massachusetts labor movement

Mayor Walsh Speaks at Socially Distanced Labor Day Rally in Boston

Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston will keep fighting to protect all workers, and not just on Labor Day.

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It was a different kind of Labor Day in Massachusetts. Instead of an indoor breakfast amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there was a drive-in rally at the Boston Convention Center where Mayor Marty Walsh was the keynote speaker.

Organizers of the rally -- being called "Workers Rally for a Just Recovery” -- said those attending would remain socially distanced, staying in their cars during the event, which also featured a short labor film.

Members of the Massachusetts Labor Movement say it's never been more important to show up and stand up for their rights.

They say COVID-19 has only highlighted the need for hazard pay and paid sick time for all essential workers.

There were some of the faces from the front lines in the crowd Monday.

"Being a nurse for 46 years I can tell you this is the scariest time I've ever had to face," said Donna Kelley-Williams of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

For Kelley-Williams, it's about being prepared for the second wave of the virus.

"And we're all vying for the same PPE right now," she said.

For Merrie Najimy of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, it's about being prepared for the fall.

"How we're going to get to redesign of education, how we're going to pay for it, how we're going to have childcare for our working families," she said.

Walsh says he is listening but his keynote speech Monday focused on criticizing President Donald Trump.

"It's enough to say in Americas time of need he not only failed us but he undermined our efforts he cant do his job and he’ll never be able to do it 

Regardless of who is in the White House, Mayor Walsh says Boston will keep fighting to protect all workers, and not just on Labor Day.

"We’ll continue to listen to workers in every industry to get people back to work safely. That’s what we have to do and I'm going to partner with you on that," he said.

A labor rally will be held at the Boston Convention Center Monday. It's one of three rallies throughout th

The Boston event was not the only one in the state this Labor Day. Workers also rallied in Springfield and New Bedford.

In New Bedford, there was a 10:30 a.m. rally at the high school in which participants remained in their cars. In Springfield, union and labor groups held a rally outside of city hall and asked residents to bring a non-perishable food item for donation.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people out of work across the country. The unemployment rate in Massachusetts is among the highest in the nation at 16.1% in July, compared to the national average of 10.2%.

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