Growing up on the East Coast with a civil rights lawyer father, some of Matthew Mason’s earliest memories were of walking rent strike picket lines with migrant workers. Educated as a lawyer and practicing for a short time, Matthew became disillusioned with law and quit the field. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Literature Theory and American Literature, he found his way into labor organizing with SEIU 1199 in Connecticut, one of the most militant and radical unions in the country. Some of his proudest moments in the movement were taking part in the yearlong Spectrum strike and helping parents and residents fight the privatization of group homes for the mentally disabled.
Matthew and his wife moved to California after his wife finished her PHD, where he worked for the Teamsters and SEIU before coming to IFPTE Local 21. His proudest accomplishment while in the labor movement has been the development of new leaders and the empowerment of memberships while he was their assigned organizer. “I firmly believe the workers must be the central figures in their own liberation,” said Matthew.