Re:union October 31st Edition

A New Union President for the next three-year term, by President Tom Herman


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Congratulations to SEIU Local 668 President-elect Steve Catanese. While there are still a few outstanding ballots that the American Arbitration Association has to count because of some members needing to get a ballot mailed after the initial October 5th mailing and they will be tabulated on November 2nd, that number will not change the outcome of Statewide Officer’s elections.

SEIU Local 668, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, is one of the most democratic unions in the State. Our membership gets to directly elect their top leaders. Most unions do not get that luxury. Because of that dynamic, we are one of the most member-driven unions in Pennsylvania. The Internal Union Election results are in and the membership has chosen to take a new path moving forward in the future of our Local.

President-elect Steve Catanese officially takes office as President on January 1, 2018. During the next several months, his Business Agent Supervisor, Chief of Staff Claudia Lukert, and I will transition him out of his Business Agent duties and into his new leadership role as the President of SEIU Local 668, PSSU. Steve will need the participation and help of every member of this union by providing their input and thoughts, as well as the guidance necessary to take on the monumental tasks and challenges forthcoming. We need to make sure that our new leaders are prepared and provide the information and tools they’ll need to succeed in their role. No leader can succeed without the support of the leaders, stewards, members and staff of the union. I trust that all our members will give Steve their full cooperation and support.

Again, my congratulations to the new President and all the Officers that have been elected for the next three-year term of office. Remember, “When we Fight, We Win!”


From the desk of Secretary-Treasurer, JoAnne P. Sessa

I want to thank all the members of SEIU 668 who took part in our statewide election. This includes all the candidates and all the members who cast a ballot to have your voice heard. Not all SEIU locals have the great privilege and constitutional right of electing their own leaders, therefore it is always an exciting time for all members of SEIU 668.

I’m very honored for the opportunity to serve as your secretary-treasurer for the next 3 years. I look forward to working with each and every one of you.  By educating, engaging and  empowering the members, we will return SEIU 668 to its rightful owners…YOU!!!

There truly is a lot of work to be done for us to get to that point. However, I have faith that as a team we will accomplish this goal. So let’s roll up our sleeves and hit the ground running!!!

In Unity Always,

Jo Sessa


2017 Election Results: President, Secretary-Treasurer, Fiscal Trustee

SEIU Local 668 internal election results have been tabulated in accordance with internal SEIU Local 668 rules, procedures and guidelines. Due to concerns that are being addressed by the elections committee as well as the independent third party (American Arbitration Association) not all results are available to be certified as final at this time. More specifically there are provisional ballots that are still being received and will be tabulated on November 2nd.

At this time the results for the offices of President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Fiscal Trustees should be considered final and valid.

The candidates for office are listed as follows:

(Winners are in BOLD in order of the most vote counts by office)


Steve Catanese

Tom Herman

Antoine Jefferson


JoAnne P. Sessa

Kimberly Rothwell

Shawn Domenico

Fiscal Trustee

Carol Allen

Michael Baker

Joel Levin

Charles Marcinko

Due to provisional ballots that have yet to be received and certified by the American Arbitration Association the results of all other offices will be embargoed until which time the results are tabulated and confirmed by the American Arbitration Association. The American Arbitration Association is a neutral third party that guarantees the process and validity of internal union elections.   As soon as the results are validated they will be provided to all full dues paying members of SEIU Local 668.

State Budget Update

Gov. Wolf signs bills to borrow money, expand gambling to fund budget

Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday he will permit the General Assembly’s $2.3 billion revenue package to become law.

By Charles Thompson (Penn Live)

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday affixed what he hopes will be a final patch on a $2.3 billion budget deficit.

The governor made the announcement during an appearance at the monthly Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg.

The good news is that by accepting the plan passed by the state legislature this month, Wolf can guarantee that $32.0 billion in state obligations to public schools, universities and a variety of human services agencies will be met.

