On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, American patriots Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor in an act of colonial resistance to British taxation without representation, sparking the American Revolution. But another historically significant event also happened here — 175 years ago — that is even more meaningful to AFSCME delegates and alternatives to our 43rd International Convention.
For it was in March 1843 that a court — the Massachusetts Supreme Court — ruled for the first time in America that workers can organize a union and push for recognition through a strike. Before that case, called Commonwealth v. Hunt, workers could and did form unions but risked prosecution because the legality of labor unions was in question. That decision, by Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, legalized the American labor union movement.
It is therefore most appropriate, in this year when the labor movement is under assault from every level of government — from the White House to the U.S. Supreme Court — that we return to Boston, where we held our 39th International Convention in 2010. It is in America’s labor birthplace that we will re-affirm our right to come together and fight back against those forces that want to take away our collective bargaining rights, undermine our pensions, make it harder to join a union and silence our voice on the job.
The AFSCME 43rd International Convention, July 16-20, 2018, will be held in the city’s waterfront district. Our theme, Rise Up, expresses our aspiration for a revived, stronger labor movement that can stand up to the forces that want to tear us down. We will never quit fighting to secure opportunity for public service workers everywhere.
We thank our host sisters and brothers of AFSCME Council 93, which represents more than 45,000 public service workers across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. More than 5,000 members serve in public works and at public schools and libraries. The council also represents more than 12,500 members in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. And the New England Chapter 93 retirees are more than 3,000 strong!
Whatever your interests, there’s much to see and do. For more information on Boston, please visit www.bostonusa.com