Snowplow Driver Protects Driver of Car on Fire

A snowplow driver from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation wound up being part of the rescue when he came across a car fire in Andover during one of the recent snowfalls.

Alex Niles had just finished a long night of plowing when he pulled over at the site of a car fire on Interstate 93 South in Andover, at Exit 42. He pulled over, he said, just to make sure the driver of the car was safe. He had the car's driver, who had already exited the vehicle, stay behind the plow truck for safety. Then the car's gas tank exploded, sending fuel and flames towards the plow. Niles and the driver escaped injury and no one else was hurt.

“That’s what we do. Everybody’s there. I was the first one there and just make sure everybody’s safe. That’s part of our job, just making sure everybody is safe on the highways and that’s what I did,” Niles told Boston's Channel 7 (you can see their story, and the dramatic photos, here). 

Mass Students Rank Near Top of International Math/Science Test

Investing in good public education has its rewards--Massachusetts eighth graders have scored near the top of an international math and science exam

Massachusetts students were second only to students from Singapore in the science portion of the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMMS) exam. On the math portion, Bay State eighth graders ranked sixth out of the 63 countries taking the test. (Massachusetts students participated as an entity separate from the US as a whole, and outscored not only the entire US but the other eight states that participated individually.)

"Having students with strong math and science skills is critical to our future as a state with a vibrant economy based in the sciences," said Joe Dorant, president of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists and co-chair of Working Massachusetts. "Investing in professional teachers and education as a whole makes a profound difference in educational outcomes. If we want to have an educated, professional workforce to strengthen our economy and our communities tomorrow, we have to give them the best teachers we can today."

You can read more about Massachusetts students and the TIMSS exam here

Police to Honor MBTA Driver for Rescuing Unattended Toddler

Police in Medford will present an MBTA bus driver with a commendation for her role in returning an unattended toddler to her family.

Sixteen-year MBTA veteran Donna D'Amelio was driving her bus near a busy intersection in Medford in the wee hours of an August Sunday morning when she spotted the two-year-old wandering unattended. D'Amelio immediately stopped her bus and cared for the girl until police arrived. Officers soon discovered an open door in a dwelling nearby and woke the child's mother, who was understandably upset to learn that her child had slipped out of the house unattended. Mother and daughter were safely reunited a short tine later. 

"Public workers come across all kinds of situations that aren't technically their responsibility, but they step up to the plate all the same," said Joe Dorant, cochairperson of Working Massachusetts. "We're happy that she's on our team and pleased that the Medford police are recognizing her for her service."

MOSES member Greg Skomal. (Photo: Boston Globe)
MOSES member Greg Skomal. (Photo: Boston Globe)

Massachusetts Marine Biologist “Shark Week” Star

 

Towards the end of summer, you may have seen “Shark Week” series on cable television’s Discovery Channel—the week devoted to programs following one of nature’s scariest creatures. But did you know that one of the stars of Shark Week is a Massachusetts public employee?

Greg Skomal is a marine biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries....

Court Officers Subdue Defendant in Alleged Attack on Attorney

 

Court officers at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston saved the day when they quickly subdued a murder defendant who allegedly punched his attorney.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Karp was in court on August 21 working on pretrial motions in the murder trial of Cornell Smith, who is accused of murdering Northeastern University student Rebecca Payne in 2008. As the defense and prosecution were arguing the motion, Smith allegedly punched Karp, who was seated next to him. Court officers quickly moved in and removed Smith from the courtroom.

“The court officers did an excellent job,” Karp told reporters. “They got a hold of the situation very quickly. I could have been very hurt if he’d continued.” 

 

“A generation ago, defendants didn’t do this kind of thing, but now court officers see this kind of violence more and more,” said David Abbott, president of NAGE Local 458, which represents court security personnel across the Commonwealth. “We have to be ready to respond decisively in a heartbeat. The COs at Suffolk Superior Court did their jobs very well and saved Mr. Karp and others from further harm.”

 

 

Union Membershiop Decline = Economic Decline for All

The next time someone tells you how "bad" unions have been for America, you might want to tell them that lower union membership rates mean LESS wealth for working people!

Thanks to our friends at the Boston Teachers Union, we have this piece from the Economic Policy Institute:

 

"One hallmark of the first 30 years after World War II was the 'countervailing power' of labor unions (not just at the bargaining table but in local, state, and national politics) and their ability to raise wages and working standards for members and non-members alike. There were stark limits to union power -- which was concentrated in some sectors of the economy and in some regions of the country -- but the basic logic of the postwar accord was clear: Into the early 1970s, both median compensation and labor productivity roughly doubled. Labor unions both sustained prosperity, and ensured that it was shared..."

You can see the entire piece from EPI here

UMass Official May Get Six-Figure Pension While "Regular" Workers Are Under Fire

While rank-and-file state workers in Massachusetts find themselves vilified and their meager pensions under the microscope, one University of Massachusetts Medical School official may be eligible for a pension payout of almost $1,000 a day!

As WCVB-TV 5 reported, Thomas D. Manning, deputy chancellor of Commonwealth Medicine, will qualify for the state's highest pension when he retires on June 30--a grand total of $346,800 per year, or nearly $1,000 a day. Meanwhile, the average state worker retires with a pension in the mid-$20,000 range, and faces ever higher costs for medical care.

"“It’s just appalling. They’ve put a small number of individuals in a position to really exploit the system. And frankly at the expense of people who do most of the actual work and get treated shabbily,” said Kevin Preston, state director for NAGE, a member of Working Massachusetts. 

We agree. The average public workers spend their lives working for the public good and paying a huge portion of their own retirement costs, only to see public pensions blamed for all of our economic problems. In Massachusetts, a worker who spends all his/her working life in the Commonwealth's employment doesn't qualify for Social Security, either--the only retirement funds available will be through the public pension system. Isn't it time we did more to take care of the regular working people who took care of us, and turned a more critical eye towards the few who reap such disproportionate rewards?

​You can read more about the story and see Ch. 5's report here

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon High School Teacher Named Mass "Teacher of the Year"

A French teacher from Sharon High School has been named this year's Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and is now in the running for the national teacher of the year award.

Kathleen Turner entered the auditorium at Sharon High School this week to enthusiastic cheers from students, colleagues, and family members as the the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced the award.

You can read more about the ways Turner involves her students, as well as the award, here.

 

 

Town Workers Find Wedding Ring in Sewer Line, Return to Owner

A Braintree woman has her wedding ring back nearly two years after she lost it, thanks to the work of several town employees in Braintree.

A pair of Water and Sewer Department employees found the ring in a water line in mid-April. After they cleaned and disinfected it, they gave it to the town's human resources director. A diligent and creative staffer put his detective skills to work and discovered that the ring's owner still lived in Braintree--and she was thrilled to have it returned safely.

"It is beyond wonderful that the Town of Braintree has such ethical and dedicated employees," she told the local media.

You can read the entire story here.

Hats off to the Town of Braintree employees who went the extra mile to help someone. 

MOSES member Rob Sousa
MOSES member Rob Sousa

Prepared for All Hazards--How One State Employee Keeps You Safe During Disaster

 

When disaster strikes – natural or manmade – it’s a sure bet that Spencer resident and Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists member Rob Sousa played a key role in keeping you safe .  An all hazards planner with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Sousa understands the importance of planning.  He is charged with maintaining the Electronic Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, or eCEMP, a web-based program that helps the Emergency Management Directors in each of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns develop their plans for implementation in the event of natural and other disasters.  

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