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Union: Labor Needs 'Seat At The Table' In Reopening

A union representing 20,000 property service workers in Massachusetts, many of whom were deemed essential employees and continue to report to work during the pandemic, praised Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan but called for organized labor to be involved in talks about the next steps.

32BJ SEIU Vice President Roxana Rivera said nearly 4,000 cleaners, security officers and others the union represents have been laid off because of the shutdowns and that the administration's phased reopening plan "could alleviate some of their economic hardships while protecting workers and our vulnerable communities" if it is implemented safely.

"Many of these workers are black, brown, and immigrant working people from our state's hardest-hit locales, putting them at a greater risk for catching and dying from the virus," Rivera said in a press release. "It is crucial that they have access to proper PPE, social distancing standards, and essential pay."

Moving forward, Rivera said, the Baker administration's reopening advisory board should add a "true seat at the table" for organized labor so that workers who would be most affected by a resurgence in cases can offer input.

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