|BAC President James Boland, left, receives the 2013 National Labor Leader of the Year Award from Instituto Laboral de la Raza Executive Board President Jaime Gonzalez.|
BAC officers and members were honored at the Instituto Laboral de la Raza's 2013 National Labor-Community Awards dinner on March 22, 2013 in San Francisco. The non-profit Instituto provides training opportunities and a path to union membership for low-income workers in the Bay area and across California. BAC President James Boland was the evening's Guest of Honor and recipient of the National Labor Leader of the Year award. In addition, the Instituto presented its coveted California Labor Leadership Award to Local 3 California, which Local 3 President Dave Jackson and Secretary-Treasurer Tony Santos accepted on the Local's behalf.
In his acceptance remarks, President Boland noted BAC's rich immigrant heritage and the Union's support of immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, adequate worker protections and secure borders. In addition, he noted the importance such reforms will have in accelerating the country's economic recovery:
"I feel a special bond with those who came to this country to find greater opportunity, bringing with them many of the same aspirations that propelled my journey here in early '70s from the west of Ireland…I share in my Union's pride that, as the oldest, continuing trade union in North America, our survival and growth – through some very difficult times – are integrally tied to our capacity to welcome immigrant workers to our ranks.
Putting our immigration system on the right path will also help put our economy back on the right path, along with passing a national minimum wage that people can survive on without sliding into poverty, and restoring collective bargaining rights."