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MOSES Led Toll Plaza Demo Project Earns Two National Awards

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Short film produced by MOSES tells the story of this ambitious and successful venture.

MassDOT was honored at the Northeast Association of Transportation Officials Annual Meeting as the winner of "Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium Project" category of America's Transportation Awards, a joint project by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The ambitious toll booth demolition and all electronic tolling (AET) effort earned the honors as an example of a project that is "making communities stronger, our economy more efficient and our quality of life better.”

Additionally, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) announced that the electronic toll project will get an International Toll Excellence award for “revolutionizing mobility for drivers” at the group's 85th Annual Meeting in September. The AET project is an example of how MassDOT is "implementing solutions to complex, global transportation challenges."

“And the Tolls Came Tumbling Down” is a short film produced by the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) that tells the story of how MassDOT engineers seamlessly implemented electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Countless MOSES members worked around the clock overseeing the simultaneous dismantling of 23 toll plazas spanning 139 miles. When completed, this project will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and increase safety.

MOSES members featured (in order of appearance) included District 3 “Super Engineer” JP Telemaque, along with fellow lead engineers Erin Cooper (District 1), Anna Nadler (District 2), Suzanne Wilber and Chris Lee (District 3) and Eric Mistretta and Eric Feeley (District 6).

From all the MOSES members at MassDOT, we hope you enjoy the film.

MassDOT: Agreement Reached on Classification Study

IB ImageMOSES is pleased to announce that MassDOT and the Coalition of MassDOT Unions for Unit E have reached an agreement on the implementation of the Classification Study conducted by Segal and Associates.  

At the outset we want to congratulate the Unit E joint labor subcommittee and acknowledge all of the thoughtful and hard work that they did reviewing employees’ Job Analysis Questionnaires and Form 30s. And although everyone would have liked the process completed sooner, we believe that this Agreement provides a fair resolution to a complex process and avoids further lengthy delays in litigation. We also believe that this process has demonstrated once again that when labor and management work together, challenging problems can be resolved in a way that benefits the interests of all parties. 

The purpose of the Classification Study was to identify instances where employees were improperly classified and get them into their proper classification. This required taking a comprehensive look at the actual functions people were performing and comparing them to both their own job specifications and the job specifications of employees in other titles performing similar functions. While the review found that a majority of employees were properly classified, there were many instances where employees were either working above or below their classifications. In other instances we found that existing job titles didn’t accurately capture the work that was being performed and we agreed that new job series should be created. 

Implementation of the Classification Study agreement will see more than 150 Unit E employees reclassified into new titles which reflect their job duties and responsibilities and which in some instances will address wage parity issues. The agreement also calls for the creation of several new job classifications (Bridge Inspector; Construction Coordinator, MassDOT Industrial Health and Safety Inspector) and the expansion of existing job series (Mechanical Engineer V). We believe that these modifications will provide new career growth opportunities for Unit E employees and help MassDOT attract and retain a highly-qualified workforce. 

Over the next few weeks, notification letters will be sent to individuals who will be upgraded or reclassified into new positions. Pursuant to the agreement, employees who participated in the study, but were not recommended for an upgrade will be advised of their appeal rights which will be sent to employees work email. It is important that everybody that participated in the study watch for and open their email from MOSES on this issue. The appeal form and instructions will be included in the notice which must be filed with MOSES by June 30, 2017. If you have questions, after receiving your email, you may contact one of your MOSES MassDOT Board Members (listed below) or wait for a series of “Brown Bags” that will be held in each District office during the first few weeks of June.
 
Again, thank you for your patience throughout this long and arduous process.  

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GIC is Shifting Costs to Employees...Again.

 

IB ImageUPDATE:

On March 3, 2017, the Boston Business Journal published the following article on GIC cost shifting: "State to hike health insurance costs for 70,000 employees."

For more information on current legislation that would reform the GIC, contact Liz Murphy, legislative director, at (emurphy@moses-ma.org) or call with (617.367.2727 ext. 318).

Once again, our healthcare is under attack.

On January 4, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) released a report that included recommendations to increase deductibles, raise prescription drug costs and change the design of healthcare plans for public employees.

The following week, MOSES joined with other public employee unions in pushing to delay the implementation of these recommendations until after the GIC holds a public hearing on the proposed changes. Despite our collective effort, as well as support from House and Senate leadership, on Thursday, January 19, the GIC voted to provide provisional approval for these recommendations. These changes may cost your family hundreds of dollars each year.

Here is what the GIC voted on.

Share this image. The chart below shows clearly how cost "sharing" is really cost shifting. Beginning in 2009, public employees have steadily taken on a higher percent of their healthcare costs while the state has steadily decreased its share. In 2016, public employees paid the highest share to date - nearly 28% - of the costs, while the state paid their lowest - 72%. The proposed GIC changes would continue and accelerate these trend lines in the wrong directions.

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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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A Fish Tale: MOSES Scientists Key to the MassWildlife Fish Hatchery & Stocking Program

IB ImageAs far as anglers are concerned, it is “reel” good news when 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout are stocked in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout Massachusetts.

Each year, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) oversees the state’s trout stocking program, a coordinated effort to raise and release hundreds of thousands of fish into roughly 500 rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The Bay State began stocking its waterways with fish in the 1870s.

Raised at one of five fish hatcheries in the state, stocking runs through the spring months. MOSES member Ken Simmons, Ph.D., chief of hatcheries for the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, explains, “Without the stockings, there would be fewer trout to catch. Natural trout reproduction just can’t keep up with angling demands. By stocking our waterways, we provide enhanced recreation for all who fish in Massachusetts.” The stocking program is funded by the sale of state sporting licenses and federal reimbursements from taxes paid on sporting tackle. Annually, more than 500,000 people fish the state’s waters and visit the hatcheries.

(Pictured above (left to right): Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, with fellow MOSES members from the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife: Steve Hurley, Southeast District Fisheries manager; Adam Davies, fish culturist and Sandwich Hatchery manager; and Ken Simmons, chief of hatcheries.)

The stocking total for spring 2016 was close to 500,000 fish: 89,580 brook trout; 265,050 rainbow trout; 129,630 brown trout; and 2,900 tiger trout. The fish vary in size from 9-18 inches, depending on their age. Simmons points out, “More than half of our stock average over 14 inches in length, with the majority at least 12 inches long.” Fall stocking season begins around the last week of September and is completed by the second week of October depending on water temperatures. Fall 2016 will see more than 60,000 rainbow trout that are 12 inches or longer stocked in Massachusetts water bodies. As was the case with the 2016 spring season, anglers will be able to view daily stocking reports and search by water body or town. The interactive stocking map can be found here: Mass.gov/Trout

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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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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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