John P. Dumas
Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Labor Award, 2012
John, an active 35-year member of Local #103, has served as its President for 16 years. He has been a key player in Local 103′s strategic turnaround of recent years. John’s emphatic support for new and emerging markets has led to 103’s strong, productive working relationships with contractors—and greatly expanded job opportunities for his 6,000+ members. John has negotiated more than 50 contracts, including complex negotiations with Harvard University and Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation. In all these instances, John has expertly represented his members while earning the highest respect of those on both sides of the table. What sets John apart is his deep level of commitment to not only fight for the rights of his members on the jobsite and across the bargaining table, but in the understanding and practical way that he supports individual members in their private lives. John also leads the Local’s extensive charitable giving and community action with great caring and devotion.
John P Dumas Acceptance Speech Cushing-Gavin Award Dinner December 7, 2012
Thank you Bishop Dooher, Father Cloherty, Allyson Every, Dinner Co-Chairs Tom Ryan and Steve Tolman, Honored Awardees John Dunlap, Ken Grace, and Barry Bluestone, and Guild President George Embleton.
I want to say a special Hi to my friends in the Building Trades and my IBEW family.
I want to also thank all of you for being here. To say the least, I was surprised to find out that I would be honored with this award. I have attended this event on many occasions and joined in the recognition of past leaders and award recipients, and while I have always taken great pride in my work, I have never thought myself worthy of such distinction.
I would like to take a few minutes to acknowledge some of those who have made tonight possible.
First, I would like to thank God. I’ve tried to live my life by the mantra: “God, country, family, union” and it has served me well.
Thank you to my best friend, my wife Margie, who has managed the Longwood Medical Center Day Care Center for the past 28 years. Our daughter Audrey and her husband Gene. Our son Billy, his wife Julie, and my grandson Cooper who has become the gem of my life and is waiting for his little brother who is due later this month. They were on their way to this event but had to turn back because Julie was having contractions. We will let you know if we hear anything.
Thank you to my parents, Margaret and Robert Dumas, and to my brother Robert, my sister Nancy and her husband Jim, my twin sister Joan, my youngest brother Jim and his wife Marilyn, and my brothers William and his wife Michelle, and Michael and his wife Mary Sue, who both couldn’t be here tonight.
As a kid, I had problems with hearing loss and a speech impediment. At times, this led to some difficult day. My parents and siblings stood up for me and defended me no matter what and they taught me what family means from a young age. They also taught me the value of standing up for right versus wrong and the courage to be there for those who might need an additional voice.
Growing up in Saint Mark’s Parish in Dorchester, I got to meet many different people from all faiths and backgrounds and that has really shaped the way I see the world today. I learned working family values from my Dad, a Boston Police Officer, and my Mom, who was an organizer – of 7 kids. My parents demonstrated the hard work it takes to get anything done and who stressed the importance of education. Because of their lessons, their love and their dedication, every one of my siblings earned a degree, some have earned Masters, and we even have a doctor, my brother Robert. And a lasting value they left with me was to treat others the way you want to be treated.
I would also like to thank a few of my close friends who are here tonight. Jim and Debbie Mullen, Kevin Gibson and Bridget McNally, and Tom and Kathy Carton.
I want to give a special thank you to Joe Delaney and his wife Virginia. Joe sponsored me 35 years ago and gave me the opportunity to become a member of Local 103 IBEW through the Joint Apprentice and Training Committee program. He was President of Fishbach and Moore at the time and acted as my mentor, showing me labor’s role in the marketplace. I am blessed to have been able to use those skills and invaluable lessons throughout my career.
I want to thank my aunt, Sister Ann Gill, who is a retired Sister of Charity, located in Nova Scotia, Canada, and who was in management as a hospital administrator for over 50 years. We had many healthy discussions about unions, labor and their relationship with management, although, try as I might, I was never able to get her to come over to our side.
I am thankful that I have been able to have many of those types of relationships with friends in management over the years and I credit them for giving me a better point of view on both sides of the table. Without an understanding of the pressures on both sides of an issue, success and progress are hard to come by and without my friends in management, this lesson would have been lost.
The last few years have been brutal for both labor and management but we all have a job to do. I have learned from both sides that to do this job requires give and take on both ends in order to create a win-win situation at the end of the day. I am hoping that this past election is recognized as a referendum FOR the middle class and working families throughout the country and will slow down the tidal wave of difficulties that the American worker has been facing lately so that we can all get back to the table and move forward.
I would like to thank Local 103’s partners at the National Electrical Contractors Association Boston Chapter – Executive Manager Glenn Kingsbury and President Paul Guarricino of JM Electric – for working so closely and effectively with Mike Monahan and our team at Local 103.
As most of you in this room know, at Local 103, we are fortunate to have one of the brightest and most visionary Business Managers around, Mike Monahan. He was the 2007 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award. I can tell you from watching him that he works every day for one reason and one reason only – that is to help each and every member of Local 103 and their family lead a good life. It is a tremendous example to follow.
Mike is not alone in his commitment to putting our membership first but what makes the difference is his vision in putting together a great team of Business Agents – Mike Calder, Rich Antonellis, Sean Callaghan, Gary Walker, Don Sheehan, Lou Antonellis, and Bill Corley – who work day in and day out to gain more market share and expand opportunities for our members.
I want to thank the officers and members of Local 103 for giving me the opportunity to serve them as President for the past 16 years. It has been an honor.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to have had many mentors in my industry but four of them stick out to me.
First, I want to thank Richie Gambino. As a long-time Business Agent, officer, and Business Manager of Local 103, and now the Administrator of our Health and Welfare Office, Richie started the program for regaining market share over ten years ago. While he planted the seed for our future growth, he also taught me the importance of getting young members involved in the success of our local union. Richie and I worked together as journeymen as well as officers of the union and his friendship and guidance have been instrumental.
I would also like to thank Chuck Monahan. Chuck was the 2000 recipient of the Cushing-Gavin Award and continues to serve the members of Local 103 with distinction.
Also, I would like to recognize Peter Callaghan, a friend and mentor who couldn’t be here tonight because he is in Ireland doing charity work.
Lastly, I want to thank Bob Leahy, who passed away in November of 2010. Bob was a third generation member of Local 103. His father was one of the first members in 1906, and the Leahy family is now on its fifth generation as Local 103 members. Bob always had a good saying for me and taught me things that I use to this day…
- Always early, never late, from the class of 1938.
- Always have a pen and paper with you to write down the stock.
- Remember to give back to Local 103 and to the generation behind you.
- You can laugh and have fun on the job but always put in a day’s worth of work.
These men taught me through their words, but more importantly through their actions and I want to thank them for making me the man I am today.
And of course, none of us would be here tonight without the selfless dedication of the Labor Guild. The work of the Guild in helping all of us better understand the complexities of labor-management relations and how to best achieve progress for working families is critical to our past and our future. Thank you to George Embleton, Father Frank Cloherty, Allyson Every, and all other leaders of the Guild, past and present, including Reverend Patrick Sullivan. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer special recognition of the tireless, compassionate work of the late Father Ed Boyle, whose life has left a lasting mark on all of us.
In closing, I want to give a final thank you to everyone who gave me the opportunities to be here tonight. I would like to believe that I was in the right place at the right time to receive this award, although there are many labor leaders who also deserve recognition.
You are the silent majority for the American worker and our duty is to continue to fight for middle class families and stand up against corporate greed and those who oppose decent wages, benefits and protections for working men and women of all races, creed and genders – union or non-union. I thank you all for all you have done and urge you to keep up the fight.
God bless you, God bless America, God bless the labor movement, and God bless Local 103 IBEW.