Joseph Delorey, Esq.
Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Labor Award, 2021
Joe has been staff counsel (with one title or another) for public sector labor unions since 1974. He began with the small independent Mass. State Employees Association (MSEA), which merged with NAGE (SEIU Local 5000) in 1977, and he came to AFSCME in 2002, serving as its General Counsel from 2006 through 2020. He remains as Of Counsel with Council 93.
During these 40 plus years he has participated in countless arbitration cases, as well as handling unfair labor charges, civil service appeals, civil litigation, lobbying, contract administration, contract negotiation, and staff and leadership training. He has also defended against member and employer claims before administrative bodies and in court.
Joe has also appeared before arbitrators and administrative bodies in the federal sector (quite often during his stint in Hawaii from 1998-2001; that’s of no real importance to these proceedings, but it’s nice to think about every now and then – particularly in December in Boston), as well as U.S. District Courts.
Over the years Joe served as a member of the Civil Service Reform Commission, the PRIM Board, and the Mass. State Retirement Board. While at AFSCME, he had also served as the Labor Chair of the Mass. Public Employee Dental/Optical Trust Fund.
In addition to the above, Joe has also spent time as part of organizing efforts. His introduction to electioneering came during the initial state-wide bargaining unit elections, which was a massive undertaking. While the MSEA was not successful in these efforts, it was an extraordinary enterprise to be engaged so early in his career, and a great learning opportunity.
Speaking of learning opportunities, Joe readily credits his late colleague at both MSEA and NAGE, Atty. Mark J. Dalton, as being the finest mentor possible. Mr. Dalton was a distinguished WW2 veteran who served in Naval Intelligence, a former campaign director and trusted advisor for Jack Kennedy, and a partner in the Dalton/Elcock Bar Review. No one could have had a better tutor, example, and friend.
While at NAGE, Joe also had the opportunity to work as advisor to and representative of then NAGE Pres. Ken Lyons, who, in his own right, was also an extraordinary individual. For those of you who knew Mr. Lyons, you can recall how extraordinary he was. For those of you not familiar with him, you wouldn’t believe it. But again, a great learning opportunity.
Along with learning opportunities, Joe has also been able to enjoy countless teaching opportunities, and has found great satisfaction in helping lay folk, be they staff or local activists, as well as fellow attorneys learn the language of labor relations, how various processes work, and why they work. He remains available to provide training upon request (virtually or in person), and at a very competitive hourly rate!
Of all of his varied efforts, Joe suggests one of the most satisfying is the interplay between employee relations and those suffering from substance abuse. While our universe is that of collective bargaining, as a colleague of his once observed, we are all Gods children, and the chance to help a troubled individual may be the greatest reward of all. A minute or so thinking of the late Award winner Paul McDevitt, and the work of him and so many others in these noble pursuits to help those in need, is time well spent. As Mohammed Ali observed, Service to others is the rent you pay for your place on Earth.
Joe is a life-long resident of Winthrop, a 1972 graduate of Boston State College, and a 1976 graduate of Suffolk University Law School. He is married to the lovely, talented, and very patient Sheila Hines. We are honored and thrilled to award Joe the Labor Award.