The cost is two-fold:

Lawmakers and Wolf had been working to close out the budget gap since July.

Four months, no Pa. budget: Is there a better way?

Pennsylvania’s 2017-18 Budget Is Completed, But The General Assembly Has Left Much Unfinished, by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

On Thursday, shortly before noon, a long-awaited headline popped up in the “Breaking News” section of the Philadelphia Inquirer website: “Pa. House sends final budget bill to Gov. Wolf “

The first sentence of the article prefaced the news of this breakthrough in the 2017-18 budget impasse by noting exactly how overdue this development was: “Three months, three weeks and five days past deadline, the last of the bills to balance the state budget is finally headed to the governor.”

If the governor signs the tax and fiscal code bills passed this week, or allows them to become law, a funding plan for the Pennsylvania Budget for 2017-2018 that technically allows for a balanced budget will be complete. But the work of the General Assembly is not finished because this funding plan not only fails to address the long-term budget problems faced by the state, it deepens those problems. The result will be that the fiscal year beginning in July 2018 will be in deficit and that, unless the state changes direction, those deficits will no doubt increase in subsequent years.

A genuine bi-partisan effort on the part of the governor, a majority of the Pennsylvania Senate, and what appears to be a majority of the Pennsylvania House sought to enact a shale tax, that is a severance tax on natural gas drilling. That tax would have provided the recurring revenues needed to gradually reduce our long-term structural deficit. But at the behest of the extremists in the Republican caucus, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed blocked this effort.

The fight for a shale tax continues. We need to keep reminding legislators of both parties that the budget is balanced with the equivalent of string and scotch tape, and that the string will break and scotch tape fall off at the start of next year. And we need to hold Majority Leader Dave Reed to his promise to allow a vote on a shale tax.

UC Long-Term Funding Fight!

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From Mark Landon, OUC Chair: The House Republicans have come out with a proposal for $18.75 million a year for 4 years which is far below the figure the auditor general determined the department needed when the audit was done in the spring of this year! In fact, it is 70% less!

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From Chis Good, Intake Interviewer/Chief Shop Steward, Harrisburg: We began leafleting Careerlinks in the mid-state last week and more is being done out west this past Thursday. Some Harrisburg UC employees went to the Capitol both this week and last, with some of them experiencing lobbying our legislators for the first time. We met with senators, representatives and their staff to discuss the need for a clean bill that fully funds the staff and operations of all the UC centers over a multi-year period.

A rally is being planned for outside the Capitol on Tuesday November 14th. UC workers and other unions and activists will be present to also help us lobby the legislators. The next scheduled session day is November 13th and we’re asking folks to call legislators at their district offices until then. Here is the link to find your legislator and their contact information. When we FIGHT, we WIN!

Unemployment Compensation Civil Service Appeals Update

As many are aware, SEIU 668 has been navigating the civil service appeal process all this year on behalf of many of our furloughed UC members. The status as of this re:Union are that we submitted the closing briefs on October 6th and are waiting for a decision. As more information or a decision is available to be disclosed, the appellants will be contact.

County Assistance Office Update – enCompass Initiative

The union was notified by the Governor’s office last Friday that the Governor and the new Secretary and Deputy Secretary have heard the concerns of SEIU Local 668 CAO members and will be “scrapping” the enCompass proposal as previously addressed including a retraction of adding 3 processing centers.

The Union has been working with DHS and the Governor’s Office all year to show how the enCompass initiative is not in the best interests of the clients. We have been successful. As the email from the Deputy Secretary of DHS, Lisa Watson, states the Commonwealth is basically scrapping the program. Of course, we are committed to “improved customer service, cost savings, and increased operational efficiency” and the deputy secretary encourages ours members to provide her with any other efficiencies. We could not expect such a victory without the Commonwealth’s asserting its commitment to these values as well.

