Workers demanded the return of the PRO Act, the Massachusetts wage theft prevention act, and the supporting of gig workers’ rights.
On International Workers’ Day, or May 1, workers across the Commonwealth rallied to build power for working class families, asking legislators to support policies that would address inequities and the choice of workers to join unions. They called for fair wages, workplace rights, and dignity on the job. In MA, $700 million in wages are stolen from 350,000 low wage workers a year, according to a press release. The PRO Act, which the rallying workers called for the passage of, would protect workers trying to organize unions and penalize employers trying to interfere. It also would establish civility and democracy in the workplace. During the rally, participates met in Chelsea, and speakers included Kevin Brousseau of MA AFL-CIO and Natalicia Tracy of the Brazilian Workers Center.
“On this International Workers Day, amidst a global pandemic that has brought so much pain to our lives, working people are coming together in solidarity to say: we deserve dignity and we are fighting for a better world,” said Darlene Lombos, principal officer of the Greater Boston Labor Council. “We demand passage of the PRO Act so that we have a clear pathway to organize into unions and to push back against years of corporate abuse against workers. We are telling the Massachusetts legislature that they must take action against wage theft because an honest day’s work should come with an honest day’s pay. And we are fighting for the rights of gig workers, who deserve the same protection and benefits as all workers in the Commonwealth.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.