Taking a Flyer

As I walked through Coolidge Corner Friday night, I was intercepted by a nice young woman who handed me a flyer headlined, “When the government puts private wealth in charge of public health, service workers can’t afford to stay healthy.”

The flyer – which opposed the mandatory health insurance created by the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law – came from the Eastern Service Workers Association (ESWA), which describes itself this way:

ESWA is a free and voluntary unincorporated membership association of service and temporary workers and those unemployed or on fixed incomes. We are uniting together with professionals, small business people and other concerned citizens to fight to improve living and working conditions.

Of course, whenever you see the phrase “free and voluntary unincorporated membership association,” you should check to make sure you still have your wallet.

Checking ESWA, on the other hand, is not quite as easy. Stick “ESWA” into the Googletron, for instance, and you wind up with 1,260,000 results, but pretty thin gruel on the information front.

There’s (now-defunct?) Boston Underground’s sandblasting of ESWA from several years ago, and a dyspeptic Yelp review from last year: “This is a political cult. Do not donate to them.


Switch to the Google Newstron, and you’ll find an offhand (and content-free) reference to ESWA in a Media Matters post last week.

And that’s about everything the hardworking staff at Campaign Outsider could find at this time of night.

Inconveniently, the Eastern Service Workers Association itself has neglected to produce its own website.

So we’re left with this question:

What the hell are we supposed to think about ESWA?

Discuss among yourselves.

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8 Responses to Taking a Flyer

  1. Steve Stein says:

    Did you find this? (a newsletter from Peace of Christ Parish in Rochester NY)

    Click to access 2009_July%2019.pdf

    Seems like a basic “economic justice” type organization with very little funding.
    This item promises “more info next week” but there’s little info there.

    The newsletter index page for the parish is here:


    The Social Ministry Committee would like to highlight in
    the next couple of bulletins the description of the important
    work of ESWA to lead into the Back-to-School Campaign
    which we will be running in August, along with our monthly
    Holy Cow collections; in addition, we would like to begin
    recruiting for ESWA’S Canvass Campaign in low-income

    ESWA is celebrating 33 years of determined struggle by and for Monroe County’s working and un-employed poor, accomplished entirely through volunteer effort and support from committed individuals,
    businesses and organizations. Permanent solutions to the growing poverty and unemployment in our community are needed now more than ever.

    Since 1975, ESWA has been spearheading the fight for economic justice in a determined struggle against trickle-down economic policies and other government programs that replace living wage jobs with part-time and low-wage jobs.

    ESWA is a free and voluntary unincorporated membership association joining together service workers, seasonal, part-time, temporary and other low-income workers and their families with students, professionals, clergy, homemakers and business owners to fight to improve living and working conditions.

    We will continue with more information next week………..

  2. dankennedy says:

    John: According to this Wikipedia article, ESWA is part of the National Labor Federation, which really is a piece of work:


    Yeah, I know, Wikipedia. But there are a lot of external links that look respectable.

  3. Steve Stein says:

    All that said, I have a more pertinent question:

    A robust public health care plan is popular and cheaper. Why aren’t these facts discussed by any mainstream media?


    • jcarroll7 says:

      Because they’re more interested in discussing the political machinations around public health care than public health care itself?
      Just guessing.

  4. Robin Fahlberg says:

    ESWA is a part of the National Labor Federation, Natlfed. Here is a link to a website put up by ex-members:
    Although some may say the wikipedia article is biased, it is a good place to start to find information as it has many links to sources.

  5. marystruggler says:

    It is difficult to find out what really goes on in Eastern Service Workers Association or any other affiliate of National Labor Federation. I see someone already referenced my blog. Feel free to correspond if you wish to engage in a dialogue.

    ESWA will not create its own website, nor any NATLFED affiliate. However, there is one volunteer who created a blog on Blogspot. It’s an interesting read.

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