The Governor’s letter in May stating there would be no impact on current employees is still confirmed and with this additional victory, our OIM members at DHS can rest assure that they will not be negatively impacted. Please spread the word. In Labor Relations, there is no instant fix to problems except to meet, continually provide input, and persuade others to get the results that are important. Our process works and the result of this change of program from the Governor’s direction is proof. Thanks to all our CAO committees, staff and all who made this happen. This is a major win for our Department of Human Services workers and is proof that when we fight we win!

SEIU Local 668 has been working on several organizing campaigns across Pennsylvania. The Faculty Forward campaign is a national SEIU campaign that the Organizing Department has been very involved in as we’ve been signing up HACC adjunct professors on 5 campuses in the Harrisburg-area. Below is the mission statement of the International’s Faculty Forward website which will provide our members with the importance of organizing these professionals.

The crisis in higher education is boiling over. The past few decades have seen a dramatic shift away from investment in educators and affordable, accessible higher education for students. More and more, our colleges and universities are moving toward a big-business model where corporate boards and their administrators — many of whom have never set foot in a classroom — determine how to spend precious tuition revenue. It’s up to us as faculty to come together and do something about it.

Boston Fight for 15

Together we will:

Hold for-profit colleges accountable:  We will work to hold  for-profits accountable at the state and national level when they prey on low income students and saddle them with crushing debt without delivering the quality education students deserve. 

  • Make quality higher education affordable and accessible for all students: Together we will create a higher education system that prioritizes student learning, invests in educators and reduces student debt to build a 21st century workforce.

Raising faculty pay is not a school by school issue. It is a national issue. Giving our students the best learning environment possible by improving faculty conditions is not a singular wish, but a collective one. Fighting the scourge of student debt and bad actors in the for-profit industry is something we can only do if we are united, as faculty, and with other activists within higher education. As Faculty Forward, full and part-time faculty are coming together to right the disparities that have lowered the bar in higher education. Building on the success of faculty unionization efforts across the country under the banner of Adjunct Action and other SEIU locals, we are uniting to elevate and escalate that work to win long-lasting and significant change for all faculty and the students we teach. Join Us. Click to sign on.

 From the desk of Education Director, Rachel Canning:

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Together We Rise is SEIU 668’s offensive strategy to prepare for attacks on public sector union rights that are coming from many directions.  The “other side” has had a long-term goal of turning back over 100 years of union achievements and making every workplace in America “Right to Work.”  The most immediate threat is related to a case that will be heard by the US Supreme Court early in 2018 called Janus vs. AFSCME.

As part of SEIU’s national Together We Rise program, our local is striving to build member power to protect and strengthen our union by recommitting hundreds of thousands of SEIU members to stick together, by inspiring leaders to organize and mobilize on an unprecedented scale to resist the attacks and fight for our vision for a just society, and by transforming SEIU to a thriving, highly interconnected 21st century organization.

Components of the Together We Rise program include:

  • Standardizing a robust “new member experience” program in all of our workplaces to make sure we are connecting with new members early and often;

  • Making improvements to our communications and data management systems to make sure we are communicating effectively with all members;

  • A member education program to ensure that all members understand the upcoming threats to our union security

We are launching the member education program in Chapter 2 and with several statewide committees this Fall with plans to broaden the scope early in the new year.

For more information, please email Rachel Canning, Education Director at

PLAN TO WIN STRATEGY SESSION, Saturday, November 4th @ 10am
IBEW Union Hall, 431 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503

Join SEIU members and elected leaders from all of PA’s locals for a strategy session to plan how we can keep winning for workers in our shops and at the ballot box. Help protect our jobs, healthcare, retirement security and our freedom to belong to a union!

We’re stronger together. Together, we can beat back the bosses and corporations who want to hold back union members and working people. Come be a part of our plan to win for all workers in PA!

Please RSVP: or via the Scranton Office: (570) 383-4177 x210, or

Questions? Contact: Rachel Canning, Education Director or (412) 438-8322.


SEIU Members “Rock!”

