BWA Featured in Boston Globe

On the long road up, the past is close behind

Step off the bus and into the world of job-seekers determined to put early misdeeds behind them, the critical first step to getting right with life.


By Patricia Wen
SEPTEMBER 25, 2011

Second in a series of occasional articles chronicling the people, and the world, of Bus 19.

The young man stood outside a street corner office, near a shelter for drug-addicted prostitutes, a boarded-up natural herbs store, a Bus 19 stop. He had left home early that summer morning, crossing Dorchester to pick up his 4-year-old son and take him on a 3-mile bus ride to preschool, then returned home alone to get ready for this.

He’d put on a pressed blue shirt and an oversized Red Sox cap, and before heading off, grabbed the backpack in which he’d stuffed the papers he would need.

His resume. And a copy of his criminal record.

The easy part of Clayton’s journey was over. A longer road lay ahead, one he didn’t know how to travel alone.


CORI Ordinance Campaign Announcement

Boston Workers Alliance is announcing a new campaign to create opportunities for job seekers with CORI. The City of Boston in partnership with community organizations passed a landmark CORI ordinance in 2005. “The Ordinance Regarding CORI” was implemented to help individuals with criminal records apply to non-sensitive positions with businesses that have contracts with the city.

The City contracts for goods and services with thousands of vendors. The city does not screen for CORI for there non-sensitive positions (children, elderly, disabled, handling large amounts of money). These vendors should have similar hiring practices as the city.

While this policy is a national model that has proven to be helpful there is no enforcement process with this ordinance. Boston Workers Alliance wants to add teeth to the ordinance and develop a review process and sanctions if vendors are out of compliance.

If you or your organization wants to support us in this effort please contact Hakim Cunningham – Lead Organizer @ [email protected]

Join us to fight the good fight and help put a dent in the unemployment rate in Boston. For more info on this ordinance here is a link to the actual document.

Make Redistricting Fair - End Prison Based Gerrymandering

BWA is working to ensure that the Massachusetts Redistricting process is fair and transparent.  In particular, we are working to ensure that prisoners are correctly counted in their home districts instead of their place of incarceration.   See the video on how to adjust for this problem, and a statement prepared by the Black Empowerment Coalition on prison-based gerrymandering.

Testimony Against Prison-Based Gerrymandering and Solution Development


G.E. Pay Your Taxes!

On June 9, BWA participated in a rally in downtown Boston calling on General Electric to pay their taxes.  G.E. made over $11 billion and received a $3 billion refund.  They paid $0 in taxes.  Meanwhile, crucial programs for low income communities like ABCD are being cut.  We demand that American corporations pay their fair share to support the services and programs our communities need!

Participatory Budgeting Forum

come check out this exciting forum to hear from a city councilor in chicago whose residents democratically decided how to use $1.3 million of their tax dollars to improve their own neighborhood. participatory budgeting is happening across the globe, lets bring it from chicago to boston!


The Fund Our Communities/Cut Military Spending 25% Coalition invites you to learn about a PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING organizing initiative in Chicago.

Join us and hear CHICAGO ALDERMAN JOE MOORE in a lively dialogue on how community residents in Chicago’s 49th Ward collectively decided how to spend a $1.3 million discretionary budget in their district. Participatory budgeting offers residents decision-making power over their local budget.


BWA Announcements

BWA Announcements

2.  Weatherize Your Home!
3.  Help Create a Job - SoChange
4.  Fund Our Future Speak Out


SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION                   MARCH 15, 2011 (TUES)

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m. on the election days.

CERTIFIED CANDIDATES: Cornell Mills, Tito Jackson

The District Seven Councilor covers the following areas:

If you are not sure about whether you are in the City Councilor District Seven, go to; and put in your voting address to see which City Councilor District you reside in)

Today is Election Day - Help Spread the Word!

2.  Weatherize Your Home!

Save Money, Save Energy and Help Save the Planet!
BWA is launching a new initiative to weatherize hundreds of homes in the Boston area this year!

Weatherization means air sealing your homes and adding insulation to your walls.  We are fighting for the triple bottom line: the people, the environment, the economy

1.  People: weatherization will reduce your energy use, reduce your heating bills and make your homes more comfortable
2.  Environment: weatherization will reduce energy use to help combat global warming
3.  Economy:  weatherization can help create new green jobs strong enough to lift our communities out of poverty

Sign up for an initial informational phone call by filling out your information at the following link:

Free Funds for Weatherization:

Did you know that there are funds available to get your home weatherized?  If you are below 60% of medium income, you can access up to $10,000 of free work in your home.  If you are between 60% and 120% of medium income, you can access up to $3,500 in free weatherization work.  BWA can help you access these funds!  Sign up today!

3.  Help Create a Job - SoChange

BWA is organizing economic power! We have launched a page to create new jobs for our members. By showing businesses that we will support them for employing our members, we con convince more of them to do so. The Friendly Toast restaurant has agreed to hold their next entry level kitchen position for an ex-offender IF we can sell 50 gift certificates to show them we will support them for doing so. Join the BWA page and buy a certificate if you can. Lets improve our community one purchase at a time!

4.  Fund Our Future Speak Out

Schools, Heating Aid, State Budgets are all being cut.  But we need MORE in our community NOT LESS!

Join your neighbors and tell our elected officials to: Fund Our Future!

Join Us and Come Together this is about YOU!

Tuesday Mar. 22, 6pm - 8 pm
Hibernian Hall
182-184 Dudley Street, Roxbury

Meanwhile, call your State Rep and Senator today at 617-722-2000.

Ask them to support “An Act to Invest in Our Communities.”

This bill will help plug the state budget gap and make taxes fairer to working people in our neighborhoods for people like ME and YOU!

It is being introduced by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (Senate Docket 1012) and Rep. Jim O’Day (House Docket 2261).

For more info or to help, contact

617-265-7100 or [email protected]

617-282-3783 or [email protected].

Sponsored by:  Greater Boston Central Labor Council, Mass Senior Action, Boston DSA, New England United for Justice, One Massachusetts, Dorchester People for Peace, The Boston Coalition to Fund Our Communities-Cut Military Spending 25%, and Madison Park Development Corporation, Boston Workers Alliance



District 7, formerly represented by City Councilor Chuck Turner, is holding is preliminary elections Tuesday, Feb 15.

Be Seen and Be Heard! District 7 includes Roxbury and parts of South End, Fenway and Dorchester

The Vote on Tuesday, 2/15 will narrow the City Council candidates down to the final two. The final General Election will be on 3/15/11.

- Polls are open from 7am - 8pm
- Call the Boston Elections Commission if you have an issue at the polls or want to report irregularities: 617 635 3767

Who are the Candidates?

- Natalie Carithers, Dorchester
- Althea Garrison, Boston
- Tito Jackson, Dorchester
- Cornell Mills, Roxbury
- Roy Owens, Roxbury
- Danielle Renee Williams, Roxbury
- Haywood Fennell, Boston, write-in candidate


D7 Polling Locations

(note location changes for Ward 4: Precincts 5 + Precinct 8)

Find your polling location w your Name and DOB:

Or Find your Ward and Precinct with your address:


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

Welcome to the Boston Workers Alliance

  • BWA Featured in Boston Globe
  • Green Your Home!
  • Boston Staffing Alliance featured in Herald
  • Governor Signs CORI Reform into Law

Green Your Home!

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