance their retirement benefits by adding five years of creditable service or five years of age or a combination of both adding up to five years. The bill must pass the legislature before it can become effective. If the bill does proceed in the legislature, please read all materials carefully before making your decision. It is important that the members considering this deal understand and weigh all factors before accepting this package. Over to the right, under "Retirement Corner," we have linked several articles that MOSES has provided in the past. 

The exclusion of many MOSES members from this proposed legislation is what is most unfair in the proposal. Whether meeting the early retirement requirements or not, any MOSES members whose salaries are funded by federal, trust or capital monies would not be eligible for the program. In anticipation of this grievous oversight, MOSES is prepared to file an amendment to include these omitted positions. 

The negative side of this proposed legislation is a vast majority of these positions will be permanently eliminated impacting the science and engineering expertise within state service. Many of the agencies that we represent will struggle to carry out their core mission with the decline in our membership.

MOSES leadership will keep you posted regarding any news or actions relating to this important development.

 
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