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The A. Philip Randolph Institute: A Voice for Black Workers Promoting Racial, Social and Economic Justice

As a union, we know there is no economic justice without racial justice. For decades, Black labor union members have organized to win social, political and economic justice for all working Americans through the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Founded by and named after Asa Philip Randolph, the great union and civil rights leader who led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, organized the 1963 March on Washington, and helped win numerous civil rights victories, the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) is a Constituency Group of the AFL-CIO, bringing together local unions across industries to fight together for shared goals. With more than 125 Chapters in 36 States, APRI members are involved in political education, lobbying and legislative action, community and union organizing.

The APRI Greater Boston Chapter became an official chapter in 2013 and brings together members in Boston, Springfield, Fall River and other communities throughout Massachusetts. The Greater Boston Chapter is affiliated with The Greater Boston Labor Council, AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and is currently led by President Johnny McInnis, Political Director at the Boston Teachers Association and a Vice President of AFT Massachusetts.

“Asa Philip Randolph was a legendary figure in the labor movement and the civil rights movement, and we’re carrying on his work today by bringing the entire labor movement together in the fight for racial justice at work, in our schools, and throughout our communities,” says McInnis. “We invite members from local unions to join us in raising the voices of Black workers and advancing the cause of social and economic justice for working families throughout Massachusetts and across the nation.”

Active members of the A. Philip Randolph Institute Greater Boston Chapter include the Boston Teachers Union, the Carmen’s Union, United Steelworkers, IBEW, and Unite Here, among others. The Chapter regularly engages in political and union activism, such as phone banking, education, and a virtual caravan to help win the Georgia Senate election, holding a toy drive to help Unite Here families who were on strike, voter registration efforts during the 2020 Presidential Election, and organizing to push for equity in various job fields. In June, the Chapter will be holding a virtual award ceremony for members in the community who are supporting labor initiatives.

The APRI Greater Boston Chapter meets on the 4 th Tuesday of the month, previously at the Boston Teachers Union hall and currently virtually. Individual union members can join by sending a $20 check affiliation fee and their contact information to the Chapter’s offices at 33 Harrison Avenue, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02111. Local unions can join as an organization by calling the Chapter at 617-723-2639. AFT Massachusetts is a proud member of the APRI Greater Boston Chapter and encourages AFT locals and members to join as well.

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