Anna F. Sullivan, Pioneer in the Labor Movement and Western Massachusetts' First Lady of Labor - Congressional Record: September 27, 1983

Anna F. Sullivan, Pioneer in the Labor Movement and Western Massachusetts' First Lady of Labor  (1983) 
by Edward P. Boland

Anna F. Sullivan, Pioneer in the Labor Movement and Western Massachusetts' First Lady of Labor. Congressional Record. September 27, 1983. Extensions of Remarks. Page 26005. 98 Cong. Rec. (Bound) - Volume 98, First Session

Anna F. Sullivan, Pioneer in the Labor Movement and Western Massachusetts' First Lady of Labor
________
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
OF
HON. EDWARD P. BOLAND
OF MASSACHUSETTS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, September 27, 1983

Mr. BOLAND. Mr. Speaker, the working people of Massachusetts and many of the State's present and former public officials have lost a great supporter with the death last week of Anna F. Sullivan of Holyoke, former manager of the Holyoke Joint Board of the Textile Workers Union of America.

Once described at a testimonial dinner as Western Massachusetts' First Lady of Labor, Anna Sullivan went to work in the Holyoke silk mills of William Skinner & Sons at age 14 after the turn of the century. She was an early pioneer in the labor movement in Massachusetts, getting her start as a member of the weavers union in 1932. Later she helped to form the Textile Workers Union at the Skinner Silk Mill and in 1936 she was elected secretary of the local.

She was manager of the Holyoke Joint Board of the Textile Workers Union, which included Greater Springfield, from 1944 to 1966. She was manager of the Berkshire Joint Board in Pittsfield from 1958 until 1966. She also helped to form the first Congress of Industrial Organization Union in western Massachusetts, and later was an organizer for the national staff of the CIO.

Anna Sullivan was a representative for the Springfield office of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination from 1966 until her retirement in October 1972. She was an active member of the political committee of the Springfield-Chicopee-Westfield Labor Council and political director on the board of directors of the Springfield Chapter of the American Red Cross. She was a member of the War Manpower Commission from 1941 to 1945, the Western Massachusetts Office of Price Administration from 1941 to 1945 and the rent control board from 1946 to 1952.

Anna Sullivan was the Democratic nominee for the First Congressional District in 1950, and was a close personal friend of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

She was an active member and director of the Springfield Orchestra Association, the Holyoke Community Chest and the Visiting Nurses Association of Holyoke.

Mr. Speaker, Anna Sullivan was a great and gracious lady and a close personal friend of mine for many years. I want to extend on behalf of the Massachusetts congressional delegation our profound sympathy to the members of her family. I also ask permission to have included with my remarks an editorial on Anna Sullivan printed in the Springfield Sunday Republican on September 25: The article follows:

Anna Sullivan Labor Pioneer

When Anna F. (Burns) Sullivan went to work in a Holyoke mill at the age of 14, the 20th Century was also still in its teens.

When she became actively interested in the labor movement in 1932, the nation found itself in the depths of the Great Depression.

When she helped to organize the Textile Workers Union at Holyoke's William Skinner & Son mill in 1936 and became its secretary, she was firmly established in the labor movement.

When she died in Holyoke Thursday at the age of 79, she left behind an impressive record in the movement as well as in the community at large.

In recent decades of her long and productive life Mrs. Sullivan was referred to as "Western Massachusetts' first lady of labor," an unofficial title of respect and admiration that she had earned by her dedicated service to the movement.

She helped to form the first Congress of Industrial Organizations union in Western Massachusetts, and later became an organizer for the national staff of the CIO.

From 1944 to 1966 she was manager of the Holyoke Joint Board of Textile Workers, for a region that included Greater Springfield, and she was manager of the Berkshire Joint Board in Pittsfield from 1958 until its end in 1966.

Among her other labor affiliations, she was a member of the political committee of the Springfield-Chicopee-Westfield Labor Council.

Her legendary stamina and energy was also directed to the War Manpower Commission from 1941 to 1945, the Western Massachusetts Office of Price Administration from 1941 to 1945 and the Rent Control Board from 1946 to 1952. In 1950 she was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress.

She was a representative for the Springfield Office of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination from 1966 until her retirement in 1972. She was a director of the Springfield Orchestra Association, the Holyoke Community Chest and the Visiting Nurses Association of Holyoke.

Mrs. Sullivan grew up with the labor movement in Western Massachusetts, and was a major influence in labor's hard-won struggle.

The 1950s-era photo published along with her obituary in The Morning Union carries a union "bug"—a logo identifying the photographic print as the product of a union worker. Of course.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).