Labor & workforce development

Senator Friedman has sponsored the following bills relative to labor and workforce development in the 2019-2020 legislative session:

S939 An Act relative to sexual harassment

  • Summary: This bill would update the Commonwealth’s laws pertaining to workplace discrimination and sexual harassment to ensure that alternative, non-employee workers, such as investors, volunteers and independent contractors, are offered the same protections under the law as traditional employees.

S1075 An Act amending the unemployment insurance law for workers with fluctuating work schedules

  • Summary: This bill would fix a loophole in current unemployment insurance (UI) law. Currently, workers that have been employed for the same length of time and earned exactly the same amount of wages may have unequal access to UI benefits depending on how those wages were distributed between two calendar quarters of the year preceding their claim for benefits.

S1076 An Act relative to establishing a prevailing wage for security guard services

  • Summary: This bill would mandate payment of the prevailing wage for security guard services contracted by the Commonwealth, similar to the existing prevailing wage requirement for cleaning and maintenance services. It would also extend the prevailing wage mandate to quasi-state agencies contracting for cleaning, maintenance or security guard services.

S1077 An Act relative to fair pay for comparable work

  • Summary: This bill would address disparities between the rate of pay for human service workers employed directly by the state and those employed by agencies with which the state contracts. It would require the state, over the course of five years, to increase its rate of reimbursement for human services providers in order to reduce and ultimately eliminate the pay disparity.

S1850 An Act relative to state contracting

  • Summary: This bill would close a loophole in existing law to ensure that cleaning and maintenance workers working in quasi-state agencies would have the same right to be paid the prevailing wage as those working in state-owned facilities.

Senator Friedman has co-sponsored the following bills relative to labor and workforce development in the 2019-2020 legislative session:

S690 An Act promoting workforce development and provider retention at community health centers

  • Summary: This bill would help Community Health Centers (CHC) address one of their biggest challenges, which is hiring and retaining high quality providers in a low-cost setting. This legislation would establish a Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Residency Program at CHCs that would provide NP’s with the opportunity for additional training and experience with complex patient populations.

S1043 An Act relative to collective bargaining dues

  • Summary: Last year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned forty years of precedent by ruling against unions in the case Janus v. AFSCME. Bankrolled by anti-labor special interests, the case was pushed to the Supreme Court to strike a financial blow to public sector unions, and thereby weaken the entire Labor Movement. While unions are doing everything in their power to remain a strong force for economic fairness in the wake of the Janus, this critical legislation will help to ensure that stays the case. It does so by: protecting the privacy of personal contact information for public employees; ensuring certain union access to public sector work sites where they represent employees; clarifying the terms of union membership/payroll deduction of union dues, and; allowing unions the option of charging non-members for the reasonable costs of representation during the grievance or arbitration process.

S1064 An Act relative to enhanced enforcement of civil penalties

  • Summary: This bill would authorize the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to enforce wage and hour violations directly in Massachusetts courts. This legislation would also provide the AGO with the tools needed to protect employee wages and related rights through civil litigation.

S1066 An Act to prevent wage theft, promote employer accountability, and enhance public enforcement

  • Summary: This legislation would ensure that workers receive the wages they are rightfully owed by holding lead contractors accountable for a subcontractor’s wage violations. It would also provide the Attorney General with the authority to issue Stop Work Orders at worksites with ongoing wage violations and the ability to pursue wage violations directly in Superior Court. In addition, it would allow aggrieved employees and other whistleblowers to bring public wage enforcement actions on behalf of, and supervised by, the Attorney General.

S1072 An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment, without regard to protected class status

  • Summary: This bill would provide education, awareness and incentives for employers to prevent abusive treatment of employees in the workplace. Further, it would protect employees who report abusive treatment from retaliatory practices from employers and coworkers, and outlines compensational practices for employees who are found to be victims of abusive workplace treatment.

S1086 An Act relative to transparency in employee benefits reporting in private construction

  • Summary: This bill addresses the underground economy in the construction industry by requiring employers to post documentation on jobsites for large projects demonstrating compliance with worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance (UI) requirements. Under current law, there are few mechanisms to enforce on employers who may misclassify employees as independent contractors, pay employees cash under the table, or under-report or misclassify the number and types of workers employed. This results in substantial revenue losses for the Commonwealth and is harmful to workers as well as the many construction employers acting in good faith. Requiring that this insurance information be posted would not substantively change employer obligations; it would simply add a layer of transparency to compliance with current statutory requirements and would make violators easier to identify.

S1093 An Act requiring health care facilities to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence

  • Summary: This bill would require hospitals to implement workplace safety programming to reduce and prevent the incidence of workplace violence against staff or other patients.

H1627 An Act amending the unemployment insurance law for workers with fluctuating work schedules

  • Summary: N/A

S2193 An Act to invest more in middle class jobs and less in the relocation of out-of-state corporations

  • Summary: General Electric (GE) recently announced that it is substantially reducing the scale of its relocation to Fort Point Channel in Boston. As a result, GE will be returning $87 million in incentive funds back to the Commonwealth. This legislation would redirect those funds toward addressing the substantial waitlists at the Commonwealth’s vocational schools.