By William Tauro
This past Thursday evening, the Somerville community groups joined forces to demand City Hall support working families, not out-of-town developers.
Somerville Stands Together, a coalition of community and labor groups committed to maintaining the city’s diversity and its history as a place where hardworking families can build a life and a community, held a Rally and March, a Kick Off of a Major City-wide Campaign for Good Jobs, Affordable Housing and Fair Contracts.
The march of hundreds of its supporting members as well as elected officials kicked off from Union Square that was followed by rally at City Hall.
Somerville Stands Together spoke with one voice, telling City Hall to stop siding with wealthy developers and stand up for good jobs that support local families. This diverse coalition of labor, community, and affordable housing groups has launched a major campaign to hold City Hall accountable for failing to uphold the city’s core values and support working people.
Somerville Stands Together rallied and marched to highlight a growing wave of discontent. Somerville’s political leadership that is headed in the wrong direction, away from the city’s core values.
After the march and rally at City Hall, community groups then attended the Somerville Board of Alderman Meeting that began that evening at 7pm.
Somerville Stands Together is calling on City Hall to focus on building a city that works for all of us. This means responsible development, affordable housing and fair wages.
Somerville Stands Together states that “Developers are making millions from Somerville building opportunities. Some developers even get tax breaks from the city. But these developers are paying low non-union wages, failing to hire local workers, and displacing longtime residents who built this city.”
“Local elected leaders must stop enabling these greedy businesses and stop balancing its budget on the backs of working people. Police officers, firefighters and other city workers—the backbone of Somerville’s middle class—have been without a contracts, and pay raises, for multiple years.”
“Our public employees don’t have contracts, but the city has the money for tax breaks for wealthy developers”, said Somerville resident Penelope Jennewein. “Meanwhile these developers are pricing out local families and paying their construction workers substandard wages. This is not the Somerville we love.”
Somerville Stands Together states that “Somerville residents are asking local elected officials to commit to the following:
— Invest in new and existing affordable housing, to safeguard residents against displacement.
— Ensure respect and fair contracts for our city’s municipal workers.
— Update and enforce Somerville’s existing fair labor ordinances.
— Allow employees to form unions and hold free and fair elections at businesses that are given tax breaks by the City of Somerville.
— Hire local and union labor on major construction projects to ensure high standards for safety and training and provide career pathways for workers.”
About Somerville Stands Together:
Somerville Stands Together is a coalition of community and labor groups committed to maintaining the city’s diversity and its history as a place where hardworking families can build a life and a community. Somerville must continue to uphold progressive principles, where everyone is welcome regardless of race, creed or orientation; and where creativity and innovation are part of the fabric of our city. Somerville stands for immigrant rights, quality education, LGBTQIA rights, racial and economic justice, green justice, affordable housing and workers’ rights.
The coalition includes AFSCME Local 274, Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, Firefighters Local 76, Good Jobs Somerville, Good Jobs, Strong Communities Coalition, Our Revolution – Somerville, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, Somerville Municipal Employees Association, SEIU Fireman & Oilers Local 3, SEIU Local 888, and Teamsters Local 122.