by Sean Lundergan, Boyle Fellow

The Labor Guild honored the recipients of the Cushing-Gavin Awards at the 53rd annual CGA dinner on Friday, December 6. Below are the bios of the five recipients that appeared in the event’s program book.

Rich Rogers

Rich Rogers is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council. He spent 21 years with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO prior to heading the GBLC.

Rich has been organizing his whole career. A Worcester native, he graduated from UMass Amherst and was hired as an organizer in the labor movement in 1982 with UFCW Local 1459 in Springfield. The following year he joined the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, where he worked through the ’80s as a political organizer on issues that affected workers across the state, including the No on 2 campaign that defeated a ballot measure to repeal Massachusetts’s Prevailing Wage law in 1988.

During the ’90s, Rich was involved in some of the most consequential political fights of the era. In 1992 he was appointed Political Director for the MA AFL-CIO, and in that role he was labor’s chief organizer in several key battles, including the 1994 Senate race in which Ted Kennedy defeated Mitt Romney and the elections of Jim McGovern and John Tierney to Congress.

He served in the role of Political Director for a total of 12 years, leaving the post in 2004 to become the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council. He would be reelected three times, a testament to his dedication and effectiveness in leading the GBLC. During his tenure he has played an integral role in fostering diversity and solidarity within the Boston area labor movement, and under his leadership GBLC has maintained one of the highest affiliation rates of any AFL-CIO-linked labor council in the country.

Though he’s not running for reelection with the GBLC, Rich won’t be going too far. Nearly four decades’ worth of work has afforded him an invaluable store of institutional knowledge, lessons learned and personal relationships that he’ll use to continue supporting the GBLC and the rest of the labor movement; but he’ll be taking a much deserved step back.

Rich is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the proud father of a 22 year old daughter, Caroline. The Labor Guild is proud to present Rich Rogers with the Cushing-Gavin Award, in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Massachusetts labor movement.

F. Donal O’Brien

F. Donal O’Brien is an arbitrator and mediator based in Newport, Rhode Island, and the recipient of the 2019 Father Edward F. Boyle Award.

Growing up the eldest son of an Air Force medical officer, Don moved around quite a bit. He went to five grammar schools and four high schools everywhere from Alaska to New York to Alabama to California to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, attending Catholic school whenever possible. Settling down for four years in Chicago at Loyola University meant that Don was in the middle of the country, never too far to visit the family. After graduating with a degree in psychology, he served nearly three years in active duty with the Navy, after which he would remain in the Navy as a drilling reservist for 27 more years.

Don’s first job upon leaving active duty was in human resources at Chicago’s Sanitary District, an independent agency that oversaw wastewater treatment for Cook County and the City of Chicago. After a few years he became Director of Personnel for a similar agency in Milwaukee—the Sewerage District—amid the threat of a strike of the agency’s workforce. The month-long strike eventually came, and Don counts it as one of the formative moments in his career—he wrote a paper on the affair that received praise from around the industry.

One morning in 1982, Donal found on his desk a brochure advertising the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master of Public Administration program. He applied, was accepted, and received a scholarship from the International Personnel Management Association. After a year in Cambridge Don was offered a job by his old boss in Chicago at the Sewerage District, where he worked on negotiations that led the first collective bargaining agreement under a new public labor relations act in Illinois. He then became the Director of Personnel at the Sewerage District for fifteen years.

In 1998 a friend from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service suggested that Don become a mediator. After some reflection, he agreed that that would be a suitable next step in his career, and he spent seven years as a federal mediator, and in 2006 he and his family moved to Newport, where he began an arbitration practice that split time between Chicago and southern New England.

Though he has only lived in New England since 2006, Don had a relationship with the namesake of his award, Father Ed Boyle. Long before he moved the operation to Rhode Island, he had known Father Ed through the Labor and Employment Relations Association since the 1980s, and their relationship has kept Don a dues-paying Guild member since he moved to the area.

Don and his wife Ellen of 52 years live in Newport and are the proud parents of their son Paul and daughter Meghan.  The Labor Guild is honored to present him with the Boyle Award.

Michael J. Maccaro, Esq.

Michael Maccaro is an attorney at Murphy Hesse Toomey and Lehane, which he joined in 2010 after four years on the legal staff of AFSCME.

As a student at Bates College, Mike studied biochemistry and planned to get his MD. But after two years in a lab at Boston University, initially meant to be a gap between undergraduate and medical school, Mike had started to drift from his vision of becoming a doctor; he found a non-clinical role in the planning department of a New York City hospital, and during his tenure there he took the LSAT, applied to law school and decided to enroll at Northeastern University’s school of law.

He graduated from law school in 2004, still unsure in what area of law he wanted to specialize, and worked for two years as a Superior Court clerk, a position that required intensive study of cases from a broad range of areas of the law, and which allowed him to sample all those areas in the real world. Of all the areas that came across his desk at the Superior Court, employment law clicked with Mike. After years searching for a calling, he’d found it.

