Weekly Labor Reader, November 22 2019






During the early morning of Wednesday, November 13th, a 4-Alarm fire broke out in Worcester and we tragically lost Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard. Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said, "Lt. Jason Menard, a 39-year old husband and father of three, died of this injuries after his "heroic efforts" to save people in the four-alarm fire at 7 Stockholm Street. Fire authorities received reports of a baby trapped on the third floor of the building as well as a report of a trapped resident around 1 AM. Menard heroically and selflessly help a firefighter to the stairs before returning into the flames to help another firefighter escape out the window.
“He had a true passion for firefighting,” said Michael Papagni, president of Local 1009. “He was always a joy to have in the firehouse and to be around. He was a “genuine person” as well as a “nice guy.”
Papagni said the married father of three “always talked about his family. He loved his family more than anything in the world. He found great joy in spending time with them and loved his wife and his children very much.”

The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts Foundation will be collecting donations for the Menard Children's Fund. 100% of all donations made will be going directly towards their future needs.

Victory for UNITE HERE Local 26 Battery Wharf Workers!

Breaking News: UNITE HERE Local 26 Battery Wharf workers have been fighting for a fair contract since March and announced yesterday, 11/21, that they have reached a tentative agreement with management. The ratification vote is today.
Workers have been fighting for the right to a fair schedule, job security, affordable family healthcare, yearly wage increases, and a pension. They have been on strike since September 5th.

Join us in congratulating these brave workers who joined together, fought and won!

Landmark Education Bill Will Send $1.5B To Massachusetts Schools

On Wednesday, the House and Senate approved the Student Opportunity Act, a historic bill that will increase state spending on public education by $1.5 billion over inflation as of 2027. It was approved unanimously to big applause.
The bill now goes to Governor Charlie Baker for his action.
Click here to see a statement from the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Click here to see a statementfrom the American Federation of Teachers, Massachusetts.

See CBS News Coverage here.

This Thanksgiving Shop Union Made

When you buy union, you're supporting good jobs in American communities, jobs that provide living wages and benefits, safe working conditions, and dignity and respect for work. Look for these quality products, produced by union members, when preparing for your Thanksgiving feast.

The Annual AFL-CIO Scholarship and Labor Education Program is in its 62nd year. Through the program, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and affiliated unions are proud to award financial resources to high school students pursuing trade union programs or college/university study. ­The Massachusetts AFL-CIO administers half a million dollars of scholarship awards on behalf of unions and labor councils throughout the state. Individual awards range from $500 to $16,000. All high school seniors in Massachusetts are eligible to compete for an award.

Applications must be received by December 20th at 5pm. The exam will be administered on February 10, 2020.

To learn more and apply, click here:

Congratulations To Our Newly Elected Union Members and Endorsed Candidates!

This election season saw a surge of union member and pro-working family candidates for municipal office. The Massachusetts Central Labor Councils and Assemblies endorsed in many races to help create a government where working people have a voice.

To see who won in your city, click here.

To learn more about jumping into the political process and to continue the momentum heading into 2020, join our first ever union member candidate school this December 7th.

Massachusetts Building Trades Unions’ Annual Helmets To Hard Hats Events Bolsters Program to Help Veterans Get Union Careers

Building trades unions based in Dorchester donated $13,000 to Helmets to Hardhats at a State House fundraising event last Friday. Helmets to Hardhats aims to connect National Guard, Reserve, and transitioning active-duty military members with trades unions jobs, according to a release from the Massachusetts Building Trades Council.

The overall union fundraising effort ultimately delivered more than $65,000 to the charity.

Stand With Harvard Student Workers

The Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW (HGSU-UAW) bargaining committee has set a strike deadline of December 3rd, following the student workers’ overwhelming 2,425 to 254 vote (90.4% in favor) to authorize a strike. The October strike authorization vote was the largest vote of its kind at a private university. Eighteen (18) months after HGSU-UAW formed its union and Harvard agreed to negotiate, the administration has failed to make real movement toward a contract that addresses the union’s core priorities which include: comprehensive and affordable healthcare, fair pay, and common-sense protections from harassment and discrimination.

Support graduate student workers! Click here to learn more.

Ensuring that Massachusetts Corporations Pay Their Fair Share

Working people have a simple message in response to the regressive taxes and fees that big business lobbyists are pushing for: "Only making working people pay is not okay, it’s time corporations pay their fair share!” Corporations should be investing in the transportation, infrastructure, and education that they use every day to move their goods, bring their employees to work, and find talent within an educated workforce.
To learn more about how closing corporate tax loopholes can help rectify our upside down tax code and what it would look like in practice, read this blog post by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describing how closing one such loophole will ensure that Massachusetts corporations pay their Fair Share. By enacting GILTI - Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income - we ensure that large, profitable corporations stop hiding their profits in offshore tax havens.

Read more here.

Learn more and join the fight at Raise Up Mass.

Action Alert: Tell Disney To Pay Their Musicians

Members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) are fighting to secure a fair contract with major Hollywood film and TV companies, led by the Walt Disney Co. As Disney makes billions in profits, it refuses to pay musicians fairly, resulting in a 75% pay cut on all work done for its new streaming service, Disney Plus.
We need your help: Tell top Disney executives that it’s time to pay musicians and bargain a fair and just contract! Hardworking musicians are being driven from their profession, all because Disney won’t share a small piece of the wealth.

