BWA Year in Review

Since 2005, the Boston Workers Alliance has developed as a powerful grassroots organization, dedicated to fighting for the economic rights of under- and unemployed workers.  Thanks to our dedicated membership and many supporters, 2010 has been a pivotal year for the BWA.  After 5+ years of work, the BWA fulfilled our organization’s two founding goals: 1) pass statewide CORI reforms, and 2) launch a CORI friendly temp agency.

As we reflect on our accomplishments and look towards a new year, please consider making a contribution to help sustain the BWA.  As a grassroots organization, we depend on the support of our community to maintain our vital social change efforts.  No amount is too little - consider lending a hand by making a donation today!

BWA Top 10 Highlights of 2010:

1.  CORI Reform Passes - BWA helped lead a 5+ year statewide campaign to win historic reforms to the CORI system.  Massachusetts is now the 2nd state in the country to remove the CORI question from all initial job applications.  Non-convictions, as well as cases over 10 years old will no longer be used in hiring decisions.  Massachusetts’ landmark reforms are now considered a progressive model for states across the country.  []

2.  Boston Staffing Alliance launch - After years of planning and fundraising, the BWA launched the state’s first social purpose, non profit temp agency.  In its first year of operations, the BSA has helped place over 20 members in CORI friendly, temporary and temp-to-perm assignments.  BSA hopes to expand its customer base of socially responsible employers in the coming year.  []

3.  US Social Forum - As a movement building organization, BWA participated in the Northeast Freedom Rides this summer to the US Social Forum in Detroit.  8 BWA members represented BWA at the week-long conference of over 15,000 activist and organizers from across the country.  BWA members received recognition from ex-prisoners groups across the US for our work on CORI.  []

4.  Green Justice Coalition - As a steering committee member of the Green Justice Coalition, BWA helped win a $1.4 billion investment from utility companies into the mass weatherization of our homes.  Home weatherization reduces energy use, heating bills and global warming pollution while stimulating a new green jobs economy.  BWA also helped place over 22 people in green jobs trainings or employment this year.  []

5.  Roxbury Green Power (RGP) - BWA’s first worker-owned cooperative grew its revenue and community presence.  RGP collects waste vegetable oil from over 25 restaurants and recycles the oil for use as a green biofuel.  RGP is a democratically run co-op that is owned and operated by 3 BWA members.  RGP seeks new oil pickup contracts for 2011. []

6.  BWA Worker Center - Over 600 people received direct services from BWA’s walk-in center, including CORI reading and sealings, job readiness training, resume assistance and job placements.  BWA’s Worker Center has become a vital space for Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan residents who seek resources to improve their personal economic positions.

7.  Community Gardening - BWA ran a volunteer community garden for the second year, providing free garden space and training for our membership.  Members received hundreds of pounds of free organic produce, while preparing to sell food at a new farmer’s market in Grove Hall next year.

8.  Community Building - BWA hosted a major celebration and fundraiser, bringing over 250 supporters together for a spirited dinner party.  BWA recognized key CORI reform allies including EPOCA, Neighbor to Neighbor, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Mass Law Reform Institute and Councilor Chuck Turner for their roles in the CORI victory.

9.  Holiday Give Back - BWA board and members organized our second annual holiday gift-drive and party.  Featuring our own black Santa Claus, over 35 BWA children received free gifts this year in a large community dinner celebration for BWA members.

10.  Voter Engagement - BWA led a major voter outreach effort this year to build the political power of our community.  BWA members knocked on over 4,500 doors in Grove Hall and had conversations with over 2,100 residents about the danger of the 3 ballot questions.  BWA increased voter turnout in its targeted precincts by 7.8%, making 2010 the highest voter turnout for a governor’s election in recent Grove Hall history.  []

We are proud of our work and thank our broad community of supporters who helped advance our campaigns and kept our doors open.  With your ongoing support, we look forward to growing the breadth and impact of the BWA in 2011.

On behalf of the members, board and staff, happy new year from the Boston Workers Alliance!

Aaron Tanaka, Executive Director

Stanley Porter Sr., Board Chair

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