Letters to the Editor

Yes to the Community Center

To the Editor,

I was so pleased to read that the possibility of a community center is being considered and hopefully proposed for Chelsea. Oh, yes, YES. 

After reading the article and seeing that a parking garage is the ‘competition’ for a center I could only then ask the following:

For whom is this project being proposed? For the multitudes of Chelsea residents who are presently looking for classes and meeting space, areas to connect and create? Or is it for others and their cars? And why would they be considered a priority?

I know how it is to drive around the block a few times looking for a parking space. But oh, how willing I would be to do that if I knew that at the other end there would be a place where I could teach or take a class, practice a dance and share my life.

Stacy Amaral

Airport Workers Need a Strong Voice

To the Editor,

The rise in labor organizing across the country, including here in the Bay State has highlighted the growing power of organized labor. The Labor Action Tracker maintained by students and faculty from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University shows 248 locations, as of writing, where labor organizing activity is taking place. The pandemic has exposed the exploitation of working class folks and their value as humans who keep society running.

Airlines, like many industries, are experiencing understaffing issues in their operations. Delays and cancellations connected to crew understaffing as a result of the pandemic and increased flights have taken a toll on airline crewmembers around the country, including those working at Logan. Many of these workers live minutes away in Chelsea, East Boston, and Revere. Airline crewmembers and other airport employees stationed at Logan are often forced to stay past their scheduled shifts in what is known in the industry as a “mandatory shift freeze or extension.” These “shift extensions” are often put into place so frontline crew members, for example, can rebook and accommodate customers on canceled flights or during irregular operations. Employee morale is low as a result, and that is compounded by their already low pay, particularly to workers without the protection of a labor union. Airport workers need a strong voice from both Beacon Hill and a labor union to stand up on their behalf and elected representatives from the three mentioned communities play a critical role in addressing worker injustices happening at Logan and holding Massport accountable.  

The rights of organized labor and union activity at our nation’s airports have never recovered from the late President Ronald Regan’s termination of striking air traffic control employees and the breaking of their union in 1981. In the post-9/11 era, picketing and other organizing activity at terminals is even harder, requiring permits from Massport. The power of the labor movement in the aviation industry has been relatively anemic for years, but that is starting to change with heightened activity from SEIU 32BJ, the Transportation Workers Union, the Association of Flight Attendants, and Boston’s Local 26. The pandemic has created a new push for organized labor throughout the service industries.

Starbucks workers in multiple locations around the country have been organizing and, in many cases, have voted in favor of unionization, including two stores located on Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Street. The vote of Amazon workers on Staten Island to form a union is another example of the impact organized labor is having on the country and how workers are finally standing up and fighting back against workplace exploitation. 

Karl Celis

Lifelong Chelsea

resident, airport worker, graduate social

work student at

Boston University

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