Beth’s Corner: Celebrating and Uplifting All Workers Ahead of Labor Day

Beth Chandler
Beth's Corner Blog Graphic

First, let me congratulate Tanisha Sullivan, President of the NAACP Boston, on a successful 114th National Convention. The event was held in Boston for the first time since 1982. Throughout the week, attendees participated in important discussions and policy sessions that will inform the NAACP’s work going forward. 

Second, as we approach Labor Day, let’s remember the history of the day and what it represents. Labor Day celebrates the people who campaigned tirelessly for workers’ rights in the labor movement of the late 19th century. Their hard-fought wins are the reason for many of the rights we enjoy and take for granted today, such as a 40-hour work week, child labor laws, safe work conditions, paid time off and sick leave. Those workers saw that there could be no freedom and liberty in this country without economic freedom for the working class.

While many gains have been made for workers, one group continues to fight for their rights and visibility within organizations. That group is front line workers. Our Front and Center Report, released in February of this year, focused on hourly and frontline workers of color with marginalized gender identities. Our research revealed that, overwhelmingly, these workers feel unsafe, excluded, and shut out of conversations about career advancement, highlighting the importance of investing in all staff, prioritizing diversity and inclusion, uplifting the voices of those typically silenced, and making sure that these workers have a seat at the table.  

One way to ensure that all workers have a place at the table is through legislation.  YW Boston, with the support of the Parity on Board coalition, is leading the effort to get An Act to Promote Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions passed. This bill asks for transparency, data collection, and reporting of public board and commission membership in order to disclose the inequities of representation and celebrate progress made. There are many state boards and commissions that play a role in labor and workforce development. Thus, it is important that their members reflect the breadth of diversity that we have in Massachusetts. The bill was voted favorably out of committee. We need your support to ensure that it gets put forward for a vote in the legislature this session. Reach out to your state representative and ask them to urge House Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Michlewitz (, 617-722-2990) to move the bill forward to the floor. 

This is an important step towards better representation in the Commonwealth. Parity on State Boards and Commissions is one policy that the YW Boston Advocacy Committee works towards establishing. Other focus areas include civil rights and racial justice, childcare and education, and gender equity. You can learn more about participating in YW Boston’s advocacy work here.

No matter how you decide to celebrate Labor Day 2023, please take some time to reflect and pay tribute to all the laborers, past and present, who helped build America and make it the country it is today.  

Apply to Join the YW Boston Advocacy Committee 

Interested in participating in more advocacy action that works to eliminate racism and empower women in Greater Boston? Apply to join our Advocacy Committee here. Applications open NOW through October 15th. Reach out to Brianna Savage, with any questions.