SEIU members from the Lancaster County Assistance Office volunteered their time on Tuesday evening October 17th at the Community Action Partnership’s 1st Annual Block Party.

CAP hosted the event to highlight the numerous local social service and community programs that Lancaster offers.

SEIU members assisted at the Lancaster Rocks! tables by prepping signage and supplies then working directly with children and adults to help decorate a “Kindness Rock” to take back home with them.  Lancaster Rocks! are then placed in the Community for others to find and post online. Rocks! travel around the neighborhood and beyond as they are hid and found again and again.  IMCW Dissen made an SEIU rock that is now out in circulation—as of last week it has been hid, found and posted to the Lancaster Rocks! Facebook Page.

Thank you for all you do to help our communities engage one another in civil discourse and strengthening relationships! One person can make a difference! Be involved!

General Election Information – Tuesday November 7, 2017

As they say, there is no “off” year election. All elections are important as in this election calendar, the voters of Pennsylvania will elect their judges on all levels, as well county offices, city, borough, and school board offices. All of these elections have a big impact on our lives as they have the ability to raise our property and income taxes, and in the case of the judicial races, protect our rights, and protect us from unfair and unjust laws.

On November 7, 2017, the electorate of Pennsylvania will elect statewide judicial candidates to the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts, as well as be asked to vote on the retention of two Supreme court judges and one Superior court judge. Here are the details of those elections and candidates.

To find out what candidates are running for any local elections, visit your county website.

In addition to the list of candidates for statewide judicial offices, 3 retention positions, county, municipal and school district positions up for election on Tuesday November 7, there will be a PA constitutional amendment listed that requires a “Yes” or “No’ vote. Here is further explanation of the constitutional amendment you’ll see of the ballot on November 7th.

The polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Please exercise your right to have your voice heard by voting on Tuesday November 7, 2017!

SEIU Local 668 Endorsements:

Kathy Dahlkemper, County Executive, Erie County

Judge Kim Tesla, Court of Common Pleas, Beaver County

Susan Gindlesperger, District Judge, Cambria County

Rachel Shaw, School Board, Westmoreland County


In order to keep our members informed and connected, it is important that you make sure that SEIU 668 has your most recent address, telephone number and email address. Beyond that and even more important especially for State employees, you must change your address with your employer so that their records don’t overwrite the correct information the Union has in their database.

This has been an ongoing problem that only the member can fix. The Commonwealth will not allow the Union to provide your newest address. So if you haven’t gotten any mailings or had to call the Union for the expected mail, it is probably due to the fact that you have not changed your mailing address with the Commonwealth. Below is a flyer with two ways that you can update your information with the Commonwealth of PA. To sign up or correct any outdated information in our database, you can submit it at this link on our website.

In addition, we encourage you to sign up for text messaging by texting 668BuildingPower to 787753 from your cell phone. *Note: “By providing my cell phone number, I understand that SEIU and its locals and affiliates may use automated calling technologies and/or text message alerts. Carrier message and data rates may apply to such alerts. Text STOP to 787753 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 787753 for more information.”




2017 Upcoming Calendar of Events

Tuesday, October 31 Purple Tuesday


Thursday, November 2                                        Statewide Election Results Tabulated

Saturday, November 4                                         Plan To Win Session – Scranton

Tuesday, November 7                                          General Election Day

Purple Tuesday

Thursday, November 9                                        Ask the Officers Conference Call

Friday, November 10                                     Veterans Day Observed (Offices closed)

Monday, November 13                                       PA House and Senate in session

Tuesday, November 14                                      Chapter 8 Meeting

Purple Tuesday

Thursday, November 16                                   Chapter 3 Meeting

Tuesday, November 21                                     Purple Tuesday

Thursday, November 23                                   Thanksgiving Day (Offices closed)

Friday, November 24 Day After Thanksgiving (Offices closed)

Saturday, December 2                                        SWEB – Red Lion Hotel, Harrisburg


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