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Supports union recognition for state Senate staffers

The following letter is from Rachel Roth of Chandler Street.


As the legislative session enters its final two weeks, I would like to thank the hardworking staff in the State House and express my strong support for the union recognition campaign by Senate staffers. I ask the Senate President to recognize the Massachusetts State House Employee Union, and urge our Senator, Cindy Friedman, and Senate leadership to support it.

When I was in graduate school, I was part of a movement to unionize teaching assistants. In addition to pay, we had other concerns, including the need for a grievance procedure to resolve disputes and access to health insurance for LGBTQ life partners – something many take for granted today.

University administrators and some professors who opposed our drive tried to argue that we were “apprentices,” not employees. Although the National Labor Relations Board eventually settled that dispute in teaching assistants’ favor, there can be no question that legislative aides, budget-and-policy analysts and district directors are employees.

As a policy advocate, I depend on legislative staff for information and assistance with advocacy campaigns. Many Massachusetts residents depend on staff for help with all sorts of bureaucratic problems. One legislator told me 90 percent of what her office does is constituent service, the hidden work we don’t see or appreciate until we need it.

All employees should be able to join together to improve working conditions. Let’s stand with the Senate staff to win recognition of their union before the end of the session.

This letter was published Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

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