October 3, 2019: By unanimous consent of over 200 delegates to the 2019 Massachusetts AFL-CIO Biennial Constitutional Convention, Steven A. Tolman, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President, was elected to a third term in office last week. In his remarks, President Tolman urged unions to remain in solidarity with one another and to remember each other’s humanity. He stated:

“The most important task for us is to remember the humanity of our fellow brothers and sisters - humanity and love are the seeds of our solidarity....We must be in solidarity with all workers, whether they were born inside these borders or out. When we do that, we all win. Those at the top want to divide those struggling at the bottom and we must not let this happen. We can win together with the power of union.”

National AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, opened Thursday’s proceedings, with a lively address, expressing optimism for labor’s future:

“I’ve been at this for more than 50 years...and I’ve never been more optimistic about the labor movement. At a time when our politics and our culture wants us isolated and bitter and ready to blame, working people are, instead, turning to each other. Union approval is at 64 percent, the highest in nearly 50 years. 2018 was the biggest year for collective action in a generation.”

At the three-day convention, held at the union-built MGM Grand Hotel in Springfield, MA, Secretary-Treasurer, Louis A. Mandarini Jr. was also reelected to serve another term. The following Executive Vice Presidents were elected in addition to fifty nine (59) Vice Presidents at Large.

  • Executive Vice President At-Large: Colleen Glynn,  Business Manager, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.), Local 11
  • Executive Vice President At-Large: Filaine Deronnette, Vice President of Health Systems, District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Executive Vice President for the Industrial & Service Sectors: Jeffrey Bollen, President United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1445
  • Executive Vice President for the Public Sector: Jay Colbert, 3rd District Vice President, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
  • Executive Vice President for Building Trades: Francis Callahan, President, Massachusetts Building Trades Council

Throughout the three-day convention, delegates passed eleven resolutions on a range of issues. Highlights include:

Labor and the Environment
Delegates had firm support for efforts to examine the relationship between the labor movement, the threat of climate change and working people’s role in the evolving energy sector.

The resolution states:
"...Working people from all unions and sectors of the economy have a stake in the development of a clean energy economy that can both arrest the crisis of climate change and build an economy based on the foundation of a strong labor movement with family supporting wages, benefits and shared prosperity for all… the labor movement must be at the center of shaping climate policies to ensure there will be just transition for workers who may be displaced and that new green jobs created are union jobs.”

PDF icon Read the full resolution on Labor and the Environment here.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Delegates stood in solidarity with immigrant workers, both in our unions and not yet organized, by passing a resolution unequivocally in favor of justice for immigrants and refugees and in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

The resolution states:
“The escalating attack on immigrant and refugee families in our country is an affront to labor values and a clear threat to the freedoms we all hold dear, and it demands an urgent response...Solidarity among all working people is the source of worker power. This compels our movement to demand justice for long-term members of our communities, our workforce, and our unions, as well as for those who newly seek refuge in our country."

PDF icon Read the full resolution in support of comprehensive immigration reform here.

Housing Justice
Delegates brought forward a resolution that affirms the labor movement’s support of affordable housing and tenants’ rights while rejecting the false dichotomy of affordable housing units versus good jobs. The resolution recognizes that Massachusetts is undergoing a housing crisis and profiteers are using this moment to divide working people, pitting those who need affordable housing against those who build it, in an attempt to lower labor standards for all and increase profits for themselves.

The resolution states:
"...The MA AFL-CIO supports increased public investments in affordable housing...[and] is in favor of tenant protections, rent stabilization and anti-displacement efforts that will preserve affordability in existing neighborhoods and promote housing security for low-income and working families…Housing justice includes worker protections including, but not limited to, safe working conditions, local and diverse workforces, and prevailing wage standards for all workers building housing.”

PDF icon Read the full resolution on housing justice here.

Young Worker Organizing
A resolution to prioritize young worker organizing was also passed unanimously.

The resolution states:
"The economy young people are coming into is changing, automation is replacing huge numbers of good union jobs at an alarming rate, and gig economy jobs are on the rise. Jobs created in this economy increasingly offer few hours, no benefits, limited protections, and legal impediments to organizing...The MA AFL-CIO deems it of the utmost importance to come up with effective ways of engaging union and non-union young workers in the organizing, bargaining, and general functioning of our unions."

PDF icon Read the full resolution on young worker organizing here.

Following is the text of each resolution passed at the MA AFL-CIO 2019 Biennial Constitutional Convention:

PDF icon Resolution on labor and the environment

PDF icon Resolution in support of comprehensive immigration reform to benefit all working people

PDF icon Resolution on housing justice

PDF icon Resolution on the MA young workers movement

PDF icon Resolution on retiree organizing

PDF icon Resolution to endorse a pro-worker presidential candidate

PDF icon Resolution to fight the right

PDF icon Resolution to commit to new organizing

PDF icon Resolution on a union candidate school

PDF icon Resolution in favor of organizing for the common good

PDF icon Resolution on a union candidate school

PDF icon Resolution on capital stewardship