BOSTON – Solidarity was on full display at the Greater Boston Labor Council’s Annual Labor Day Breakfast on Monday, as elected officials and labor leaders rallied in support of Local 25 members at ABC Supply Company as they began their 122nd day on strike.
International Vice President and Local 25 President Sean O'Brien delivered an impassioned speech to shed light on the anti-worker behavior at ABC, saying it is part of a broader battle impacting workers everywhere.
“On May 7, we made a decision and the decision was tough – the decision to strike. I think as union leaders, we all say that's a last resort – but it was necessary,” O’Brien said. “This is the fight of our life. And it’s not about ABC workers – it’s about the entire labor movement.”
Following several rounds of contentious contract negotiations with the company, the 22-worker unit voted to strike after the company attempted to pull out of the New England Teamsters Pension Fund. Since then, the Local 25 members have stood strong and shown their commitment on the picket line, standing outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to defend their right to maintain a pension plan.
O'Brien closed with a call for the Boston labor community to continue their support of ABC workers and recommitted Local 25’s promise to union solidarity. He also took the opportunity to go after ABC's history of anti-union behavior, with some choice words for owner and CEO Diana Hendricks.
“This is a corporate white collar syndicate and it's textbook Republican Party leadership,” he said. “This woman has given money to the Koch brothers, she's financed campaigns against workers throughout the country.”
Hendricks – who currently serves as an economic policy advisor for Donald Trump's presidential campaign (and vice chair of Trump's fundraising committee) – has a long history backing anti-worker politicians tied to corporate interest. In 2015, she gave $5 million to the Super PAC that was formed to support Scott Walker's failed presidential bid.
Other speakers at the event echoed O'Brien's message, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and other Massachusetts labor leaders such as Steve Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
As one of Trump's economic advisors, and VP of the campaign's fundraising committee, Hendricks exemplify the corporate greed that workers are up against this November--and the need for labor to get out the vote.
Speaker after speaker slammed Trump, with Sen. Warren leading the way.
“What kind of a man cheats students, cheats contractors, cheats workers?” asked Sen. Warren. “I’ll tell you what kind of a man–a man who will never be president of the United States.”