UMass Dartmouth union president awarded for labor activism

Oct 29, 2021

Nicholas Gula, president of the AFT Maintainers Union at UMass Dartmouth, was recently given an award from the Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council for his work in labor activism in the past year.

Gula connected state officials with the furloughed workers from the Dartmouth campus to access unemployment insurance as University of Massachusetts system campus executives pursued layoffs, furloughs, and program cuts as cost-saving measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He fought for proper PPE, cleaning supplies, overtime and mostly to make sure he and his members had a voice at the table with campus management with health and safety concerns,” Labor Council President Lisa Lemieux said. “In addition, he is a delegate at the [Labor Council] and has become our music /sound guy at all of our rallies — he goes above and beyond and helps and recruits for several campaigns and drives.”

Gula was co-awarded with Lisa Field of the Massachusetts Nurse’s Association, who helped coordinate the Labor Council’s food and diaper drives.

Honors also went to State Rep. Pat Haddad (D-Fall River), Coaltion for Social Justice Executive Director Deborah Fastino, and AFL-CIO political strategist Bob Bower.

“There were so many people who stepped up during the pandemic...and it was impossible to pick just one candidate,” Lemieux said.