44th Evening with Labor: Voices & Acknowledgments
Some 800 metro-area union leaders, members and their supporters turned out for the 44th Evening with Labor on March 3, 2023 (CLICK HERE for our album of photos). The annual event celebrates exceptional leaders in the labor movement.
“When I first received the call saying that I was going to be receiving an award, I honestly said ‘Oh, 689 is getting an award?’” said Raymond Jackson, ATU 689 President and Business Agent and the Trade Unionist of the Year awardee, who was joined on stage by leaders and members from his local, as well as John Costa, ATU International President, as he accepted the award on behalf of his union and then led the delegation in a chant of “Who moves this region? We move this region!”
Moments of silence were observed for former AFL-CIO President Tom Donahue, DC CLUW’s Donna Brockington, and ATU 689 member Robert Cunningham, who “was killed last month protecting a woman on the Metro,” noted Father Brian Jordan, OFM, who delivered the evening’s fiery invocation.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks welcomed the attendees, saying “You've endured the changing tides and you have risen together, and it's because you stay true to your mission in stressful times. It's easy to splinter and go your own way or get swept away by feelings of hopelessness, but you have continued to do what you've always done; you band together even tighter, and you continue seeking fairness and dignity for working people, and you provide the work that is the backbone of our country.”
“Politics are personal,” said Kayla Mock of UFCW 400, which won an Organizing Award. “It's personal to workers who want to organize for better wages and to keep food on the table and the lights on. It's personal to workers who are bargaining with their employer for better access to wages and retirement with dignity. It's personal to people who work full-time and are homeless and it's personal to workers who are facing gun violence in their stores.”
“During COVID, when everybody was sitting home trying to figure out how to get work done,” said Michael Spiller from OPEIU Local 2, which won an Organizing Award, “Local 2 said ‘there's a new group of people out there that we need to organize...and over the past two and a half years we've organized 15 nonprofits in the DC area.”
“We are excited to start negotiating our first contract with the Shakespeare Theater, after we have just signed a contract with the Signature Theater, where we saw double digit increases for our workers in the first year,” reported Nick Arancibia, IATSE 22 Vice President, another Organizing Award winner. “We would not be here without the enthusiasm of our unrepresented brothers, sisters, and kin who stand up and are joining with Local 22 to fight for representation and a better way of life after a global pandemic that has shut down our entire industry overnight.”
Even though hotel and restaurant workers were hit hard by the pandemic, “What I know about our workers is that they are resilient,” said Sam Epps, Political Director UNITE HERE 25, accepting a COPE Award. “We are coming back, and coming back stronger. We have workers who are now organizing, who want to organize other workers into the union. And so I certainly share this award with our workers at Local 25.”
“We are healthcare workers and as many of you know, we are dealing with short-staffing in all of our facilities from hospitals to long-term care facilities,” said Ricarra Jones, SEIU 1199 MD/DC Political Director, accepting a COPE award. “Yet the people on this stage knew how important the general election was, and they took time from their jobs, they took time from their families to make sure they went out and knocked over a hundred thousand doors.”
ATU 689 also won a COPE Award, “We are honored and will keep up the hard work for the working class.”, said Derrick Nabors of ATU 689.
The final COPE Award went to AFSCME Maryland Council 3, “From Garrett County all the way to Worcester County, these are the people that make Maryland happen,” said Pat Moran, President, AFSCME Maryland Council 3.
“We are deeply grateful for this recognition, representing our commitment to supporting and collaborating with our fellow labor unions in our community,” said PGCEA President Donna L. Christy, Ph.D., ABSNP, accepting the Outstanding Ally Award, “We all play a critical role in advocating for workers' rights, promoting economic security and ensuring that everyone has access to safe and dignified working conditions.”
“Anyone who knows me knows that community service is near and dear to my heart,” said Thomas M. Bradley Community Services Award-winner, Ottis Johnson Jr., National Vice President, AFGE District 14, “But let me tell you, this award may have my name on it, but none of this would have been possible without the members of the mighty AFGE Fighting 14th!”
