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Virginia declares a state of emergency ahead of a pro-gun rally as the nation pauses to celebrate MLK Day.

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The New York Times endorsed Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Amy Klobuchar of MN. Plus, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, candidates spoke at a forum about protecting democracy, "a decade after Citizens United."

Warren Plans Rally in Former Labor Stronghold of Lawrence

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will hold a Saturday rally in Lawrence, Mass., where many expect her to announce a 2020 presidential run. (Joe Crimmings/
Sen. Elizabeth Warren will hold a Saturday rally in Lawrence, Mass., where many expect her to announce a 2020 presidential run. (Joe Crimmings/
February 8, 2019

LAWRENCE, Mass. - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is expected to announce her presidential run on Saturday in Lawrence. Warren chose Lawrence because a famous textile strike there in 1912 helped spark national support for the labor movement.

Today, however, only one chartered union is left in Lawrence: Local 175 of the Laborers International Union of North America. Michael Gagliardi, its business manager, wants politicians to make it less burdensome to join a union.

"What I hope is they would level the playing field, that they would make it easier for people to join a union, as it was in the past," he said, "and that they wouldn't allow corporations to punish employees who decide to join a union."

II's been about 30 years since there was another chartered union here, Gagliardi said, adding that Local 175 has a positive relationship with Warren; her team used the union's office to coordinate some of the activities for Saturday.

Gagliardi said he thinks unions are having a hard time, among other reasons, because more and more employers don't want to hire full-time employees.

"It's an extraordinary struggle every day, especially in a community where people want to hire temporary workers as opposed to have them be full-time workers," he said. "They want to pay with 1099s as opposed to make them employees. They want to pay with cash in the underground economy, because there may be some issues of documentation."

The union currently has about 1,200 members, Gagliardi said, including many workers who are immigrants. He said he hopes people can come together to address common challenges as they have in Lawrence before.

"The number of people with pensions have diminished significantly. People have no savings; Social Security is under attack," he said. "And the real question is, how are people going to band together now, to better their own lives? And that's what I think this presidential election will come down to."

The rally for Warren is to start at 11 a.m. Saturday at Everett Mills in Lawrence. In the latest Iowa caucus polls, she's behind several potential contenders in the 2020 presidential race, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.

A Warren video about the rally is online at

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA