Top state labor leader wins World Peace Prize

AFL-CIO leader Steve Tolman is pictured with Fr. Sean McManus and Barbara Flaherty, both officers of the Irish National Caucus based in Washington DC.

Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, was presented with the World Peace Prize as a “Roving Ambassador for Peace” at a ceremony on Jan. 15 at Dorchester’s Florian Hall.

Rev. Dr. Han Min Su, who founded the World Peace Prize in Seoul, South Korea, in 1989, is a Presbyterian minister.

The presentation was made by Rev. Sean McManus, chief judge of the World Peace Prize and president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus; the ceremony was chaired by Barbara Flaherty, a judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council, and executive vice president of the Irish National Caucus.

The World Peace Prize Awarding Council consists of a 14-member board of international and interfaith panel of judges comprised of representatives of the world’s nine major religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Russian Orthodox, and Zoroastrianism.

“Working for peace, locally or globally, means, in effect and of necessity, working for social justice,” said Rev. McManus. “Therefore, members of the labor movement are ideally qualified to be recipients of our World Peace Prize.

“Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO — a charismatic, energetic, and passionate labor leader— eminently deserves this prize. As Pope John Paul II has said, ‘Peace is the fruit of solidarity.’ And the American labor movement knows a thing or two about solidarity.”
Said Tolman in his acceptance speech: “I am humbled by this award because I truly believe that every union leader and activist is worthy of the same recognition. We’re all working day in and day out for justice… On behalf of our members, on behalf of fairness in the workplace, on behalf of all working people who deserve a voice and their fair share.

As Martin Luther King said: ‘As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. ‘Thank you for the honor of receiving this award.”

Tolman’s full speech will be available soon on the website