Letter of Endorsement from Joe Uehlein


I'm proud to share a letter of endorsement from Joe Uehlein founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability


Dear Brother or Sister:

As one trade unionist to another, I'm writing to let you know why I'm supporting Bob Massie for Governor of Massachusetts.  

I'm the former Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department, and former Director of the AFL-CIO's Center for Strategic Campaigns.  My career began when I walked into an aluminum mill in Central Pennsylvania almost 50 years ago and joined the United Steelworkers.   

Bob Massie will be a ferocious fighter for the rights and well-being for working people in Massachusetts.  I can say that with absolute confidence because I've known Bob for over 25 years.   Labor rights and economic justice, racial and gender equality, and human rights and worker leadership are not issues of convenience for Bob, as sadly they often are for many politicians.  In college in the 1970s, Bob was a leading student activist for the rights of textile workers at the JP Stevens company, for South African divestment, and for women’s rights on campus.

In the 1980s Bob worked as research director for Big Business Day – an alliance of national unions, environmental, consumer, and religious groups -- where he worked closely with the leaders of AFSCME, UFCW, SEIU, building trades and other unions.  He has edited or authored five books, including an anthology on corporate power.  Bob has also served as a professor at Harvard, teaching courses on social justice movements, in which he educated his students about the vital role that unions have played in the US and around the world in mobilizing workers and drafting bold agendas for structural change. 

In 1994, after being endorsed by the Mass AFL-CIO, Bob won the Democratic primary and became the party nominee for lieutenant governor.  Though he lost the general election, the experience helped to deepened his reputation as a bold fighter for labor rights.  

I'm a founding member of the board of Ceres, the powerful and effective coalition of labor leaders, environmental activists, and institutional investors.  I was there when, in 1996, Bob became the executive director.  Under his leadership, Ceres became a critical national and international force in mobilizing pension funds and other large pools of capital to push back on corporate power.

I was also there in 1997 when Bob conceived of and launched the Global Reporting Initiative and recruited two major international labor leaders (GRI), an international system of sustainability standards, including measuring and reporting on labor and human rights practices.  Bob then recruited Barbara Shailor, the director of International Affairs for the AFL-CEO, and Anita Normark of Sweden, General Secretary of Building and Woodworkers International, to serve on the first board.

In the 2000s, Bob successfully fought back a tough assault by Shell Oil and other powerful multinationals who were trying to exclude labor from the standard setting body.  It would have been easy to ignore, or jettison, labor's voice, but Bob's personal values and commitments always insured that the voice of organized labor was represented and respected. 

As a result, for the last 20 years, labor has been recognized as a distinct category with its own representatives in the standard-setting process, which in turn has assured that labor’s unique concerns are incorporated at every step of the creation and distribution of the global standards.

In 2002 Bob created the Investor Network on Climate Risk and played a major role bringing together many of the largest union and public pension funds in the country to fight for a national transition to clean energy and new jobs. 

In 2007 Bob joined the board of my organization, the Labor Network for Sustainability. In 2012 he walked the picket line with Verizon strikers in Springfield and, more recently, for the Mass Nurses Association in their dispute with Tufts Medical Center.  

Bob is also a dues-paying member of the National Writers Union, which is also Union Local 1981 of the United Auto Workers.   His wife, Professor Anne Tate, is the secretary of her faculty union at the Rhode Island School of Design.  These are not memberships of convenience – they earned those union cards.  He is a strong supporter of Our Revolution and Bernie Sanders and would bring his deep commitment to working families into every aspect of serving as governor.  

This list could go on, but you get the point ~ Bob is one of us.

We are living in a rare moment of populist sentiment and anger and for good reason.  Don't make the mistake we made in Maryland last year when labor, and the Democratic Party, had the chance to endorse an accomplished, passionate fighter for social justice, labor rights, and environmental rights.  Instead, we endorsed the Democratic Party insider - someone tried, true, and boring.  As a result, we now have a Republican Governor. This is a time to challenge existing assumptions and take on the deepening injustices of our economy and our nation.   Bob Massie is that candidate.   You have a critical chance to embrace new leadership.  Please seize it! 

And take it from me, today, tomorrow, and into the future you will be able to place your lasting trust in Bob to represent the working people of Massachusetts.  His passion and courage will not waver in the campaign or during his time of office.  By guiding Massachusetts into a path that not only resists Trump but moves us forward into the economy of the future, Bob will have a powerful impact not only on the state but on the country as well.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or comments to joeuehlein@mac.com~ I am more than happy to talk at any time.

Yours in solidarity,