Anne R. Sills, Esq.
Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Labor Attorney Award, 2018
Anne Sills represents unions and employee benefit funds. Her union practice includes arbitration, mediation, contract negotiations, and litigation before the NLRB and state and federal courts. Anne works with a wide range of unions, including Utility Workers 369, UWUA 555 (Nuclear), UFCW Local 8D (Distillery Workers), and USW (Steelworkers) 12003.
Anne’s employee benefit funds practice has collected millions in unpaid benefit contributions to workers’ pension, healthcare and annuity funds through federal and state court litigation. “Helping my clients achieve their goals and protect hard-won benefits is very satisfying,” she notes. A Tufts University graduate, Anne joined the MA Department of Public Health Commissioner’s Office. Her work with Puerto Rican and other immigrant groups inspired Anne to learn Spanish, which is very useful in her law practice today
In 1976, Anne made a career 180, taking a job on Framingham’s General Motors assembly line. “For six years, I built cars, and the work was hard and physically demanding with the potential for injury and hearing loss. Fortunately, a UAW job meant great pay, benefits, and a contract. At 5’3”, I worked production lines designed for large men. But I took a lot of pride in doing a tough job well. I saw the importance of having a voice on the job–and a just cause provision in your CBA. It was an eye-opening experience that eventually led me to apply for law school.”
Anne attended Northeastern Law School to become a labor attorney. “Ira Sills (no relation and now my law partner) was my labor law professor,” Anne notes. “My first co-op was with Segal Roitman. Knowing immediately this was where I wanted to be, I informed Don Siegel, the Managing Partner–and I kept on telling him for the next three years.”
After clerking for Judge Higginbotham, Anne worked as an attorney for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild.
In 1986, Segal Roitman hired Anne as an associate, and she became a partner in 1994. Anne was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2006 and in 2008-2017
As to labor relations these days, Anne commented: “Compared to my colleagues, I’ve been pretty fortunate. My counterparts and I try to see each other’s perspective and needs, so we can get things resolved. When some employers under-source their HR/ER divisions, it slows grievance processing and critical business. Your counterpart is sometimes reporting to C-Suite executives who are less aware, less responsive, or respectful to employees’ issues or the labor relations process. It’s worrisome.”
Anne is married to Howard Silverman, an immigration attorney, and partner with Ross Silverman Snyder Tietjen LLP (RSST Law Group). Anne and Howie’s three children are Emma, who works for a travel public relations firm in New York, and twins: Molly, a graduate student in social work and child development, and Alex, who works for Cambridge’s Abt Associates.