Unions in Massachusetts and across the nation have seen a rare coalescence of spiking public and political support, labor leaders reflected at Boston’s annual Labor Day Breakfast on Monday, signaling confidence in the future of the movement.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere else on Labor Day than in the greatest union city in this country with the greatest movement in the labor movement with all of you,” said Lou Antonellis, Business Manager of the IBEW 103.
Antonellis, among many other speakers, noted that support for unions is at a “50-year high,” “88% of workers under 30 support being in a union” and “labor’s political stars are finally aligning from the White House to the State House to Boston City Hall.”
The Labor Day Breakfast, held at the Boston Park Plaza hotel Monday morning, brought out a wide array of local union leaders and members — representing actors, hotel workers, teachers, musicians, nurses and many, many other professions — and political figures including Gov. Maura Healey, Mayor Michelle Wu, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark and others.
Speakers from different unions throughout Massachusetts spoke to successful and ongoing unionization and negotiation efforts, including Mass General Brigham doctors’ vote to unionize into one of the largest unions of its kind this June, State House workers’ legislative push to allow them the right to unionize, and Tufts RA’s decision to strike during student move-in just last Tuesday.
“We were just stabbed in the back after so many years of hard work and dedication at the Seaport Hotel,” said Asima Memic, a worker at the hotel for over 20 years, asking for support for the employees’ ongoing efforts to unionize. … “This is why we decided to form a union, a Local 26.”
The country has seen over 500 labor actions in just 2023, according to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, including massive efforts like UPS drivers’ successful national fight for new conditions and the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike shutting down the entertainment industry.
Speakers also remarked Healey is the first Massachusetts governor to attend the breakfast in about a decade, noting the state and Boston city administrations’ strong support for labor.
In speeches, Healey touted a number of worker-centric policies in this budget, including an 8% wage increase for the majority of state employees, student debt relief for behavioral health workers and gains for MBTA workers in their newly signed contract.
Wu likewise showcased labor gains in city policies, including the newly created Cabinet of Worker Empowerment and the 48 now-settled city labor contracts.
“I want to thank you all for proving worker power moves us forward in every way,” said Healey. “That’s why in Massachusetts, every day is Labor Day.”
Original story HERE.