2015 Evening with Labor
This year’s Evening With Labor Award winners:
JC Turner Award for Outstanding Trades Unionist of the Year: Thomas Ratliff, Teamsters 639
COPE Awards: Roxana Mejia, Painters District 51; Larry Greenhill Sr., IBEW 26
Organizing Awards: Painters District 51; Mid-Atlantic Laborers
Golden Picket Sign Awards: Newspaper Guild 32035; OPEIU 2
Thomas M. Bradley Community Services Award: OPEIU Local 2/AFGE Community Services Committee
Outstanding Citizen/Ally: DC Jobs with Justice
2014 EVENING WITH LABOR AWARD WINNERS (detail)
JC Turner Award for Outstanding Trade Unionist of the Year: THOMAS RATLIFF, TEAMSTERS 639
Longtime Teamsters 639 President Tommy Ratliff has continued a tradition at his local of active organizing, hard bargaining and fights to the finish for good contracts and better working conditions for his members.
His persistence has paid off: a years-long strike and lock-out battle with Daycon – a local cleaning products company – not only resulted in a huge back-pay award for Teamsters members but a new contract in 2014.
Tommy ensures that his local is front and center during political campaigns, providing financial support and labor volunteers to support labor-endorsed candidates. He has also ensured consistent support for the Community Services Agency with money, bowling and golf teams, and good Teamster fans at Labor Night at the Nats. Teamsters national union President Hoffa has said, “We have to get very militant with some of these employers to say there's no shortcuts- our people have a right to a fair day's wage for a fair day's pay, and we've got to get that done. And that's going to happen.” Tommy Ratliff makes it happen for the members of Local 639.
Organizing Award: IUPAT DISTRICT 51 & LiUNA MID-ATLANTIC
Painters District Council 51 and the Mid-Atlantic Laborers have invested significant resources organizing in the immigrant community in recent years. Especially notable have been the Painters’ efforts at Tito Contractors and the Laborers’ work organizing concrete and asbestos workers and Montgomery County sanitation workers. Both unions have been tenacious in their efforts and have empowered workers to confront bosses who have stolen their wages or otherwise disrespected them.
Golden Picket Sign Award: CWA 32035-WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE NEWSPAPER GUILD & OPEIU 2
The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild 32035 and OPEIU 2 routinely make special efforts to turn their members out at the many picket lines, demonstrations and rallies that take place each year. Both locals have members at dozens of locations throughout the metro Washington area and have been very successful at utilizing social media to keep their members up to date on local activities as well as reporting on the actions after they occur.
Outstanding Ally Award: DC JOBS WITH JUSTICE
A dynamic coalition of labor organizations, community groups, faith-based organizations, and student groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just society, DC Jobs with Justice is an integral part of the metro area labor movement. Whether battling wage theft, fighting for injured workers and paid sick days or better transit, this scrappy group can always be counted on to take on the powers that be on behalf of local working men and women.
photos : Chris Garlock/Union City , except for Mid-Atlantic Laborers (top left) & OPEIU 2 (bottom left)
COPE Award: Roxana Mejia, IUPAT District 51 & Larry Greenhill Sr., IBEW 26
Roxana Mejia, as the Political Director for Painters District 51, has gone above and beyond in assisting the Council in its work primarily in our Maryland jurisdictions, including Annapolis during the Maryland General Assembly sessions. Working with staff and volunteers from DC 51, she consistently got members out to do labor walks in Prince George’s County, to attend rallies, staff phone banks and attend COPE meetings. She helped out in the Tri-County COPE area to leaflet Congressman Hoyer’s office on fair trade issues, and in support of keeping Social Security strong and free from cuts.
Larry Greenhill Sr., Vice President of IBEW Local 26, has worked in the labor movement for decades, and has come up with innovative ways to get union members from his local involved in COPE activities. Not only does he show up for COPE meetings, rallies, picket lines and labor walks but he brings Local 26 members of all ages with him. He has mentored members of his union and he has developed a political education program in support of the labor movement. With the AFL-CIO’s encouragement to union members across the country to run for political office, he took the plunge and ran for state assembly delegate in 2014. Although he did not win, Larry continues to promote labor’s agenda at every opportunity.
Thomas M. Bradley Community Services Award
OPEIU 2/AFGE COMMUNITY SERVICES COMMITTEE
From food, clothing and personal care item collections and distributions to local charities, to school supply drives for area needy children, to walking and raising money for causes, the OPEIU 2/AFGE Community Services Committee has truly demonstrated that “Labor Cares - Labor Shares”. Members of the committee, OPEIU 2 members and staffers at AFGE, also adopt families for CSA’s annual Holiday Basket project, collect food when asked to support strikes and lock-outs, and send members to CSA’s annual Labor Night at the Nats for fun and fundraising. They are an active and visible group which helps advance the interests of the labor movement in the community.
photo: Jos Williams and Fred Allen at the 2014 Evening With Labor; photo by Bill Burke/Page One