Since 2005, the BWA has grown into a powerful grassroots force, challenging the crisis of urban joblessness and fighting for social and economic justice. As a small community based organization, we thank you, our broad community of supporters who have helped us come this far! In 2012, BWA’s membership and community base continued to expand, while the organization took on new and exciting projects to advance our mission.
BWA’s 2012 Highlights
1. CORI Reform Becomes Law: After working to pass nationally recognized CORI reforms, BWA celebrated the implementation of the new laws on May 4, 2012. BWA hosted the “CORI Celebration and Sealing Day,” where over 350 residents came to the Dudley Library to take advantage of the new law and purge their past criminal records. Without CORI reform, hundreds of thousands of residents would still be suffering from old CORIs. (www.vimeo.com/41963738)
2. Boston Staffing Alliance (BSA): BWA’s innovative staffing agency helped place over 55 people in temporary and temp-to-permanent positions in 2012. BSA is a non-profit temp agency that values its workers and provides critical pathways to permanent employment for our members. BSA expanded its placement areas, ranging from light construction to food service sectors. (www.BostonStaffingAlliance.org)
3. Economic Justice Organizing: As a Steering Committee member of MassUniting and Right to the City Alliance, BWA helped advance economic justice organizing in the streets. Over 1,500 people took over downtown Boston for the April 17 Tax Day Action, calling attention to the multi national corporations that are dogding taxes, corrupting our politics and bankrupting our communities. (http://youtu.be/ps11T8dovk0)
4. Jobs and CORI Support: BWA’s Worker Center, open Mon-Thurs 10-2pm helped over 600 people with employment and CORI services. Hundreds got help with their resumes and job searches and hundreds more received help in requesting and sealing their CORI records. (http://youtu.be/2_YwPrF7cr0)
5. Voter Engagement: 20+ BWA members led a non-partisan voter outreach campaign, knocking on over 6,500 doors in Grove Hall and increasing voter turnout to its highest levels in recent history. BWA also helped start the Massachusetts Voter Table, which collectively made over 104,000 voter contacts in MA. And with Right to the City VOTE!, BWA helped draft and pass the Budget for All Referendum in Boston, calling for taxation of the 1%, cutting military spending, and investing in jobs and vital services for our communities! (http://budget4allmass.org)
6. Green Living: BWA’s Urban Garden project trained new families in gardening skills and produced free organic vegetables for our members.
7. Worker Cooperatives: Over 15 BWA members attended the national US Worker Cooperative Conference. BWA’s first worker-owned cooperative Roxbury Green Power partnered with MassCOSH to revamp the co-op into a Black and Latino run recycling company called CERO (Cooperative Energy, Recycling and Organics) for relaunch in 2013. BWA and MassCOSH members began a 14 week Co-op Academy training and hired a new startup manager.
8. Construction Jobs Campaign: BWA helped launch a new citywide coalition, dedicated to winning policy changes and community benefit agreements for women, people of color, and Boston residents in the building trades. As Boston expects billions of dollars in new construction, over 20 organizations have joined the coalition and are poised to change the face of the construction industry in Boston for years to come.
9. Economic Democracy: Working with Right to the City, BWA is advancing a new narrative to help ‘Take Back Boston’ and propel innovative policies that bring economic power into the hands of the 99%. BWA members have worked to popularize Participatory Budgeting, a process where residents can vote on the use of our tax dollars to ensure that public funds are spent to effectively benefit our neighborhoods. (www.participatorybudgeting.org)
10. Criminal Justice Organizing: BWA members continued to organize against the criminal justice system and fight for Jobs Not Jails in our communities. BWA coordinated a 400+ person rally and lobby day against the 3-Strikes Law at the State House. BWA members also launched a campaign to add enforcement teeth to the City of Boston’s CORI Ordinance, which requires all city vendors to adopt CORI friendly hiring policies. And BWA members met with EPOCA members to plan a new prison reform campaign for 2013-14. (http://youtu.be/sPBM0aFfCDg)
11. Community Building: BWA held its annual membership events, including a very successful Juneteenth Cook-Out at Franklin Park, and our Annual Holiday Party and Gift Drive, where we gave out over 80 presents to the children of our members!
12. Leadership Transition: After almost 8 years, BWA’s founding executive director Aaron Tanaka transitioned out of his staff position. The BWA board hired Chuck Wynder as the new director of the organization. BWA recognized Aaron’s investment, vision and skill in helping to build BWA as a powerful member-led organization. BWA welcomed Chuck as an exciting and experienced leader to help move the organization into its next phase of growth and impact. BWA celebrated this change, and our members, board and staff at our annual Celebration & Fundraiser! (www.bostonworkersalliance.org/?p=1630)
As a grassroots organization, we thank the hundreds of BWA members and allies who have volunteered their time, money and energy to build our movement. We ask for your ongoing support as we approach a pivotal year of economic justice organizing. With our many partners across the city and state, we look forward to growing a more powerful movement for social and economic justice in 2013!
- Consider making a year end donation to support our critical work: http://tinyurl.com/bwa-support
- Join Boston Workers Alliance on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/bwa-FB
BWA Staff: Chuck Wynder, Hakim Cunningham, Mirembe Asamoah, Danielle Williams, Prenell Sanders, Sunni Ali, Samantha Akwei
BWA Board: Suezanne Bruce, Al Copeland, Angela Yarde, Timothy Hall, Terri Hinton, Winston Jankee, Tracy Parks, Joel Pierre