About The Labor Guild

Serving and Celebrating the Labor-Management Community Since 1945

The Guild Has Provided 50,000+ Students and Working Practitioners With:

  • relevant, practitioner-led labor education, professional training, and personal development through our school, workshops, forums, and conferences
  • excellent, neutral conference and meeting spaces
  • useful, engaging peer networking and excellent leadership opportunities
  • our Cushing-Gavin Awards, which have honored four exceptional professionals from our regional labor relations community each year since 1967.

The Guild values the collective bargaining process as an essential engine driving wage equality, economic and social justice in a vibrant democracy. Training, supporting, connecting, and celebrating all the active participants in that process is at the heart of our mission and legacy.

Our Values

As a membership organization, the Labor Guild is open to all who are interested in promoting just, compassionate, and productive workplaces. The Labor Guild supports effective, principled collective bargaining.

The Guild believes in the dignity of the individual person/worker as the cornerstone of a just economic system. We believe that economic decisions have human consequences and moral context. That people have the right to decent and productive work, to fair wages and benefits, to private property and economic initiative.

We value management excellence and have witnessed the essential role and vital contributions of great managers and enlightened employers in the workplace. We admire and respect the invaluable role of committed labor leaders and activists in improving the lives, working conditions and economic security of their members and  their communities.

Who We Serve

The Labor Guild welcomes, supports and serves individuals and organizations involved in all aspects of labor-management relations throughout Eastern Massachusetts and beyond.

The Guild’s greatest strength is the caliber, scope and tremendous knowledge-base of its membership and network, from rank-and-file to top practitioners in their respective fields and sectors.

The Labor Guild community embraces individuals and organizations from all our tribes, including:

  • Labor (Rank-and-file union members, stewards, union officers/executives, trustees, organizers, and staff.  Non-union, contingent, and transitioning workers and the self-employed are warmly welcome.)
  • Management (from front-line supervisors to CEOs, Employee Relations/Human Resources executives and staff, benefits professionals, etc.)
  • Attorneys (representing labor, management and government agencies)
  • Other Stakeholders—representing a wide range of auxiliary professionals, groups and organizations engaged in and/or supporting the labor relations process:  arbitrators, mediators, academics, consultants, government officials, economists, social justice advocates, benefits experts, health and safety professionals, writers/researchers, graduate students, etc.
  • Friends and supporters.

“BE DOERS OF THE WORD AND NOT HEARERS ONLY, DELUDING YOURSELVES… BUT THE ONE WHO PEERS INTO THE PERFECT LAW OF FREEDOM AND PERSEVERES, AND IS NOT A HEARER WHO FORGETS BUT A DOER WHO ACTS, SUCH A ONE SHALL BE BLESSED IN WHAT HE DOES.”     JAMES 1:22-25

Our Mission

“The Guild promotes justice and good order in area workplaces by inspiring, motivating, and helping men and women to act with conscience, and know-how, and courage in labor-management relations.” — Article I of The Labor Guild’s 1945 Charter

The Labor Guild’s mission is to foster a healthy labor-management climate. To that end, we serve our labor-management community by providing educational and communications programs, election services, and significant networking and leadership opportunities, as well as by recognizing and honoring remarkable practitioners from our community’s various constituencies.

Guild Staff

Guild History

The Labor Guild traces its roots back to the Great Depression. In response to rapid industrial unionization, church-sponsored classes were launched in urban and industrial cities across the country to educate Catholic workers about their legal rights on the job. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, these Catholic labor schools were held in school buildings and parish basements in well over 200 cities across the US.  Rank-and-file union members, stewards, officers and negotiators were trained in leadership, labor law, organizing, contract negotiation, grievance handling, public speaking, ethics, and union governance. And those students brought along co-workers of all denominations.

1935-1942

The Guild's Pre-History

With the approval of Boston’s William Cardinal O’Connell, local parishes in Boston and several MA industrial cities conducted adult evening classes (called “The Labor Guild” in some locations and “Catholic Labor School” in others). Students were taught nuts-and-bolts labor law, grievance administration, contract negotiations, public speaking, etc.

1945-1950

Launch of the Labor Guild

Labor Guild is established by Archbishop Richard Cushing. Msgr. and Joseph Robinson is appointed Chaplain.

