News & Events

Welcome from our new Region One Chair

Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Christine Folsom (I like to be called Chris) and I have been elected as your Chairperson for Region One. I am a member of the Unit 7 State Healthcare Professionals bargaining unit, one of 85 in the MNA. I work in the Department of Mental Retardation where I care for some of the most needy citizens in the Commonwealth.   As a member I’ve been thinking about why I love the union. Many things come to mind and I’d like to share some of my thoughts. One is the whole concept of a labor union: people who do the work having a say in the conditions under which that work is performed and the wages they are willing to accept for performing that work. This is dazzling in its simplicity and audacity. Unfortunately, not every worker in America belongs to a union, at least not yet.   Our region is spread out across Western Massachusetts and has the largest geographical area in the MNA.  When a call to action goes out, be it a trip to the State House to show support of legislation, informational picketing for area facilities undergoing contract negotiations or to help our brothers and sisters in other like minded unions, our members come from all over to lend their support. Our members come regardless of the day, time or weather conditions. We don’t let our counter parts in the Eastern part of the State forget we are here; we make our voices known.   Some of you may remember Region One’s humble beginnings…a one room office with one table and one phone.  You need to see us now…a multi room office, several phones, and office equipment all necessary to support our hotbed of activities. Our office area now serves as a meeting space for members negotiating their contracts, trainings such as Labor School and Computer training (perhaps you’ve attended these – they are fabulous!), and most importantly as a place to meet to plan political actions in support of candidates and legislation that affects our work and the patients/clients we serve.    You might be wondering how this all evolved. Well, we have had some wonderful leaders in Region One and most recently Patricia Healey. Patty worked tirelessly for the past five years to propel our region to the top-notch organization it is today. She traveled monthly and sometimes more often to Canton to represent and speak for the members in Region One, bringing our needs forward to the MNA leadership. Patty fought hard on behalf of the members to bring the resources in Canton to our area so members would have a chance to experience the benefits.   Having the opportunity to work with Patty these past few years has been an honor and a pleasure. I will continue to seek her insight and experience as I assume the role of Region One Chair, a role she filled so brilliantly. Her shoes will be tough to fill but I believe if I take a page from her book and let the empowering spirit of the Region One members guide me, I’ll do fine. If you have been able to participate in some of our activities, thank you; if you haven’t, I invite you to join us, and I look forward to meeting you!