History of Cushing-Gavin Awards Dinner

Perhaps the most widely-known single project of the Labor Guild is its annual award for outstanding service in the eastern Massachusetts labor relations community.  This respected awards program was launched in 1967, largely at the prompting of the Guild Chaplain, Father Mortimer (Mort) Gavin, S.J.  As a professional mediator, Fr. Mort had often witnessed the constructive impact of top-notch practitioners,  and created an awards program aimed to:

  • provide well-deserved recognition to individual practitioners for excellence and singular service in labor-management affairs;
  • offer both inspiration and education to the general labor-management community by showcasing outstanding contributors;
  • bring greater visibility to the Guild and all its programs;
  • nurture a more bipartisan and collaborative tone to the Labor Guild,
  • contribute critical financial resources supporting the Guild’s work.

Naming the Awards after Boston’s highly-popular and respected Archbishop Richard Cushing was both natural and appropriate as the founder of the post-war Guild.  The son of a Boston Elevated Railway blacksmith, Cushing worked as a janitor throughout his high school and college years. His working class roots and life experience informed his long and public record of advocating for a strong, responsible labor movement, while being sensitive to the legitimate needs of the business community.  His involvement in the early years of the Awards Dinner gave it an immediate stature within the general community.  More telling for the Dinner’s longterm success was the spirit of mutuality he introduced at the very first Awards Dinner.

“We all tend to live in our own special isolation, building walls about ourselves, and considering only the problems that are closest to each of us individually. Tonight we sit together in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, recognizing that most of our difficulties we share with each other, most of our ideals we pursue together, and most of our progress will be made together or it will not be made at all.”  – Richard Cardinal Cushing, 1967

That first dinner attracted over 700 people. Within three years, attendance had climbed to over 1,000. Five decades later, the 2015 CGA Dinner drew an impressive 850 guests. Yet, as our late Guild Chaplain, Fr. Edward Boyle wrote in 1995:  “Numbers alone cannot be the accurate gauge of what this event represents to the labor-management community. That can only be registered in the hearts and minds of those attending, and the fresh commitments and deepened sensitivities nurtured by this event.”

Thank you for making CGA 2016 a Success!

December 2, 2016

Friday at 7 p.m.
at the
Boston Park Plaza
50 Park Plaza at Arlington St., Boston, Massachusetts


Know someone who works tirelessly within the Labor Management Community? Nominate them for a CGA.


66 Brooks Drive
Braintree MA 02185
Get Directions



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