Chronology for Somerville Stands Together 2018
In December 2017, labor leaders from ten unions and nine members of the Board of Aldermen attended a Labor Unity breakfast hosted by Our Revolution Somerville (ORS). The breakfast was a forum for union leaders to brief members of the Board of Aldermen on their concerns and bring labor’s agenda closer to the work of ORS. More info about the breakfast here.
Building on the enthusiasm from the breakfast and growing discontent with working conditions in the city, union leaders came together to work with ORS on re-establishing Somerville as a “union city.” With support from the Building & Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District (MetroBTC), we formed a new community-labor coalition: Somerville Stands Together. Below is an SST chronology for 2018.
Jan. 8 Sixteen people attended the first meeting to plan a broad city-wide labor campaign.
Jan. 19 Second coalition meeting where each member of the coalition affirmed their commitment to the campaign and four broad principles of unity:
· Union labor for the $4 billion worth of construction work pending in the city (GLX, Assembly Sq., Union Sq., etc.)
· Respect & good contracts for municipal workers.
· A “free and fair” election process for employees to form a union at businesses that get tax breaks from the city.
· Update and enforce Somerville’s fair labor standards ordinances (specifically: Responsible Employer Ordinance, Living Wage Ordinance, and the Wage Theft Ordinance).
Jan. 21 Our Revolution Somerville affirms support for SST after a presentation by Ed Halloran at citywide meeting.
Jan. 29 Public meeting on redevelopment of Clarendon Hill Apartments at West Somerville Community School.
Feb. 5 Third SST meeting. The coalition votes to add a 5th plank on “Affordable Housing” and commits to winning a PLA with the developers of Clarendon Hill.
Feb. 5 Somerville workers and union leaders turn out at public forum with the developers of Clarendon Hill housing project.
Feb. 26 On day that Janus vs. AFSCME oral arguments were heard, workers rally at Somerville City Hall to protest billionaire-driven effort to use Supreme Court to further rig the system against working families. Read more about the rally here.
Mar. 24 Conference on Community Benefits hosted by Our Revolution Somerville and Our Revolution Medford. The conference launches a campaign to win significantly more Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) and more community benefits from Tufts. SST goal of winning a “free and fair election” for Tufts University staff was supported by conference participants.
Mar. 27 SST leaders set April 26 date to rally for Dignity, Justice and Respect for all Somerville Workers.
Apr. 26 SST rallies for Good Jobs, Fair Contracts, and Affordable Housing. Citing rising rents, stagnant wages, and irresponsible development, hundreds of residents urge city leaders to start putting local families first at a huge march and rally at city hall. Watch the video of the SST kickoff rally here.
May 21 Public hearing on Clarendon Hill where SST members testified in favor of affordable housing and prevailing wages.
Jun. 4 Sixth SST meeting.
Jun. 26 Public hearing on municipal budget and funding for union contracts.
Jul. 9 SST rallies to support the Union Sq. Neighborhood Council, urging the Union Sq. developer, US2 to use union labor and hire local people. SST supports call to stop transfer of land to the developer until negotiations for CBA are completed.
Somerville Stands Together support Union Square residents, workers and business owners to negotiate a strong community benefits agreement with the developers and allow the profits of the development to benefit the broader community.
Jul. 21 First community canvass for good jobs hits the doors with our message: “Somerville Needs Good Union Jobs!”
Aug. 13 SST members discuss next steps for the city’s PILOT agreement with Tufts Univ., winning respect for municipal workers, achieve prevailing wage standards for workers at Clarendon Hill and updating the “living wage” ordinance.
Oct. 5 SST holds a huge door-to-door canvass to build turnout for our Oct. 22 rally in Union Sq.
Oct. 10 Third community canvass for good jobs.
Oct. 7 SST supporters march in Somerville’s Honk Parade.
Oct. 17 Boston building trades members meet to build support for a CBA in Union Sq.
Oct. 22 More than 350 people rally in support of a Community Benefits Agreement in Union Sq. Watch the video here. Speakers included Colleen Fitzpatrick, Our Revolution Somerville; Virginia Hussey, Boston building trades; Ben Bradlow, Union Sq. Neighborhood Council; and Sean O’Brien, Teamsters Local 25.
The event was enlivened by the Somerville Second Line and Social Aid Marching Band. Photo’s posted here.
The march and rally coincided with a public hearing on the proposed transfer of public land in Union Sq. to the US2 developers. Forty residents testified in support of holding up the transfer until US2 agrees to a good community benefits agreement in Union Sq. Photos from the hearing posted here.
Nov. 29 SST joins the Tufts Housing League, students, and members of Somerville & Medford communities to push for an end to tiered housing at Tufts and the need for the university to build dorms on campus.
Dec. 17 SST coalition meeting celebrating one year anniver-sary and standing in solidarity with UFCW Local 1445 members working at Royal Hospitality who are fighting for a good contract and against displacement because of development in Union Square.