By Henry DeGroot
The Labor Guild is pleased to introduce David Kowalski as our new executive director. With years of service to the labor movement in Massachusetts, and over three decades of involvement with the Labor Guild of Boston, Dave brings valuable leadership experience to our team.
A founding member of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 318, Dave began his involvement in the labor movement as a rank-and-file gasworker. He took on increasing responsibility in his union, moving from steward to executive board member, and eventually found himself serving as president of the local.
It was at this point that Dave realized he needed to develop his education; in 1984, he decided to enroll in the Labor Guild school classes. Dave recalls that it was at the Labor Guild that Dave first met Father Ed Boyle, “the closest man I’ll ever meet to a saint,” marked by his work ethic and his devotion to social and economic justice.
Dave continued his education by enrolling in the UMass Boston Labor Studies program, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1990. Five years ago, Dave decided to come full circle, transitioning from a Labor Guild student to a volunteer instructor teaching courses on labor history, union stewardship, and strategic campaign development. This semester he is continuing this work with his course “Retirement: What You Need To Know In 2019.”
Kowalski has also served for three years on the executive board of the Labor Guild, and was elected as president of the board in January. He will continue to lead the board in addition to taking on responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the guild as executive director.
In terms of goals for his tenure, Dave aims to secure the future of the guild for the next generation. He also wants to make sure the guild continues to provide a quality foundational education for unionists in the Boston labor movement, with an emphasis on the “knowledge and courage workers need in industrial relations to work towards economic and social justice.”
David Kowalski is a personification of the mission of the Labor Guild. His own development of empowerment through education began in the classrooms of our guild school, and his personal success and impact on the community shows that we are never too old to strengthen ourselves through the acquisition of knowledge. Himself a product of our proud tradition of guild school, it is fitting that he has taken on the responsibility to secure the future of the Labor Guild as an institution which can continue to shape future generations of labor leaders.