In passing the House budget late last night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to strip municipal teachers, police officers and other workers of their rights to bargain over healthcare costs. In a move similar to Wisconsin’s Budget Repair Bill, Massachusetts lawmakers caved to right-wing pressure to blame public employees for budget shortfalls.
Representative Martin J. Walsh was quoted in the Boston Globe: “’municipal workers aren’t the bad guys here,’ he said. ‘They’re not the ones who caused the financial crisis. Banks and investment companies got a slap on the wrist for their wrongdoing, but public employees are losing their benefits.’’’
Most of Western Massachusetts’ representatives voted FOR the cuts to bargaining rights, including purported allies Ellen Story, John Scibak and Peter Kocot. Find out who your legislator is here. To find out if your legislator voted against union rights, click here. Call your Senator, as well as Senate President Therese Murray at 617-722-1500, today to ensure this budget rider does not make it through the Senate.
Some legislators recognize that public employees are not the ones causing a budget crisis. Support An Act to Invest in Our Communities, a bill that would raise revenue by taxing the highest income brackets, but providing larger exemptions for working and middle class people. Join PHENOM in Boston for a Lobby Day on May 5, 2011. For more details on lobbying and the revenue bill see the PHENOM website.