By William Tauro
This past Tuesday over one hundred Somerville Municipal Employees Association (SMEA) service workers held a rally in Statue Park Plaza in Davis Square.
The large group all wore red t-shirts with writing on the back reading “In Unity There Is Strength” as they gathered and demonstrated in unity for Dignity, Justice and Respect in the workplace.
Somerville Mayoral Candidate Payton Corbett, Ward 1 Alderman Matt McLaughlin, Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang and Aldermen-at-Large Dennis Sullivan, William White, and Jack Conolly as well as Ward 4 Alderman Candidate Jesse Clingan also took part in the rally holding signs and wearing red t-shirts supporting the group.
SMEA members work as School Nurses, Librarians, Custodians, Clerks, Laborers and many other job titles for the Dept. of Public Works, Traffic and Parking, City Hall, Recreation, Inspectional Services, and Health Dept. and many other city departments.
“We are proud of the work we do to keep the city running efficiently,” said SMEA President Ed Halloran. “Yet over the past decade our members have seen the steady erosion of their wages. Most of our members earn only low to moderate salaries, and now many can no longer afford to remain in the city where they were raised.” “The Mayor’s administration continues to oppose any major wage increase for our membership and has not addressed the ongoing housing crisis that affects all of us,” Halloran continued. “Less than half of the members of the SMEA now live in the City of Somerville. It’s simply tragic that our members are leaving the city for other communities that they can afford.”
The crowd was even chanting several times “Shame on the mayor and shame on the administration” in disgust.
SMEA members and other city employees rallied to urge the city to invest in its employees though higher and more competitive wages and better health insurance coverage.
All union members, friends and family were encouraged to attend to show solidarity for the good jobs and quality services the community needs!