After COVID-19 laid bare the comprehensive cruelty of the conditions that many working class Americans are subjected to, organized labor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and across the country has taken action to demand a fair deal from employers.

Last past month was dubbed by labor activists as "Striketober" to mark labor union strikes occurring at major companies across all industries, including John Deere, Kellogg's, Hollywood, and many others. The pandemic has left these essential workers exhausted from being relentlessly overworked and underpaid in the midst of a global pandemic and due to the historically high demand for laborers, working class Americans are in a unique position of leverage.

A microcosm of this phenomenon has been seen on the SouthCoast for some time. Thanks a strong showing of solidarity and resolve, New Bedford Public School Paraprofessionals and the steelworkers of USW Local 137 were able to hold the line with their employers and negotiate a fair deal for their workers.

Meanwhile, the Mass Nurses Association continues to work towards better working conditions in hospitals on the SouthCoast and across the Commonwealth. This includes the nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, who are participating in the longest active strike in the U.S.

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Recently, I was joined on-air by Lisa Lemieux and Jim Pimentel, President and Regional Vice President, respectively, of the Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council. Along with discussing Striketober, we discussed important developments in local labor, such as legislation currently making its way through Beacon Hill aimed at combating wage theft, and the need for local labor representatives to have a seat at the table when it comes to discussing how each municipality will spend its relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act.

You can listen to the full conversation here:

Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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