Joslyn N. Williams Vanguard Award-winner Chuck Clay (IATSE 22) said that “the power of unionism is in its members and its members standing boldly together to support each other in the cause of trade unionism. Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong.” Added UNITE HERE 25 John Boardman, who also won a Vanguard Award added “I leave you with three words: organize, organize, organize!”
Special thanks to our sponsors for their support (CLICK HERE to view/download the EWL program book): Gold Sponsors: AFGE District 14 * AFSCME Maryland * ATU * ATU 1300 Nuclear Powers Maryland IAFF 36 * IAM * IBEW 26 * Regan Associates SEIU 722 * SEIU1199 United Healthcare Workers East Steamfitters 602 (UA) * Teamsters 639 * UFCW 400 UNITE HERE 25; Silver Sponsors: ATU 689 * IATSE 22 * NAGE; Bronze Sponsors: APWU Baltimore/Washington Construction & Public Employees, Laborers' District Council, LiUNA! Kaiser Permanente * MD State and DC AFL-CIO Murphy Anderson PLLC * NoVA Labor O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue * PILMA Plumbers Local 5 * UFCW (IU)
We were honored to be joined by the following political leaders: Maryland Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller and Second Gentleman David Miller; Maryland Secretary of Labor Portia Wu; Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown; Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; Prince George’s County Council Member District 8 Edward P. Burroughs III; Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich; Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones; Metropolitan Baltimore Council President Courtney Jenkins; Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO President Donna S. Edwards; Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis; Maryland Democratic Party Vice Chair Everett Browning; DC City Council Chair Phil Mendelson.
Click here for the Evening with Labor photobooth
Report by Chris Garlock; photos by Yusef Jones
JC Turner Award For Outstanding Trade Unionist of the Year winner Raymond Jackson, ATU 689 with MWC President Dyana Forester.
CLICK HERE for our album of photos from Evening with Labor!
And CLICK HERE to view/download the EWL program book; thanks again to all our sponsors!
44th Annual Evening with Labor:
Enduring the Tides, We Rise
Friday March 3, 2023
7400 Greenway Center Dr, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Join the Metro Washington Labor Council AFL-CIO and our affiliates for an evening to celebrate our exceptional leaders in the labor movement. As we have worked to recover from the pandemic, unions have been the voice for all workers in unprecedented times. As we work to reopen our cities and rebuild our economy, Labor has ramped up our efforts to organize to ensure all workers have representation in their workplace and dignity on the job. Union members have taken courageous actions to strike when denied quality-of-life benefits such as paid sick leave and living wages. In addition to these efforts, our rank-and-file union members have mobilized to the polls during a historic election season. For these reasons, we pause from the fight to recognize and celebrate our union leaders.
Our work is often incremental but significant and cause for celebration. Join us to honor our awardees.
6:00-7:00 PM: Registration + Open Bar
7:00-8:30 PM: Award Dinner
8:30-10:00 PM: Mix and Mingle
JC TURNER AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING TRADE UNIONIST OF THE YEAR
UFCW Local 400
UNITE HERE Local 25
1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers
2022 Member-to-Member Program
2022 Member to Member Program
AFSCME District Council 3
2022 Member to Member Program
THOMAS M. BRADLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES AWARD
Ottis Johnson Jr.
AFGE District 14
JOSLYN N. WILLIAMS VANGUARD AWARD
UNITE HERE 25
OUTSTANDING ALLY AWARD
Prince George’s County Educators' Association
Become an Evening with Labor Sponsor
Sponsors make this event possible. See all available sponsorship levels.
Contact [email protected] with any questions about sponsorship.
Purchase individual tickets
Prefer to attend as an individual? Purchase tickets on Eventbrite:
Note: Individual tickets come with unassigned seating.
44th Annual Evening with Labor Chairs