By Joe Gravellese
In an election year, everyone claims to support working people. The way we can truly show we care about workers is by supporting ambitious policy that defends collective bargaining rights, ensures workplace safety, and fights for fair wages and better opportunities for working families.
I’m proud to introduce my campaign’s agenda to fight for working people if elected State Representative by the voters of Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus on September 1:
Cracking down on wage theft: We need legislation that holds large contractors accountable for hiring subcontractors who stiff workers, undercut unions, and shirk safety rules. We need zero tolerance for this behavior and must pass the wage theft bill that continues to languish in the House each year.
Emergency paid sick time: Essential workers like grocery store workers, healthcare workers, bus drivers, and others on the frontlines of COVID-19 should be covered by emergency paid sick time until the pandemic is over. Nobody should have to choose between feeding their families and staying home when they’re sick, especially when they risk spreading a deadly virus.
Harnessing investment in Greater Boston: When commercial projects like the Suffolk Downs development take place, we need to make sure labor agreements include funding for job training, to help build the pipeline to union jobs for residents of that neighborhood.
Building the pipeline: We need an ambitious plan to clear the waiting list for vocational and technical education. Thousands of students want to learn skills that can help them enter a trade, and we need to unlock their ability to do so.
A voice in safety regulations: Labor must be represented on all boards that set safety requirements on job sites. A key priority for Operating Engineers is to have a voice in determining who is eligible for a hoisting license. Labor leaders across the state fought to have frontline workers represented in discussions on safely restarting economic activity. We must always include worker representation in these discussions.
Affordability and transit: Working people can’t get ahead if they can’t afford to live in communities with adequate access to jobs and transportation. We need regional rail, better bus service, repairs to the subway system, and other investments that will reduce traffic and increase equitable access to jobs and housing. These investments will also help us tackle escalating cost of living.
Structural reforms: Every year at the State House, popular legislation – like the bill cracking down on wage theft – dies without ever coming to the floor for a public vote. I am the only candidate in this race to sign the Act on Massachusetts Transparency Pledge, pushing to make more votes public so more well-supported ideas can get to the Governor’s desk and into law.
If elected this fall, I’ll keep all of these items on the forefront as I work in the Legislature.
I’ve demonstrated my commitment to working families not only through my policy agenda, but also through my work in the trenches of state government. As Legislative Director to Rep. Lori Ehrlich when she was vice chair of the Labor and Workforce Development committee, I played a role in passing a bill that protects workers from exploitative noncompete agreements, and pushing for legislation that prevents workers from being unfairly classified as independent contractors.
I have a long, well-documented history of standing up for what I believe in – not just what is politically expedient. What I believe in is fighting for the working families of Massachusetts. You can count on me to do just that if elected as your next State Representative – and this agenda will be at the core of living up to my promise.
Joe Gravellese is a candidate for State Representative.