2023 CGA Recap graphic featuring the night's honorees

2023 Cushing-Gavin Awards Recap

The Labor Guild hosted its 57th annual Cushing-Gavin Awards Dinner on December 1, 2023. This was our first in-person gathering since 2019, and we were grateful to see so many familiar faces and have new ones join us to celebrate our outstanding awardees. 

Thank you to our hosts at IBEW Local 103 and their fantastic staff, as well as the always exceptional meals and service provided by Seasons Catering and their crew from Unite Here Local 26. Even after a few years of remote CGA Ceremonies, we were able to pick up where we left off in 2019, and many of our attendees told our staff how nice it was to be back in person. We couldn’t agree more!

Congratulations to our 2023 awardees: Gary D. Altman, James W. Bucking, Steven A. Tolman, and Nicole I. Taub Esq. The Labor-Management Community is incredibly blessed by their contributions and the humility that they have shown in improving labor-management relations.  

Gary Altman was awarded the Father Edward F. Boyle Award for his outstanding service to the labor movement in the public sector for over forty years. He provided his services in labor arbitration and to many New England regions. He is noted for helping to pass Proposition 2 1/2, which dramatically impacted public sector collective bargaining. He was a mediator with the Joint Labor Management Committee for Police and Fire. Gary has been an instructor and trainer on labor relations and arbitration practice with the American Arbitration Association, he served as Co-Chair of the Boston Association Committee on Public Sector Labor Relations, was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Division of Labor Relations and has contributed to various journals on public sector labor law. For the past fifteen years, he was Chair of the Brookline Retirement Board. The Board oversees the Town’s defined benefit retirement plan to ensure that the Town’s retirees will be able to retire with their earned and deserved pensions. 

Steve Tolman was awarded the Cushing-Gavin Award for his excellent service and contributions to Massachusetts. He began as a worker on the railroad who rose to become Local Chair of the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1994. In 1998, he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, serving seven terms. He was Assistant Majority Leader when he resigned to become President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO in 2011. He was a major force that helped expose and address the tragedy of addictive pain medication and the opiate epidemic, and was an outspoken advocate for accessible health care, quality public education, enhanced workers’ rights, and the preservation of vital safety net programs for those in need. Under his leadership, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO has been a part of groundbreaking victories such as raising the minimum wage, passing the strongest state-earned sick-time law in the country, and establishing a domestic workers bill of rights. 

Jim Bucking was awarded the Management Attorney Award, primarily for his work as a partner with Foley Hoag LLP. He represents management at the bargaining table, and litigates labor disputes in court, before arbitrators, and at the National Labor Relations Board. Jim represents clients across diverse industries, negotiating dozens of private organizing and labor peace agreements, and hundreds of collective bargaining agreements. Along the way, he has assisted clients in dealing with strikes and lockouts, consumer boycotts, picketing, wildcat strikes, corporate campaigns, and other novel and creative job actions. Most recently, Jim has been active in the country’s energy transition, helping wind farm developers navigate the complexities of labor relations in the formation and expansion of an American clean energy workforce. This has included negotiations and disputes with the unions representing dock workers, seafarers, and construction workers. Jim bargained the nation’s first offshore wind project labor agreement with the Massachusetts Building Trades Council in 2021.  

Nicole I. Taub was awarded the Management Award in recognition of her numerous management level roles in various municipalities in the Greater Boston area. Ms. Taub now works as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Policy and Legal Affairs in the Office of the Police Commissioner, City of Boston. In this capacity, Ms. Taub is responsible for high-level administrative tasks of the Office of the Police Commissioner, including operations, strategic development, legal affairs, implementation and evaluation, inter-bureau and inter-agency coordination, inter-governmental relations, and personnel management. Before rejoining the Department in March 2023, Ms. Taub worked for the Town of Braintree, serving as the Town Solicitor from July 2018 to December 2019 and as the Town Solicitor and Chief of Staff to the Mayor in January 2020. Ms. Taub provided legal counsel and representation to the Mayor, all Town Departments, Boards and Commissions and the Town Council on matters including municipal finance, Charter and Ordinance interpretation, contracts, zoning, environmental and land use issues, labor and employment, civil rights, and tort liability. 

A special thank you to all of our sponsors and everyone who purchased a table or ticket. Your support of the CGA has helped the Labor Guild’s mission to improve Labor-Management relations. Your support improves our ability to provide our services to reach working people across the United States. 

And a huge thank you to Harry Brett of Harry Brett Photography in Braintree, MA! We wouldn’t have been able to recap the night without him.

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