Cost: $15 per person.
Members can buy: Up to four tickets.
Tickets cover: Entrance to Canobie Lake along with All-You-Can-Eat ‘Good Old Summertime Picnic’ food and drink.
Local 888 and Jobs with Justice honored the life of celebrated labor organizer and leader David Sickler at an event marking the release of a new book on his remarkable life and successful, creative union campaigns.
Peter Olney, retired organizing director for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, introduced Sickler at the event, held at the downtown offices of SEIU Local 32BJ. Among other things, Olney praised Sickler for his “courage and vision” as AFL-CIO regional director in California in the 1990s.
The book is “From Coors to California: David Sickler and the New Working Class.” Olney said that “The ‘New’ in New Working Class means new to this country, or in the case of women and people of color, ‘new’ to the ranks of organized labor because of years of exclusion.”
The book follows Sickler from his days as a 19-year-old assembly line worker for Colorado’s Coors Brewery, where he cut his teeth as a union activist and shop steward. In the late 1970s, the right-wing owners of Coors provoked a battle with the brewery union.
It turned into a years-long national battle as the AFL-CIO launched a full-on boycott with Sickler as the organizer. As the book recounts, the boycott “succeeded in putting Coors on trial in the court of public opinion.” The AFL-CIO used the boycott “to protest Coors’ violations of labor and other human rights and the donations by the Coors family and the company to right-wing institutions and politicians threatening those rights.”
After successfully leading the Coors boycott, Sickler went on to work for the AFL-CIO in California. There, he helped revitalize the labor movement, which had been gutted by factory closings and globalization.
The key to this was organizing new immigrants, in particular from Mexico, many in the new workplaces that had sprung up in the Los Angeles area.
“From Coors to California” is published by the UCLA Center for Research and Education. For more info, see https://books.labor.ucla.edu/p/85/sickler.
Photos from the Boston events with David Sickler posted here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6e2gZg5K6ChgL2dF8
Local 888 members in Billerica have inked a one-year contract with the town that includes a 2.8 percent wage increase and improved longevity pay. The agreement for the administrative and professional unit begins in July.
The chapter’s 30 members voted unanimously for the contract, which was then approved by Billerica Town Meeting.
The longevity benefit will help members who stay employed by the town for five years or more, said David Lenzie, the chapter leader.
Lenzie praised the chapter’s negotiating team and board along with the Local 888 staff for helping arrive at a good contract. In the run-up to negotiations, new leaders stepped up to fill vacancies. “It’s great to see a couple younger people get involved – members who can continue our union tradition on into the future,” said Lenzie, a building inpector.
Since taking on Lenzie’s former chapter post of secretary, Joe D’Angelo has already taken part in stewards’ training sponsored by Local 888. Lenzie said that the one-year agreement will give management and Local 888 members time to digest a town study that compares Billerica salaries and benefits with those in similar positions in other towns.
One sad note: Longtime chapter leader Ken Buffum died recently. His position of vice president will be filled during chapter elections in November. Buffum had been Billerica’s director of veterans services for 41 years.
Email myunion@SEIU888.org for guidelines on chapter leadership.
Local 888 member Jonathan Dudley has helped produce a new book of interviews of two former furniture workers who worked for decades in the industry that earned Gardner the nickname of “Chair City.” The Chair City Community Workshop, 306 Central St., downtown Gardner will host a book discussion June 30, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Dudley, a Head Start teacher at the Montachusett Opportunity Council, has also transcribed furniture workers’ interviews for the Chair City Community Workshop.
“Richard and Millie Beauregard’s oral history is an account by two working people about their experience working in the furniture industry and trying to understand why a 150-year-old company shut its doors,” said Dudley. When their company, Nichols & Stone, closed its Gardner plant in 2008 it blamed the Great Recession “along with a flood of low price/low quality imports.” It was the last major furniture manufacturer in Gardner.
Mount Wachusett Community College instructor Tracie Pouliot runs the community workshop, where volunteers hand print and bind books celebrating the stories of the working people in Gardner. The latest book is the ninth in a series on the furniture industry, which in its heyday earned the city the name “Furniture Capital of New England.” For more info, call 865-696-6733, or see https://tinyurl.com/ChairCity.
The officers of Local 888 extend our deepest sympathies to the family of:
Trina “Peanut” Louise Wilkerson, 45, of Chelsea, who died unexpectedly. The Local 888 member was a youth worker at the Hyde Park Community Center, part of the Boston Centers for Youth & Families