NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 15, 2011

Candidates refuse union endorsement

NEWBURYPORT — City councilors running for re-election this fall are warning Massachusetts AFL-CIO officials they will not accept union endorsements in response to months of anti-Anna Jaques Hospital protests by members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103.

Councilors Tom Jones, Bob Cronin and Brian Derrivan made the intentions of the entire council clear Thursday during a meeting of the AFL-CIO's Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council in Lowell when they presented labor council president Paul Georges with a letter.

Jones, who is a member of a carpenters union, said yesterday it was obvious to him and other councilors that the IBEW Local 103's tactics went beyond a labor dispute over hiring practices and has become a test of wills between the city and the union.

Jones also said it was hard for him and others on the council to empathize for unions in general because of the negative impact of IBEW Local 103.

"It (IBEW Local 103) runs against what organized labor should be doing," Jones said.

The Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council serves as an advocacy group for union members in dozens of North Shore and Metro Boston area communities, including Newburyport, Methuen, Lawrence, Burlington, Concord and Amesbury. According to its website, among the labor council's goals is to mobilize against anti-union employers, work on community issues, recruit and support candidates who champion working families, and organize grassroots political action to push for adoption of worker-friendly initiatives and policies on a national, state and local level.

For months, members of IBEW Local 103 have been protesting the Highland Avenue hospital's decision to hire nonunion electrical workers as part of its roughly $15 million renovation project. What started out as union members standing behind banners directing people to a website that highlights malpractice payments made by hospital doctors has expanded to include flyovers by a rented plane and the display of a 9-foot-tall inflatable rat balloon in the middle of Market Square.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Special Features