Important Message Re: An Act Establishing Just Schedules for Employees

Dear BVCC Member, 

I would like to bring to your attention, if you are not already aware, of a new proposed bill before the legislature…


An Act Establishing Just Schedules for Employees

 – Representative Garballey

This bill addresses on-call and last-minute scheduling by mandating the provision of extra pay for employees whose schedule is changed within 24 hours of the shift. Specific mandates include 3 hours of pay at minimum wage when workers work less and are sent home early, 4 hours of pay at the regular rate of pay for work cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, when workers are sent home early and work less than four hours, or for unworked on-call shifts, and 1 hour of extra pay for any shifts added within 24 hours. It also strengthens investigative and punitive authority for the government to incentivize compliance.
Here is a link to the actual bill


If passed, this law could cause problems for many  small business owners, and add greatly to the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth.  The Blackstone Valley Chamber is working with MACCE (Mass Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives) and AIM to reach out to our legislators with your views on how this could affect you.  Please contact your legislators and let me know your thoughts  so we can act as a liaison for you in reaching out as your voice of business.


Many thanks for your input and support!



Jeannie Hebert

President and CEO

Alternative’s Valley Friendship Tour Helped with a Dunk from Harbro

For the second year in a row, Alternatives’ Valley Friendship Tour has set a new fundraising record.

For the second year in a row, Alternatives’ Valley Friendship Tour has set a new fundraising record.

For the second year in a row, Alternatives’ Valley Friendship Tour has set a new fundraising record. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited about this success – particularly when we think about all of the ways in which these funds will be able to improve the lives of the people we serve. Raising almost $170,000 (and still counting!) is really remarkable and we have lots of people to thank, including all of the Chamber members who participated, fielded teams, made donations or sponsored the event.

Harbro Auto really got involved with the Tour this year. Not only were they represented by one of the largest and most enthusiastic teams (you couldn’t miss them in their blue HARBRO t-shirts as you can see from this picture), but they also hosted two car washes for one of our Mental Health services teams AND invited us to participate in their 40th Anniversary Celebration by manning the dunk tank. Their celebration on June 15 was a really terrific event and with people lining up to dunk Alternatives’ Dennis Rice and Michael Seibold and Harbro’s Tim Hare (among other Alternatives and Harbro “celebrities”) we raised $800 for the Valley Friendship Tour. Here’s a clip of Dennis Rice getting wet. Good thing it was a nice day.

So, thanks again to Harbro Auto and our BVCC Valley Tour sponsors: Bowditch & Dewey, LLP, Creedon & Co., Eastern Security Safe, Koopman Lumber, Milford Federal Savings & Loan, Osterman Propane, Stonebridge Press Newspapers and Whitinsville Water Company. A special shout out to everyone at Gaudette Insurance. Their “Gerry’s Gang” team raised an astounding $7825 (so far) and is our top external team.

Alternative’s Valley Friendship Tour. It was a fun day for a fun cause.

Karen Goldenberg

Building Office Morale


Does this look familiar? Whether your business is run by five employees, or five-thousand, every business owner knows that a good staff is not only hard to find, but, it is essential to keep, in order to maintain your customer-base, and keep your business flourishing.

In today’s workforce, people are spending more time at work than ever before. As the expectation for longer workdays become common practice, we, as business owners, have been faced with the ever-increasing need to build morale within our companies. To some this may seem like a frivolous business expense, but studies have shown workers who are rewarded and acknowledged beyond their weekly paycheck do, indeed, work harder.

It’s no big secret that deep-down we all enjoy praise of one type or another. The issue we face, however, is how do we do this without taking away from the productivity of a workday. With a little creative thinking, you will find that not only is this doable with very little time taken from the day, but, your employees will work faster and harder for you in exchange for your efforts.

The first thing you need to do is think about a budget. Though it’s always nice to be able to raffle-off a 52″ HD television, it is not within all of our means to do so. This is where the creative thinking comes in. Though you may not have a budget of thousands of dollars- how about a gift card to a restaurant, tickets to a movie or even a comedy show? All of these things can be obtained for less than $50, and the benefits you will reap as their employer will come back to you at a rate much higher than “two-fold.”

Other things you may consider are:

  1. On a slow day, hand out raffle tickets for the rest of the day off with pay. Essentially, this doesn’t cost you anything more than you were going to pay-out in expenses, as you were going to pay them for the day anyway- and who doesn’t want to leave early on a nice day to grab an iced coffee and relax a bit?
  2. Believe it or not, people love swag. Hand out hats, t-shirts, tote bags, or other merchandise with the company name and logo on them. They get a gift, you get advertising, and it’s not a bad way for people to show pride for the company they are working for. A word of caution: Don’t make those the only things you hand out. My former employer handed out decks of playing cards- which were great, until it became laughable the eighth time I received a pack for my five-year employment with the company.
  3. Cater a lunch, or offer a pot luck giving people a little extra time on their breaks. This gives them time to enjoy something different than their cafeteria and brown bag lunches, and more time to spend with their colleagues.
  4. Birthday cakes- Once a month celebrate those who celebrate their birthday during that month. I still like offering birthdays as paid days off, as part of their benefits package.

As you can see, boosting morale can be very simple, and inexpensive. The important part is letting the people you rely on the most know that with your reliance comes respect for all they do. Always remember that respect is earned, and not blindly given.