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Critical Mass: Elected Union Members Tip Scales Toward Justice in Collective Bargaining Win in Bay State

Steven Tolman
Massachusetts AFL-CIO

The Massachusetts Legislature last week overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of a key collective bargaining bill and passed the strongest response to the Janus vs. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision to date. The new law will allow unions to charge non-member employees for representation in arbitration cases and other disputes and is one of the most comprehensive state legislative responses to the court’s Janus decision, which unfairly prohibited those fees.

“Today the state legislature made a strong statement that unions are in the public interest and will remain a strong force for economic fairness in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman (IAM) after the bill became law. “The overwhelming bipartisan votes to override Governor Baker’s veto by the House and Senate this week demonstrate that unions are not a partisan issue in Massachusetts.”

Rep. Peter Capano (IUE-CWA), who was elected last fall with full union support, was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the Legislature. “We are helping workers raise themselves back up, and that’s why I’m proud to be part of this legislature here,” Capano said in his rousing inaugural floor speech as a union member legislator. “The labor movement is on the rise, and we are here today to help them do that.”

Tolman also thanked the leadership in the Legislature and all the legislators who overwhelmingly passed this important legislation. “On behalf of the members of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, I thank Speaker [Robert] DeLeo and Senate President [Karen] Spilka for their leadership, and all members of the legislature who stood with us,” he said.

Check out Capano's speech online.

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