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North End restaurants challenge outdoor dining fee and the future of work in Massachusetts46:56
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A man jogs past cafe tables placed in the closed parking lane on Hanover Street, Friday, June 12, 2020, in the North End neighborhood of Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
A man jogs past cafe tables placed in the closed parking lane on Hanover Street, Friday, June 12, 2020, in the North End neighborhood of Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

This is the Radio Boston rundown for March 31. Anthony Brooks is our host.

  • A number of restaurant owners in the North End are upset over Mayor Michelle Wu's plan to make them pay $7500 if they want to continue with an outdoor dining program that began during the early days of the pandemic. Some owners say the fee is too high. Others call it discriminatory and are threatening legal action against the mayor. This week, Mayor Wu offered what sounded like a compromise: Restaurants can pay the fee in installments, or they can pay a reduced fee if they opt for outdoor patios for only a part of the season. Wu also said the city would offer hardship waivers for qualifying establishments. Wu says the compromise came as a result of talks with restaurant owners in the neighborhood. We speak with one of them, Phillip Frattaroli, co-owner of Filmark Hospitality which manages Lucia's Ristorante and Ducali Pizzeria in the North End, as well as Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who represents District 1 (which includes the North End), and Paul Scapicchio, a lifelong resident of the North End, and the former City Councilor for District 1 from 1997 to 2006.
  • We're just a week away from baseball. The Red Sox are still warming up in Florida, but opening day – against the Yankees – is next Thursday. We preview the upcoming season with Boston Globe sports reporter Alex Speier.
  • Some workers are already returning to the office, while others are choosing to keep working from home. And in an effort to please both, Massachusetts companies are increasingly embracing a hybrid workplace. All this brings new challenges that underscore how the pandemic will continue to affect daily life for many businesses and their employees. That's the focus of a new report from the state legislature on the future of work. The study concludes that the pandemic, social and racial justice movements, and new technology in the workplace require big changes in how future workers are trained, employed, and supported by the state and their employers. State Senator Eric Lesser of Western Massachusetts co-chaired the Future of Work Commission. He joins us to lay out the findings and share what the legislature can do to help Massachusetts meet the coming challenges. Then we speak with Miriam Ortiz, Director of Education and Training at Just-A-Start in Cambridge, which provides career training, and Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal, to discuss what they need on the ground to help workers succeed in a new economy.

This program aired on March 31, 2022.

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