Longtime union member Lillie honored as Labor Person of the Year
PITTSFIELD -- Scott Lillie is a man of few words, but, according to his friends and supporters, many deeds.
"I have never heard Scott say, ‘I'm too busy, or ‘I'm too tired,' " said his friend John Rowley, upon accepting the 2013 Labor Person of the Year award on Lillie's behalf.
The award was given at the 28th annual Labor-Legislative Breakfast, held at the ITAM Lodge on Sunday morning.
"He does very little for himself," continued Rowley. "He does a lot for the community."
"I'm a terrible public speaker," said Lillie after the event. "It's something I don't do well."
A 1989 graduate of McCann Technical Vocational School, Lillie has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local since 1996. He has served in several capacities with the organization, including as a delegate to the Berkshire Central Labor Council in 2008 and as the local chapter's secretary/treasurer since 2011.
In addition, Lillie has raised money for the American Cancer Society. He lost his mother to the disease in 2009.
Two of his children, 7-year-old Michael and 11-year-old Kaylee, read a commendation from another daughter, Courtney, presently a freshman at Salem State.
"I cannot remember when [my father] wasn't involved in making the workplace a better place to be," she wrote. "I am so pleased that he has been recognized."
Lillie did get to the podium near the end of the ceremony to accept his award. He thanked everyone for coming, thanked the people on the podium for their words of praise and noted that it was probably time for the three-hour event to end.
"Let's all go home and watch the Pats," he said.
As usual, the event drew an overflow crowd. Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi and North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright were at the head table, as was Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump, Steven Tolman, the Massachusetts president of the AFL-CIO, George Noel, Deputy Director of the Division of Industrial Accidents and Jocelyn Jones, Deputy Chief of the Fair labor Division of the Attorney General's Office.
U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, was the keynote speaker.
"It's refreshing to realize that [the late Congressman] Silvio O. Conte, although he was a Republican, was always endorsed by the AFL-CIO," said Neal. "That would be almost unheard of now."
Neal recalled that, "in my neighborhood, growing up, the aspiration was to become a tradesman. It was and still is an honorable profession."
Organized labor, said Neal, was an original supporter of the Voting Rights Act. He accused members of the Republican party of trying to limit voters' rights, primarily Democratic voters.
"In fact, let me be candid,' he said. "The argument for voter ID cards is for one reason: To limit the rights of Democrats to vote."
He suggested that the recent government shutdown catered to "a small group of petulant congressmen who didn't get their way, and who decided unilaterally to deprive hard-working federal employees and deserving veterans compensation they worked for."
In addition to Lillie's award, longtime union supporter Arthur Butler was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Albert A. Ingegni was presented with the Friend of the Berkshire labor Council Award.
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