NEJB Announces 2017 Municipal and Special Election Endorsements

The New England Joint Board is proud to announce its endorsement of a group of candidates for elected public office who are committed to the values of our union. Once elected, these candidates will prioritize the issues important to working people and will stand strong against the attacks on the working class from wealthy corporate interests. Many of our endorsed candidates are themselves union members and two of them are NEJB members. Our endorsed candidates will lead their municipalities and districts towards a more progressive future.


  • Ed Charest (Chief Steward NEJB Local 431), Peabody City Council, Ward 4
  • Lydia Edwards (UAW Local 2320), Boston City Council, District 1
  • Michelle Wu, Boston City Council, At Large
  • Martin Walsh (LIUNA Local 223), City of Boston, Mayor
  • Daniel Rivera, City of Lawrence, Mayor
  • Tom McGee, City of Lynn, Mayor
  • Paul Feeney (IBEW Local 2222), State Senate, Bristol and Norfolk


  • Roger Gay (NEJB Local 406), Saco City Council, Ward 2


UNITE HERE Statement on DACA Termination

New York, NY – Donald Trump’s announcement today that Deferred Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) will be terminated in six months barring congressional intervention is an astounding act of political cowardice, and a missed opportunity to make a significant step towards comprehensive immigration reform. Donald Trump has passed the buck to Congress on what even he has acknowledged is a humanitarian crisis, because of his lack of political courage. Donald Trump, by failing to perform as a leader, has placed the fates of the 800,000 law abiding, tax-paying immigrant workers with DACA status in the hands of a dysfunctional Congress.

Textile Workers Picket Over Layoff Rule

Factory workers in Fair Haven Heights saved their pensions. Now they’re fighting for their jobs.

Nearly 100 unionized employees at the Lenox Street plant, which produces coated fabrics, are attempting to negotiate their first contract with a new boss. Trelleborg AB, a global engineering company headquartered in Sweden that employs 23,000 workers, acquired the factory from Uretek in November 2014.  (The New Haven plant also has 40 non-unionized employees.)

The new owners continued to operate under the three-year contract members of UNITE HERE Local 151 union had signed with Uretek. That agreement is set to expire next Friday, June 30. The parties have yet to come to an agreement about a key provision in what would be a new contract: when the company can initiate layoffs.

Unsure of their future, Duro workers picket in hopes of restoring jobs

FALL RIVER — The 157 workers laid off from Duro Textiles after their July vacation shut-down are still unsure of their fate.

“They say we’re one big family, but they left us high and dry,” said Erik Dopart, a maintenance mechanic for Duro for 31 years, and the local union president.
A group of workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 1208T and 1226T, started their Labor Day weekend by holding picket signs on Bay Street, between Duro’s facilities on Chace Street and Globe Mills Avenue, Friday morning.

Polartec is in trouble. Here’s a strategy that could save it

Its Polarfleece fabric, invented in 1979, was named one of the 20th Century’s Greatest Inventions by Time Magazine.But Polartecfaces an uncertain future. The company, then known as Malden Mills, grew rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s as the US military and the world’s leading brands of outdoor, athletic, and aerobic apparel discovered Polartec fabric technology’s ability to achieve exceptional performance and style.

NEJB Stands in Solidarity with Striking Verizon Workers

The New England Joint Board UNITE HERE stands in solidarity with the 40,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America at Verizon in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region who have been on strike since mid-April.


After almost a year’s worth of negotiations Verizon has refused to offer workers a fair contract, instead demanding major concessions in job security and working conditions. Central to the dispute is Verizon’s plan to close customer service centers to offshore work to overseas call centers. This would eliminate stable union jobs that support strong communities. Additionally, Verizon is demanding that workers agree to work hundreds of miles away from their homes for as long as two months at a time placing an undue strain on families.


Verizon is responding viciously to the strike by hiring thousands of strike breakers enticing them with extremely high hourly wages and orchestrating a high profile public relations campaign to smear the efforts of the courageous strikers.


Our brothers and sisters with the IBEW and CWA are taking a brave step in confronting the flagrant greed of corporate America. In these times, when working people are being vilified, attacked, and denigrated, we must stand by our fellow workers and fight to protect the middle class and the jobs that support our families and communities. This is a battle for the very soul of our society. Do we allow corporations to erode our quality of life and continue to promote inequality, or do we fight for a better future where everyone has access to opportunity? The 10,000 members of the New England Joint Board are ready to stand beside our striking brothers and sisters for a more just and equal society.


The New England Joint Board calls on our 10,000 members to support our brothers and sisters who are on strike at Verizon by taking the pledge to not cross picket lines at Verizon Wireless stores:

These Workers Are Fighting To Keep Your North Face Jacket From Being Made for Poverty Wages

When Saudia Durrant approached the manager at an REI store in Manhattan earlier this month to explain that Polartec, the company that makes much of the fabric that REI uses in their products, was closing their flagship production facility in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the manager listened attentively.