1952

Relaunch of the Labor Guild

After a break in service, Cardinal Cushing recharters the Guild at the request of labor leaders. The Guild takes off under the dynamic, new leadership of Father Francis McDonnell, an Archdiocesan priest.

The Guild will be in continuous operation from this date. Run under the auspices of the Archdiocese, the Guild becomes an ecumenical organization well in advance of Vatican II.

1953

A Focus on Education

The Guild’s School opens in the spring; classes are held at Newman Preparatory School.

1954

Labor Life

The first issue of our newsletter, LABOR LIFE, is published.

1956

Fr. McDonnell

Fr. McDonnell becomes the Guild’s full-time Chaplain/Executive Secretary.

1962

Early Transitions

After 10 successful years as the Guild’s Chaplain, Fr. McDonnell (later Monsignor) steps down to become pastor of a large Lynn parish.

Fr. Mortimer Gavin, S.J., a professional mediator and Holy Cross College faculty member, is appointed as the new Guild Chaplain and Director of The Institute of Industrial Relations. The School moves to the former Boston College High School building on Harrison Avenue in the South End. Guild membership is extended to management representatives, labor and management attorneys, and other labor relations professionals (academics, arbitrators, consultants, etc.)

1967

Cushing-Gavin Awards

First Cushing Award Dinner.

1970

Fr. Edward Boyle, S.J.

Fr. Edward Boyle, S.J., is appointed Associate Chaplain.

1975

Union Elections

The Guild supervises its first Union election.

1983

Your Rights on the Job

Labor Guild publishes the first edition of “Your Rights on the Job” by Robert Schwartz.

1984

Fr. Edward Boyle, S.J. Promoted

Fr. Boyle, S.J. is appointed Chaplain/Executive Secretary after the passing of Fr. Gavin, S.J.

1985

Gavin Conference Center

Gavin Conference Center opens at Guild Headquarters on Harrison Avenue, Boston

1987

St. Ann's Parrish

Labor Guild moves to a building on St. Ann’s Parish campus on Hancock Street, North Quincy. The generous support of donors and the Building Trades unions allow the Guild to renovate a former convent into a 3-story school/conference center.

1989

Management Forum

First Management Forum

1991

Management Conference

Launch of Annual Labor Management Conference at Boston College.

2003

Sacred Heart Parish

Move to 85 Commercial St., Weymouth, on the campus of Sacred Heart Parish. With the generous support of donors and donated labor of Building Trades unions, a major facility renovation creates a new Guild headquarters and school/conference center.

2007

A Year of Losses

RIP Mary Gavin Standley, Guild’s Office Manager. With the Guild for 44 years. 

RIP Fr. Edward F. Boyle, S.J. With Guild for 37 years.

2008

Sr. Mary Priniski, O.P.

Appointment of Sr. Mary Priniski, O.P., a dynamic Adrian Dominican nun, as Guild Chaplain/ Executive Secretary. She becomes a founding member of Catholic Scholars.

2009

Fr. Patrick Sullivan CSC

Sr. Mary is recalled by her order to serve as Prioress after 18 months.

Fr. Patrick Sullivan CSC, a former professor at Kings College and Notre Dame, is appointed Guild Chaplain

Guild School is renamed The School of Labor-Management Relations

2012

Allyson Every & Fr. Francis Cloherty

Fr. Sullivan steps down. In light of a severe shortage of priests and religious, the Chaplain/Executive Secretary position is split.

With the creation of a new lay Executive Director position, Allyson Every, a board member and past-Guild president is appointed. Fr. Francis Cloherty is appointed part-time Chaplain.

2014

Fr. Bryan Hehir

Fr. Cloherty steps down as Chaplain after almost 3 years of service with the Guild and returns to community action and parish work in Lynn, MA.

Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Health and Social Services Archdiocese of Boston, becomes the Guild’s Chaplain.

2015

Deacon Eric T. Peabody & Another Move

In June, Deacon Eric T. Peabody, a Permanent Deacon at Sacred Hearts Parish, Bradford, MA named Associate Chaplain.

In August, the Labor Guild packs up its offices, operations, evening school, and day programs from its Weymouth Landing home of 13 years. At the kind invitation of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Guild relocates to RCAB’s Pastoral Center in Braintree, MA.