When his time clerking came to an end, Mike got a job with AFSCME that sent him all across Massachusetts. He prided himself on his persistence in putting in time before hearings to meet with a client, understand their needs and their case, and lay the groundwork to win what his client deserved, even if it meant long days travelling to all corners of the Commonwealth.

In 2010, Mike accepted a job at MHTL. He works with clients in both the public and private sector in the areas of contract negotiations, arbitration, litigation, and employee benefits. Now a partner, he maintains his good relationships across the labor relations community, with mediators, arbitrators and opposing counsel.

It’s not the first time an MHTL attorney has been awarded at CGA—partners Katherine Hesse, Esq, Michael Lehane, Esq., and Arthur P Murphy, Esq., are also past winners, and this year Mike Macarro joins their ranks.

Mike lives in Chelmsford with his wife Sharon and their two girls, Audrey, age 9, and Scarlet, who just turned 1. The Labor Guild is honored to present the Management Attorney award to Mike Maccaro.

Mary Walsh, Ph.D.

Mary Walsh, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of City Connects and the Daniel Kearns Professor of Urban Education and Innovative Leadership at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. She has a Ph.D. in clinical-developmental psychology from Clark University.

Growing up, Mary attended Catholic school in Brighton, the daughter of Irish immigrants from County Cork. Her father, a union factory worker, instilled in her from an early age the importance of education, of the labor movement, and of the value of ensuring social justice for everyone.

Mary went on to study psychology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and from there she went on to complete her graduate studies at Clark University. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston College, she worked at UMass Medical School and taught at Regis College.

As a clinical psychologist, Mary has studied intervention in schools for over two decades. The approach she employs at City Connects is based in years’ worth of evidence from interventions to address the out-of-school factors that can negatively affect a child’s development. With the cooperation of school districts, City Connects places trained Coordinators in schools who assess students and ensure that they receive support through programs that meet their strengths and needs.

Mary emphasizes the importance of robust data in creating the model, and her team includes statisticians and policy experts who ensure the data the program continues to produce are properly analyzed. Longitudinal studies of students who received City Connects interventions have found striking success. Since its inception City Connects has seen improvement in such factors as students’ test scores, graduation rates, and report card scores, while negative indicators like chronic absenteeism and retention in grade have dropped significantly. The model has been especially successful in improving outcomes for English Language Learners.

In cities ranging from Holyoke to Salem to Boston to New York City, the City Connects system of identifying and addressing the needs of students on an individual level has proven effective.

City Connects currently operates in twelve school districts in seven states, and Mary and her team are in the process of expanding overseas to Dublin, Ireland, to implement the system in the low-income northeast portion of the inner city.

The Labor Guild is presenting the Management Award to Mary Walsh for her commitment to education and the mission of City Connects.

William G. Gross

William G Gross is the 42nd Commissioner of the Boston Police Department.

Born in a rural part of eastern Maryland, he moved to Boston with his family when he was 11. He credits his family and other role models in his youth, both in Maryland and when he had to adjust to city life in Dorchester, for his value system and the drive that has allowed him to attain the success he has. He always makes a point to recall where he came from: If he can go from a pig farm in Maryland to the office of Police Commissioner, he likes to tell Boston students, so can they.

Bill Gross has been a part of the Boston Police Department for 35 years. He graduated from the Boston Police Academy in 1985, and throughout his career as an officer he has patrolled neighborhoods around the city. In addition to working as an instructor at the Police Academy, he was assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force and the Drug Control Unit. In 2004 he became a sergeant and in 2006 a Sergeant-Detective. He kept climbing the ranks—in 2008 he was appointed to the Command Staff as a Deputy Superintendent and in 2012 the role of Superintendent, becoming Night Commander and overseeing police services citywide. In 2014, Mayor Marty Walsh and Commissioner William Evans appointed him to the position of Superintendent-in-Chief, making him the first African American to hold the position in BPD’s long history. Four years later, in 2018, he was appointed Commissioner and became the first person of color to lead the department.

Throughout his career Commissioner Gross has striven to develop connections with the community he serves. He’s interacted with activists, grieving families, clergy, neighbors, and protestors, operating on the rule that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. This community-centered approach has served as a significant step in the right direction for the department, and the Commissioner is still focused on making policing safer and more just.

Commissioner Gross has been recognized throughout his career for his service: He has received numerous Departmental awards and several Governor’s Citations; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award; the United States Attorney’s Boston Offices’ Award For Outstanding Dedicated Service to the Survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing; the Department of Justice Investigative Achievement Award and was named one of Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color.  In June 2018, marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of Robert F. Kennedy, he received the Robert F. Kennedy “Embracing the Legacy” Award.

Commissioner Gross lives in Boston and has a son, William, Jr.

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