SEIU #509 Stands Up for Quality Care & a Living Wage
MVP leaders joined member group SEIU #509 yesterday to rally with direct care workers for a fair contract in their negotiations with Fidelity House. Fidelity House workers provide support, home care and residential services for more than 700 individuals and families across the Merrimack Valley. Also at the rally were State Reps. Marcos Devers, Frank Moran and Mayor Daniel Rivera.

According to SEIU #509 workers at Fidelity House, here's what needs to change:
  1. High turnover that harms the care of the individuals they serve.
  2. Wasting critical resources on temporary agency staff.
  3. Wages have fallen behind other organizations providing the same services; it's time for Fidelity House to pay a living wage.

Action Alert: Support people with disabilities, and the workers who care for them. Contact Fidelity House CEO Yvonne Allard ( or 978-685-9471) and tell her people with disabilities deserve quality care, and that means investing in front-line staff who provide critical services.

MICAH Dinner & Ad Book Campaign Update
Save the date! MVP's annual MICAH (Ministry in Community Action Honorees) dinner will be on Nov. 12 from 6-9 pm at St. James School, 415 Primrose St. in Haverhill. Plan to come with a group of folks. It's always an enjoyable time.

MVP's annual Ad Book campaign is off to a promising start. So far we've received contributions totaling $5,050  and pledges of an additional $3,300. Our goal is $50,000. Many thanks to those who have given so far:

John Ceruli - Kyocera

Holy Family Hospital           

InterValley Project (IVP)

In Memory of Cilla & Dick

Mary Driscoll & Luke Hill

Christ Church United in Lowell

Comeau Funeral Home

H. L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Homes

McGonagle Contingency Staffing Inc.

James & Joseph Cleary, Attorneys at Law

Pizzazze Hair Salon 

Rosemarie Buxton   

Pentucket Bank

Click on this link to make your contribution today.

Paid Family & Medical Leave AnCo

We're halfway there. The Massachusetts state senate passed the paid family and medical leave program last Saturday. The bill requires employers to offer employees up to 16 weeks of paid leave for family care and up to 26 weeks for temporary disability leave. Employees would be eligible for such benefits after 1,250 hours of service, the current federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) standard.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives did not pass the bill, which means it's unlikely to pass this year. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have paid family and medical leave for workers. The proposed law would change that for workers in Massachusetts.

Setback for Safe Driving Campaign

Gov. Baker had sought to use the state budget to force all Massachusetts drivers to get REAL ID-compliant licenses. MVP and our allies were first able to get the Senate to adopt a "two-tier" license system that would allow residents who can't meet the new and stricter documentation requirements for the federal REAL ID Act to still get a license to drive.
The legislature's conference committee (thanks in part---we think---to MVP's organizing) then adopted the Senate's "two-tier" proposal.
Gov. Baker then submitted an amendment adding language that forbids anyone who can't document they are a legal resident of the Commonwealth from getting a driver's license. The House of Representatives approved Baker's amendment, with only 34 members voting against it.
This is a setback for the Safe Driving Act campaign in particular, and for Massachusetts immigrants in general. MVP leaders and organizers will be meeting in Fitchburg on Saturday, August 13 with allies from around the state to evaluate our situation and decide on next steps. If you're interested or have questions, please call the MVP office (978-686-0650).

Addressing the Twin Crises of Opiate Addiction & Mass Incarceration

Over the last five months a team of MVP leaders from our newly-formed Addiction & Criminal Justice committee have conducted nearly 30 research actions all across the Valley with law enforcement, public health, legal, treatment and recovery professionals, as well as with substance abusers, ex-offenders and those in recovery to figure out how MVP can take action to address the twin crises of opiate addiction and mass incarceration in our communities.

In the coming months we'll have more information as we begin to take action. If you---or your congregation, union or community group---want to know more or to participate, contact MVP organizer Leena Mathew at 978-686-0650 or 413-977-8518.

MVP's Annual Convention Set for September 26
A reminder: MVP's annual convention---at which we elect officers for 2017 and adopt goals and priorities for the year---will be held Monday, September 26, 7:30 - 8:30 pm at the MVP office 1045 Essex St. in Lawrence. All dues-paying MVP member groups are entitled to representation at the convention by voting delegates. If you have questions about the convention, please call the MVP office (978-686-0650). We'll have more information about the convention in the coming weeks.

MVP Says Thank-You to Emily Bloch; Looking to Hire New Organizer

At the end of July, MVP said good-bye and thank-you to MVP organizer Emily Bloch. Emily is taking a job with Cosecha, a national movement organizing for "permanent protection, dignity and respect for our undocumented immigrant community".

During her two years with MVP, Emily took the lead in organizing to rebuild our Haverhill chapter and had primary responsibility for working with MVP's immigrant justice committee, as well as our Lawrence area chapter. Emily's organizing helped lead to passage of the Lawrence Trust Act, and to the strong support for the Safe Driving Act from Mayor Rivera and the Lawrence City Council. She also spearheaded the effort that led to the June 5 actions that mobilized hundreds of immigrants and allies across the Valley and the state in support of dignity, respect and drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts.

MVP is now searching for 1-2 new organizers. The job descriptions are here and here . Please feel free to circulate them widely.

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