Growing advocacy group plans major rally ahead of hearing on US2 development
Somerville, MA – Somerville Stands Together, a community-labor coalition fighting for affordable housing, good jobs and responsible development, knocked hundreds of doors in a campaign to make sure Union Square won’t turn into another Assembly Row–where developers got rich and local residents got nothing but skyrocketing rents and worse traffic.
Volunteer canvassers shared with neighbors their plans for a major rally on Oct. 22, ahead of a public hearing on the proposed US2 development project in Union Square.
The message is simple: wealthy developers who seek to profit from Somerville’s red hot real estate market must support Somerville’s values and must provide meaningful community benefits.
Somerville Stands Together (SST) launched in April 2018 in response to a growing sentiment that Somerville is headed in the wrong direction. Since then, the coalition of labor, community and social justice groups has steadily gained momentum.
The group’s first campaign, holding Clarendon Hill developer Redgate accountable to provide both good homes and good jobs, was buoyed by the Massachusetts state legislature this summer. Lawmakers voted to require the developer to pay prevailing wages, so that workers who renovate and build Somerville housing can afford to live in Somerville.
Now SST is turning its focus to Union Square, urging elected officials to establish the following requirements for any development deal:
• City of Somerville tax dollars should only support developments that pay living wages and respect workers’ rights
• Affordable housing, built sooner, to safeguard residents from further displacement
• A union Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with US2 to ensure jobs for local residents high standards for safety and training; and career pathways for workers
• Empowering members of the community and increasing economic opportunity
• New neighborhood parks and sustainable ‘green’ building practices
• Allowing employees of new businesses in Union Square to have free and fair elections for collective bargaining
“We care about the future of Somerville, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said Virginia Hussey, Somerville resident and SST member. “Local elected officials need to make sure that ANY new development deals are good for Somerville residents, including working families, students and seniors–not just for the wealthy developers who stand to make hundreds of millions.”
Somerville Stands Together will hold a series of canvassing and outreach events to spread the word about the upcoming Oct. 22 public hearing on the proposed US2 Union Square development and the planned rally demanding elected officials build a Somerville that works for all of us.
Details of the rally:
Monday, Oct 22, 2018
4:00 PM Assemble and Rally in Union Square
7:00 PM Public Hearing on land transfer to US2
at Board of Aldermen meeting, City Hall
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 509, SEIU Local 888, and Teamsters Local 122.