MP Boston and Building Trades Unions sign Project Labor Agreement for Winthrop Center

Boston, MA MP Boston and the Building Trades Unions signed a groundbreaking Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that will cover the development of the forthcoming Winthrop Center, slated for completion in 2022. The signing demonstrates the leading-edge efforts and unified commitment by all parties to advance best practices in diversity and inclusion for the project.
Over the past decade, MP Boston and the Building Trades Unions have worked successfully to increase diversity and Boston resident hiring in the local construction industry.
For the Building Trades Unions, that has included innovative programs like Building Pathways, among others, which have led to major increases in women and people of color achieving life-changing careers in the union construction industry. Building Trade Unions have created a host of partnerships with nonprofit organizations, community organizations, high schools, and career centers, while also updating their means of communication to intentionally recruit workers from Boston neighborhoods to join their ranks.

There's More to Mass. Licensing Rules Than Meets Critics' Eyes

Occupational licensure is not an impediment — it makes people safer.

On Aug. 29, 2007, firefighters rushed into a blaze at the Tai Ho Mandarin and Cantonese Restaurant in West Roxbury. Unknown to them at the time was that grease had built up in the duct work above the stoves over many years. The grease caused the fire to spread, and the roof collapsed. Two firefighters were killed.

The investigation revealed that the duct work was not done properly. Changes were made, regulations were instituted, and sheet metal workers — who install those types of ducts — became licensed by the state. There haven’t been casualties from a similar type of fire since.

Read more of the letter in the Boston Globe from Robert Butler, Business Manager of Sheetmetal Workers Local 17.



Protect the USPS - NO to Privatization

The public service mission of the Postal Service has made it the most popular federal agency. However, this public good is at risk if we don’t all act soon.

In June 2018 the White House announced proposals to privatize the Postal Service. Now Postmaster General Megan Brennan has announced her departure as Postmaster General in January 2020.

The Postmaster General has wide powers to shape the mission of USPS and there is a real risk that Brennan’s successor could hand over parts of the service to private, profit-making corporations and prepare it for a wholesale sell-off.

The people will rightly expect a new Postmaster General who will uphold the Postal Service’s public mission and will work to preserve and enhance our national treasure.

Add your voice. Protect our public Postal Service.

Join AFSCME to Protest Union Busting in Cambridge This Black Friday!

On Black Friday, join AFSCME at Guess stores around the country to tell the Marciano family to respect workers’ rights, reopen the Marciano Art Foundation (MAF), reinstate their workers and recognize their union.
Just in time for the holidays, the MAF laid off Visitor Services staff only four days after they filed their union petition to organize! The next day, the Marcianos closed the whole museum, indicating that they would rather cut and run on their obligations to the community rather than address employees’ concerns.
A week later, they continue to hold private tours and events at MAF.

MAF workers need our help and solidarity. We are going to Guess stores to show the Marcianos that they are not above the law.

Join us at Guess stores to demand that the Marcianos: Reopen MAF, Reinstate MAF workers and, Recognize their union.

Guess Again! Black Friday Picket

   Teamsters Local 25 Ends Marshfield Strike

The MA AFL-CIO salutes the courageous workers of Republic Services Marshfield for holding the line for 84 days against corporate greed.

Click here for a statement from Teamsters Joint Council 10:

"A small group in Marshfield, Massachusetts had the stones to take on a mammoth corporation. Working Teamsters and their local unions across the nation backed them every day. That is a point of pride,” said Sean O’Brien, Teamster Local 25 President.

Click here to read more.

‘Construction life got us to where we are now’ says formerly homeless East Bridgewater mother

When Tara Williams thinks about how her life has changed in the past few months, she attributes the transformation to her new career in construction.

Following a divorce that left her and her two children homeless, the 42-year-old worked various types jobs and settled in East Bridgewater. Becoming a construction worker has provided her family stability and the ability to look ahead.
“It feels awesome,” Williams said. “When I walk around, I feel a big sense of accomplishment. I’ve been through so much and it can only get better.”
About six weeks ago, she started with Northern Construction Co. She is part of an eight-person crew in Carver that is converting a bridge to two-way traffic and adding sidewalks.

Read more about this Laborers, Local 721 member from The Enterprise.

Final Week to Register for Union Member Candidate School

There are only a handful of spots left for union member candidate school. Reserve yours before it's too late.

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.

November 29: AFSCME Black Friday Protest at Guess Store, Cambridge: Support Fired MAF Workers!

December 3: Tradeswomen Tuesday, Roxbury
December 6: The Labor Guild CGA Awards Dinner
December 7: Union Member Candidate School, Boston
December 7: Forging Pathways: 16th Annual Women's Solidarity Breakfast, Lynn
December 11: Building Trades Futures Committee

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]

@Dan_Adams86: EXCLUSIVE: Employees of Massachusetts marijuana firm Sira Naturals have unionized, the first workforce to do so in the state’s rapidly expanding legal cannabis industry. 115 cultivation, manufacturing, and retail employees voted to join UFCW Local 1445.