“I let her know that we’re there to represent the Polartec workers [in Lawrence] who are organizing to put pressure on Polartec to have a conversation about keeping Polartec in Lawrence, Massachusetts,” Durant told In These Times.

Durrant, who works for UNITE HERE in New York, was one of over 100 union members, including a number of workers from the Lawrence plant, who approached management at REI stores in 21 cities across the country last Wednesday to draw attention to the closing of the historic textile mill.


Polartec Workers Protest Fenway Snowboarding Event

Polartec workers and supporters protested Thursday evening at the Big Air at Fenway competition, a freeskiing and snowboarding event sponsored by their employer.

The workers were speaking out against the textile manufacturer’s decision to close its plant in Lawrence, leaving nearly 350 people without jobs, according to the Unite Here New England Joint Board, the union that represents Polartec employees.
Polartec, which makes fleece for apparel sold by Patagonia, L.L. Bean, and North Face, is relocating the work to plants in Hudson, N.H., and Tennessee, and plans to scale down operations in Lawrence over the next few years.

New England Joint Board Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Statement from Bert Barao, President of New England Joint Board UNITE HERE and tailor at Macy’s Department Store.


“Today I am proud to announce that the rank and file leaders of the Executive Board of the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE have unanimously voted to endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. It is a particularly proud moment for our union because he is our own Senator for the great state of Vermont. Over the years we have come to know Bernie as a relentless and unflappable fighter for workers. Bernie is the candidate who will put workers and their families first. In these times, where big banks, corporations, and the wealthy few hold enormous power over both our economy and political process, we are in desperate need of a President who will challenge the powers which have whittled down our middle class. Bernie’s pledge to fight inequality, take on the big banks, and spread opportunity to all Americans not just the few, resonates with our members.


Today we are answering Bernie’s call for a political revolution. Our 10,000 members in the six New England states and New York work hard every day to provide for their families by exercising their voice on the job. We will exercise our collective voice to ensure that our country is no longer ruled by big banks. We will stand together to fight corporate special interests and the job-killing trade deals that empower them. We will bring people together to achieve a debt-free higher education system, a healthcare system which values people instead of profits, and a strong social security system that will allow people to retire with dignity. We will work hard to elect Bernie Sanders the next President of the United States.”





The New England Joint Board UNITE HERE is the union representing 10,000 workers in the six New England states and New York in the textile, garment, manufacturing, laundry, distribution, human services, and food service industries. 

Workers Outraged After Company Announces Closing

LAWRENCE, MA – Polartec, one of the largest private employers in the city, announced on Thursday that it will be moving manufacturing out of Lawrence over the next 18 months affecting nearly 350 unionized workers. In a union membership meeting of Local 311 of the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE, workers expressed their outrage with the decision and vowed to fight to keep their jobs.


The union held a member meeting on Friday at the Portuguese American Club in Lawrence to share what little information the company has communicated to the union regarding the closure. Union leaders said that the company cited transportation and energy costs as key factors leading to the move and that they denied its recent purchase of a factory in Tennessee as motivating their decision. Polartec’s purchase of the Tennessee factory was followed by reassurances from the company that it would only serve to compliment operations in Lawrence. Given the recent news, many workers feel they were lied to and chalked the decision up to corporate greed. “They don’t seem to care about us or about Lawrence.”, said Carlos Alvarado, a Lawrence resident. “I’ve worked here for 26 years. There are no jobs like these in Lawrence anymore. What will people do to support their families?”


Nearly 350 union workers are employed at the textile mill, one of the last in a city once known as an industry center. Union leaders estimate that up to another 700 indirect jobs could be lost in the area due to Polartec’s closure. With an already high unemployment level, Polartec’s departure would be a crushing blow to the city.


News of the closing came on the 20th anniversary of the tragic Malden Mills fire when then CEO Aaron Feuerstein gained world fame for his generosity in keeping workers on payroll while the mill was rebuilt.  “In 1995, in the aftermath of the fire, the world’s eye was focused on Lawrence and the CEO who put people before profits.”, says Warren Pepicelli, Manager of the New England Joint Board of UNITE HERE, “Now, exactly 20 years to the day and 2 weeks before Christmas, Polartec is walking away from that legacy, from its workers, and from the City of Lawrence.”


Despite knowing little about the timeline of Polartec’s closure, workers left the meeting vowing to fight to defend their jobs and speak to their coworkers, neighbors, and elected officials. The textile workers would not accept yet another factory closing in Lawrence, especially one with such a storied past. As the union members filed out of the meeting hall each took the time to sign a large poster aptly exclaiming “Polartec Belongs in Lawrence.”