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August 13, 2021

HOLYOKE — Rebecca Lisi is the elected official that working families need in office, said the Western Mass Area Labor Federation (WMALF) in endorsing Lisi for mayor.

“We are excited to endorse Rebecca Lisi for Holyoke mayor,” WMALF Executive Director Lydia Wood said Thursday.

“Rebecca has been a long-time champion for Holyoke workers and families in her role as a city councilor, fighting among other things for quality public education, an end to wage theft, public investments that benefit the community and economic development that doesn’t leave workers behind. 

“She is just the kind of strong advocate we need in the office of mayor and we look forward to continuing our work together once she’s elected mayor.”

Lisi, 42, is running for mayor of Holyoke on the strength of her 14 years as a city councilor at large.

“I am so honored to have earned this key endorsement from the Western Mass Area Labor Federation and to know that my record as a city councilor has translated to a confidence that working families have in my ability to lead the City of Holyoke as their Mayor,” said Lisi. 

The Springfield-based WMALF has 67 affiliate labor groups and 30,000 members, said President Jeff Jones, of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459.

“And we are growing,” Jones said.

The backing of WMALF shows that support for Lisi keeps getting stronger. 

In her run for mayor, Lisi has been endorsed by UFCW Local 1459, Massachusetts Nurses Association, and the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.

Mass Alliance, which is a coalition of political and advocacy organizations dedicated to making Massachusetts more progressive, recognized Lisi with “Rising Star” status as 

Lisi has been endorsed by the Western Mass Area Labor Federation (formerly Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO) in each of her seven races for city council at-large.

Lisi herself is a former member of Graduate Employee Organization, UAW 2322, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she was pursuing an advanced degree in political science.

Working families know Lisi is well-versed in issues essential to unions such as workers’ right to organize.

In the WMALF endorsement questionnaire, Lisi said the right to collective bargaining helps workers achieve living wages, healthcare, training and other opportunities. 

“I support workers’ right to organize because it not only guarantees fair compensation in the workplace for laboring activities, but it also serves to politicize labor so that workers’ social and economic interests are more easily understood within a political context,” Lisi said.

She would fight proposals to establish barriers to collective bargaining or give employers powers to obstruct worker organizing, she said.

Lisi joined acting Holyoke Mayor Terence Murphy in support of a plan to require that contractors on city jobs pay employees properly. The proposed wage theft ordinance would be aimed at ensuring not only that workers get the pay due to them, but also that contractors pay taxes and workers’ compensation.

In 2018, Lisi fought for retention of the union contract when the city was considering a new bussing contract and possible switch to a vanpool.

A year later, Lisi supported UFCW 1459 workers striking at Stop & Shop in Holyoke.

“As a mayor who values organized labor, I will be a full faith negotiator and work to build consensus around the compromises that each side will make in a negotiation,” Lisi said.

“Ideally, both sides walk away from the table understanding the concerns and constraints within which the other side is working and there is a mutual sense of compromise.”

Lisi’s budget priorities are to establish a capital stabilization fund to ensure building, vehicle and maintenance needs get addressed regularly; install a centralized municipal finance department; and reign in police spending.

“Holyoke’s finances are not in particularly robust standing, but we are not in dire straits or risk of state receivership,” Lisi said. “The issues we face are less about the budget and more about how to create fiscal policies that help manage our finances and create efficiencies.”

Lisi has sought to help the community and police by calling for an independent assessment of the Holyoke Police Department. Currently under discussion in the City Council Public Safety Committee Lisi’s proposal is that, in an effort to obtain neutral, fact-based data and statistics, the city contract an independent assessment of Holyoke Police Department’s structure, policies and practices.

Half or more of the city of Holyoke’s 40,000 population are Latino, and Lisi’s bilingual campaign reflects that. She makes remarks at events in English and Spanish and her website is in English and Spanish.

Lisi has addressed topics in recent candidate forums including the need to deal with housing displacement, poverty, racism, gentrification and the state receivership controlling Holyoke’s public schools.

Four pillars dominate Lisi’s campaign for mayor: economic development, education, welcoming newcomers and civic engagement.

Voters will narrow the field of candidates for mayor to the top two vote-getters in the preliminary election Sept. 21. Those two will compete for mayor on Election Day Nov. 2. 

Vote for Lisi!

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