News Briefs

Sheriff Tompkins Endorsed by Correction Officers Local 419

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins announced support from the largest union representing workers at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD).  Tompkins garnered this support by championing changes to end racially-biased drug testing procedures and steadfast commitment to the Field Officers Training program. 

“Throughout your previous terms, you have run on a platform that pledged solidarity with the Labor Movement and a devotion to a constructive internal labor relationship. As President of your largest employed Union, I can attest that you have upheld your word and have forged an unprecedented rapport between the Municipal Employer and its Union employees,” Said Johnathan Corey.

“You have altered the narrative, and have created a managerial ‘open door policy’ that promotes cohesiveness and productivity. Instead of implementing uniformed or partisan policies and procedures, your administrators actually approach Union officials to seek out the greatest applicable solution to overcome conditions in arguably one of the most dynamic work environments,” concluded Corey. 

Sheriff Tompkins has shown time and time again that he cares passionately about the workers at the SCSD. He has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the men and women who do this difficult, often thankless work of corrections in the fight for pay parity and equity in benefits for doing the same work as their state counterparts. 

“I’m incredibly humbled and proud of the endorsement from Local 419 in my re-election campaign for Sheriff. They represent the heart and blood of our organization, and to have their respect and support means that the work we do every day to improve our employees’ working conditions is making a difference,” Said Sheriff Tompkins

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FEMA Awards Nearly $10.3 Million to MBTA for COVID-19 Cleaning and Safety Costs

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending nearly $10.3 million to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to reimburse it for the cost of keeping its public transit systems safe and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $10,288,865 Public Assistance grant will reimburse the MBTA for the costs associated with disinfecting equipment and facilities between July and September 2020, as well as other steps taken to protect the public and its employees.

The authority used contract labor and paid overtime for its employees to disinfect the subway (the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green subway lines), bus (171 bus routes and 4 rapid transit routes), commuter rail, ferry, and The RIDE (MBTA’s door-to-door paratransit service) systems.

The MBTA also provided personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes to its personnel, installed barriers between operators and the public, and installed signage and crowd control measures at various locations throughout the system.

“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist the MBTA with these costs,” said FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich. “Keeping public transit operating safely during the pandemic was critical to allowing essential workers to continue to commute to their jobs, as well as providing service to the general public.”

FEMA’s Public Assistance program is an essential source of funding for states and communities recovering from a federally declared disaster or emergency.

So far, FEMA has provided more than $1 billion in Public Assistance grants to Massachusetts to reimburse the commonwealth for pandemic-related expenses.

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