Fred Mason

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Fred Mason

Template:TOCnestleft Fred Mason is a Maryland labor unionist.

Celebrating 100 years of the Party

According to Tim Wheeler a multi-racial crowd from the mid-Atlantic region, Sept. 15, 2019 celebrated the founding of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) a century ago in 1919, filling a church here with singing, poetry, and calls for the ouster of President Trump.

Kuya Kemet, chair of the gathering, welcomed people who traveled from Virginia and Washington D.C. to join the Baltimore crowd.

Keynote speaker Carol Widom, a leader of the CPUSA from Brooklyn, N.Y., assailed Trump for abandoning Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria two years ago. It triggered a massive uprising, she said. “It was a broad struggle that went beyond just trying to get rid of the government.”

Fred Mason, former President of the Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO said he visited the New Era Book Shop in 1966 and met Bob Lee, then the store manager. Mason said he had come to the celebration “as a friend of the CPUSA…. I learned invaluable lessons that helped me over the last 52 years…. friends I could always count on.”[1]

Communist Party's May Day Salute

In 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper People's Weekly World, published a "May Day salute" to the "heroes in the class war zone". More than 100 unionists/activists endorsed the call, mostly known affiliates, or members of the Communist Party.

Fred Mason vice president SEIU Local 1199, Baltimore, was one of those listed[2].



Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.

Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.

Anti-war speakers included Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessen from Military Families Speak Out and Liz McAlister, partner and widow of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan. “No blood for oil!” demanded disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Speaking out for labor against the war: Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME 1707 and Local 215 as well as a co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; Fred Mason, president of statewide Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO; Michael Letwin from U.S. Labor Against War and Dr. Nadia Marsh from Doctors and Nurses Against the War.

ANSWER speakers included Youth and Student Coordinator Peta Lindsay, Elias Rashmawi from the Free Palestine Alliance. Jennifer Wager from IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard from PCJ and Larry Holmes and Brian Becker, both from the International Action Center.

Speakers representing other anti-war coalitions included Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-chair of United for Peace and Justice; Damu Smith from Black Voices for Peace; Medea Benjamin from Global Exchange, and Miles Solay from Not In Our Name.

Jesse Heiwa, from Queers for Peace and Justice, New York, pointed to the growing coalition of lesbian, gay, bi and trans organizations against the war. Brooklyn-based activists Viola Plummer from the December 12th Movement and City Councilman Charles Barron raised the need for anti-racist solidarity, including fighting for reparations. Singer Patti Smith and D.C. cultural artists Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy performed. [3]

US Labour Against the War Involvement

In 2008 Fred Mason was an officer of US Labor Against the War.[4]

Labor Campaign for Single Payer

In 2009 Fred Mason, President Maryland/DC AFL-CIO served on the National Advisory Board of Labor Campaign for Single Payer.

Communist organized healthcare rally

In October 2009, Several hundred community and labor activists rallied at the historic Senator Theater, Baltimore, demanding that Congress pass heath care reform that includes a public option.

A dozen speakers, including Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland AFL-CIO president Fred Mason and Baltimore NAACP president "Doc" Cheatham, called on Congress to act now.

The event was chaired by City Councilman Bill Henry.

In her remarks, event organizer, Communist Party USA member Caroli Mullen targeted "moderate" Congress people who were sitting on the fence, telling the audience that "Democrats better get some spine,"

According to Mullen, reform must be based on the premise that health care is a right, not a privilege.

Mullen said that while she supports a public option, a single-payer system was the best way to provide comprehensive, universal care.

The AFL-CIO's Mason pointed out that union workers often gave up wage and pension increases to save their health care coverage.

Mason called for a plan that covers the 47 million uninsured without punishing insured workers "who have already given and given." [5]

November 2011, ARA event

Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Fred Mason of the Maryland AFL-CIO addressed the inaugural meeting of Maryland/DC Alliance for Retired Americans, November 19, 2011. [6] [7] [8]

Peace Action Advisory Board

Peace Action Advisory Board as of 2014;

"Happy birthday Fidel"


The Baltimore branch of Workers World Party celebrated the 90th birthday of Cuba’s historic leader, Fidel Castro, on Aug. 13, 2016. An introductory panel featured Fred Mason, president of the Maryland/Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO; Leslie Salgado, from Howard County Friends of Latin America; and Cheryl LaBash, a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba. In a “fish bowl” discussion, four young organizers described what socialism means to them, followed by questions and comments from others.

Sharon Black, an independent candidate for City Council president, chaired the meeting, and Andre Powell, mayoral candidate — both from Workers World Party and the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly — spoke in solidarity with the Cuban revolution. Independent City Council candidate Nnamdi Lumumba, of the Ujima People’s Progress Party, also expressed his solidarity with socialist Cuba.[10]

Baldridge friendship

In late 2017, by then weak and frail, Jim Baldridge attended the retirement banquet for his dear friend, Fred Mason, president of the 350,000 member Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO. Mason was at the microphone thanking the crowd when he caught sight of Baldridge sitting at a table. He departed from his speech to praise Baldridge as a model trade unionist, loyal, clear-thinking, always working to unite the ranks of all races, gender, and creed against their common enemy. The crowd burst into applause.

“When Jim became President of the Maryland-D.C. ARA, it was one of the proudest moments of my life,” Mason told the People’s World in a phone interview.

Mason, now“emeritus” president, added, “I recommended Jim for a position on the Executive Board of the Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO.” It was a position Baldridge accepted.

Added Mason, “Jim was the kind of leader who not only showed up at meetings himself, he always brought other workers with him. He was a good and loyal friend. You could always count on him. He was always on the right side of any fight we were in. We loved to talk politics together. He knew how to bring practical know-how together with his ideals. He was anti-racist and always worked to build unity in any struggle we were engaged in. He was not dogmatic. He brought those qualities into the workplace at Johns Hopkins Hospital.”

Mason was Executive Vice President of Local 1199-E, when he met Baldridge in 1989. Baldridge was a Local 1199-E leader in the maintenance department of the hospital. “We needed some strong leadership in that department and Jim provided it.” They became close friends along with other 1199-E stalwarts like Les Bayless, Armeta Dixon, who later was elected 1199-E Vice President, union attorney Steve Godoff and Keith Zimmerman.