GA candidate Shannon Liss-Riordan wins endorsement from union representing workers at contaminated Springfield courthouse


The union that represents more than 200 office workers at the beleaguered Roderick L. Ireland courthouse in Springfield has endorsed Shannon Liss-Riordan as attorney general, his campaign told MassLive.

Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer who has positioned herself as a champion for workers after battling companies like Uber, Starbucks and Fedex, launched her campaign for attorney general in late January. The announcement came days after Attorney General Maura Healey announced her candidacy for governor.

Liss-Riordan’s new endorsement of OPEIU Local 6 — which represents about 4,500 workers at the Massachusetts District Court, MBTA and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, among other entities — comes about two weeks after his visit to the Springfield Courthouse with the union.

Liss-Riordan and George Noel, Business Manager of SIEPB Local 6, together called for the closure of the toxic mold-contaminated building. At a press conference, Liss-Riordan said she would not allow attorney general staff to work at the courthouse if she won the election.

Five people who worked at the courthouse have died of ALS, MassLive/The Republican reported last month. There are also 60 associated cancer diagnoses, although the figure is likely much higher.

“This is an unfortunate situation that needs to be addressed,” Liss-Riordan said.

Noel, in a statement to MassLive Friday afternoon, praised Liss-Riordan, saying she’s the “kind of leader” the Bay Staters need in their next prosecutor.

“Shannon doesn’t just talk about fighting for workers, she’s done that her entire career as a labor and civil rights lawyer,” Noel said. “As a lawyer who gets things done, she has recouped hundreds of millions of dollars for workers, and now, as a candidate for Attorney General, she lends her voice to the call for the shutdown of the Springfield’s contaminated courthouse that poisons those inside. .”

In the Democratic race for attorney general, Liss-Riordan faces former Boston city councilwoman Andrea Campbell and Quentin Palfrey, a lawyer and former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Congressman Richard Neal has asked the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, to investigate conditions at the Springfield courthouse. Neal recently reported that he also had the ear of US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, the former mayor of Boston.

Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged last week that there was “a lot more work” to be done at the Springfield Courthouse to reassure employees. His administration has a proposal in the Massachusetts District Court to replace all air-handling equipment — but not to completely replace the courthouse itself. The trial court separately assessed that a $105 million overhaul of the building was necessary.

“We spent a lot of time responding to courthouse requests and we did a lot of work on the courthouse,” Baker said. “I think people who work in construction and have worked in construction are right to be concerned about it.”

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