Labor Guild holds 37th annual awards dinner

Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley joined nearly 1,000 other people in attending the 37th annual Cushing-Gavin Awards dinner on Nov. 14 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. The archdiocesan Labor Guild, an ecumenical organization that supports the work of labor-relations practitioners, sponsors the dinner and presents awards annually to labor-relations professionals working in the Greater Boston area.

"It was another wonderful evening," said Father Edward F. Boyle, SJ, chaplain and director of the Labor Guild. "The recipients were articulate, enthusiastic, grateful and humble in receiving the award and acknowledging that they depend on their coworkers to help them do their work."

It is important to recognize the efforts of those in the labor-management field because “almost all of the advances in the work place culture — pension, fringe benefits, health insurance — came out of the labor-management sector,” Father Boyle continued. “It is that sector that gives workers an effective voice.”

The relationship between workers and management can be at times “adversarial,” he said, which makes it essential to have “bridge building” events, such as the awards dinner. The Labor Guild, in conjunction with the archdiocese, has sponsored the awards dinner since 1967.

This year’s recipients were:

Robert Banks of Scituate. Banks is the past president, business agent and director of apprentice training for Iron Workers Local 7. He is currently the director of a new Joint Labor-Management Safety Committee for the New England region. He is also the founder of the Boston Marathon Run for Research and for the American Liver Foundation.

David Grafton of Norwell. Grafton is the 2003 award recipient representing "neutrals" or third-party agencies in the labor relations field. He has worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the past 13 years. He is currently the special assistant to the OSHA regional director.

Attorney John O'Reilly of Framingham. Senior partner with the firm O'Reilly, Grosso and Gross, O'Reilly serves as corporate secretary and counsel for the labor relations division of the Construction Industries of Massachusetts, representing heavy highway contractors and trustees of numerous joint labor-management benefit programs.

Virginia Tisei of West Roxbury. Tisei, the 2003 management awardee, currently serves as the director of labor relations for the Boston public schools, servicing 13,000 employees. She previously served as director of labor relations for the city of Boston. She is the past president of both the Massachusetts Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and the West Roxbury Neighborhood Council.

Recipients of the Cushing-Gavin Awards come from a wide cross section of the labor and management arenas. Labor relations specialists from companies such as Boston Edison and Raytheon, labor activists from New England Regional Labor Councils and international unions, arbitrators and staff of organizations suchas the United Way have been among those recognized in the past.