Weekly Labor Reader, August 23, 2019

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Boston city councilors criticize Boston Calling convictions as ‘damaging precedent’

In a show of unity with the administration, Boston city councilors joined community activists Wednesday in protest of the federal prosecutions of two former City Hall aides, saying their extortion convictions for pressuring a music festival to hire union members will have a chilling effect on the very advocacy they carry out daily in their jobs.

The late morning news conference outside council chambers occurred hours before defense attorneys for the two aides submitted new court documents asking US District Judge Leo T. Sorokin to vacate the jury’s guilty verdict, by finding as a matter of law that no crime ever occurred.
If the judge won’t vacate the verdict, the lawyers called for a new trial “to rectify the manifest injustice of the verdict in this case.”
“Two innocent men currently stand convicted of a non-existent crime,” the lawyers argued, adding that, “the court should acquit [the aides] — because the government pursued a legal theory in this case that violates fundamental principles of settled constitutional law and representative government and because each defendant is factually and legally innocent of any wrongdoing.”

Read more from the Boston Globe here.

Also read Harvey Silverglate's August 15th WBGH opinion piece.

Also read piece by Mark Erich August 21

New Western Mass Labor Federation Forms!

Last night the Western MA Area Labor Foundation held an exciting launch event with around 200 union leaders, rank and file members and unorganized workers to build a stronger labor movement in Western Mass!

"One thing is clear, and that is workers- whether they're organized in a union-are under attack by corporate employers," Jones said

Read more form Gazettenet.com


It's time to fund investments in transportation and public education

This week, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO signed onto a letter from Raise up Massachusetts to legislators calling on the Massachusetts business community to contribute themselves to fund investments in transportation and public education, not just ask working people and road users to pay more.

As the legislature prepares for a debate over state revenue-raising options this fall, large, profitable corporations and their lobbyists are calling for working people to pay more, and they think they deserve a big round of applause for letting the rest of us pay higher taxes! The Massachusetts corporate community needs to explain just how businesses plan to do their part to fund our transportation and public education systems.

Click here to read the letter and learn more.

UMass Lowell Labor Education Program Leadership Transition

At the end of this summer, UMass Lowell Labor Education Program Director Susan Winning will retire after 18 years of service to the program and to the university. Susan (pictured above on the right) joined the program as coordinator in 2002 and became director in 2010 when founder Charley Richardson was laid off.
For the past 17 years, Susan has provided education and training on a wide variety of topics, as well as organizational support for unions, labor councils and community organizations. Her particular passion has been leadership development and support for women.
In September, current Labor Education Coordinator Elizabeth Pellerito will step into the role of Program Director. She has been with the Lowell program since January 2018; prior to that, she organized in the higher education sector in Oregon and her home state, Michigan. Elizabeth (pictured above on the left) is excited and honored to continue building on the legacies of the inspirational labor educators who built this program.
We at the Massachusetts AFL-CIO wish Susan a happy retirement and Elizabeth the best of luck in her new position!
On September 25th - 27th, 2019, over 200 delegates and guests will gather for the Biennial Constitutional Convention of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
The Convention theme of unity will be reflected throughout the proceedings, from resolutions, to keynote speakers, to panels.
The convention will feature keynote speakers, David Webber and Steven Greenhouse. Webber is the author of "The Rise of the Working Class Shareholder: Labor's Last Best Weapon," and will sign copies of his books for attendees. Greenhouse is a New York Times Reporter and author and will be speaking and signing copies of, “Beaten Down, Worked Up - The Past, Present and Future of American Labor Movement."

Learn More about featured author Greenhouse:

Learn more about featured author Webber:

The Convention is not open to the public and is closed to the press. Affiliated unions in good standing should have received their credentials by mail. Registration is due by September 10th. For more information and to download the delegate and guest registrations, click here.

How well Do You Know Those Working Around You? For some Friday fun, take this test and Share The BuzzFeed Quiz from Mass Building Trades Council.

Last Week To Take Action: Save Our Apprenticeships!

Building Trades unions’ world-class registered apprenticeship programs train Massachusetts and U.S. workers to become highly-skilled, well paid construction workers through a debt-free, technologically-advanced education. These earn-as-you-learn programs pay family-sustaining wages, provide health care coverage and retirement benefits and emphasize workplace safety. These programs and our future is at risk. A new proposal by the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout the industry.
In June, the Trump Administration proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). Unlike the Registered Apprenticeship model, the IRAPs puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. The new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs.
The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journey worker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.

Labor Guild School of Labor-Management Relations Classes

The Labor Guild's Fall Term Courses are now available. You can find full course descriptions and register for classes here.
The 2019 Fall Term kicks off on September 9! Courses run September 9–November 4 (no class October 14)
All courses will be held at the Labor Guild (in the Archdiocese Pastoral Center), 66 Brooks Drive in Braintree.

Announcing Union Member Candidate School

Support for union members running for elected office is a top priority for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and our affiliates. We know that when our members run on a platform of working people’s values and receive unified support from the labor movement, we will win. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and its Executive Board are establishing a union candidate school to train our members to run for elected office from the local/municipal level all the way up to statewide/federal office.
Our first session will be held on Saturday December 7th, 9am-2pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The training will be free of charge and participants will be given materials to use as a reference for campaign purposes.

Learn more and register here.

August 23: MA AFL-CIO Political & Legislative Roundtable, Dorchester

August 23-August 25: MA Jobs with Justice Organizing and Leadership Training

August 27: Justice At Work: Know Your Rights Presentation

September 2: Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast

September 2: Central MA Labor Day Breakfast

September 2: Bread and Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence

September 6: Western MA Area Labor Federation's Labor Day Breakfast, Chicopee

September 14 : Helmets to Hardhats Motorcycle Run

September 19: Building Pathways Awards Benefit, Boston

September 25-September 27: MA AFL-CIO Convention, Springfield

October 3: UMass Lowell Labor Education Presents Automation and You

October 15: Tradeswomen Tuesday Worcester

October 23: BTU Union Drive

For a full list of events, visit the calendar on our website. If you have any events that you would like to be included, contact Rachael Running at [email protected]

@AFLCIO: Today marks #BlackWomensEqualPay Day - or the date in the new year when Black women FINALLY earn what white, non-Hispanic men made last year alone.