Tony Mazzocchi: Honoring the life of a labor leader, environmental activist and legacy

Whoever frames the debate wins the argument. I first heard Tony speak those words over 20 years ago. There was a group of us (there was always a group of us) standing around a kitchen counter in a Florida hotel suite listening to Tony’s words of wisdom.

When he said that, something just clicked. Over the last two decades I have used these words as the guiding principal for my approach as a union activist.

In around 2000 I was handling an arbitration for a member who had been fired. Chester (who showed up to his arbitration dressed like a cowboy) was a maintenance mechanic assigned to an equipment room that housed a huge compressor.

The compressor suffered $20,000 worth of damage when it threw a rod that blew a massive hole in the side of the machine.

The company blamed Chester for the event and fired him. With Tony’s voice in my head, I reframed the question to point to the machinery as the culprit rather than the operator. The arbitrator accepted our frame of the question and we won the arbitration, including full back pay.

Thank you, Tony.

Learn more about Tony Mazzocchi by clicking here.

Hero photo (The Immortal Tree) courtesy of Kristina Mazzocchi.