Weekly Update: Reopening Mass. Must Ensure A Recovery For All
Dear allies and supporters,
We hope that you had a safe and healthy week. As Massachusetts continues its four-phase reopening process, let’s take a moment to reflect on the pandemic’s impact on our communities. We know that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected low-income residents and communities of color, so our path to recovery must be rooted in supporting the most vulnerable. This also includes establishing long-term structural changes that benefit all of us. As we come out of this pandemic, we must ensure we are all included.
Our partners’ efforts are shaping the post-COVID-19 Massachusetts, and we hope that you will join us in taking action to ensure that these efforts are implemented to the benefit of all working families.
You can help us promote these efforts to your network by sharing our Facebook posts or by following and retweeting us on Twitter. You can also receive regular updates from CLU by signing up on our website.
Post-pandemic, cities must reimagine public transit with safety, access, and racial justice in mind
Transit activists have long called for safety, equity, affordability, and access on the T. From Alternatives for Community and Environment to the Green Justice Coalition to the Fairmount Indigo Transit Coalition and GreenRoots, we’ve joined with our partners and transit unions from across Massachusetts to demand a more fair system.
Riders and transit workers have called for a safer T, since the beginning of the pandemic. As ridership dropped, the T scaled back service. We spoke up, when fewer buses on the road meant crowding for riders and drivers. The T has responded to safety concerns by adjusting service levels, upping cleaning frequency, and starting rear-door boarding, which helps protect drivers and ensures the bus is free.….for now.
But there is more work to be done to protect workers in the long term. We must remain vigilant on crowding and cleaning and demand the T follow the leadership of workers and riders in instituting robust safety measures. Read more here.
All communities must have access to clean air
On May 5, the Green Justice Coalition recognized World Asthma Day, which gives us an opportunity to consider practical solutions to make our communities more equal by promoting cleaner air. The coalition called for environmental justice reforms to reduce the incidence of asthma, especially in the hard-hit communities of low-income residents and communities of color. In two recent op-eds, Nelly Medina, a member of Neighbor to Neighbor, and Tyler Rivera, Director of Climate Justice at Youth on Board, wrote about how this issue affects residents in Worcester and Chinatown, respectively.
Big Problems with Governor Baker’s Restaurant and Hospitality Reopening Workgroup: No Workers, No Public Health Experts, Little Transparency
Baker’s reopening plan calls for restaurants and hotels to reopen in Phase 2 of his four-phase plan, but the rules have not yet been spelled out. The same day the Governor released his “Reopening Massachusetts” report, we learned that a “Restaurant and Hospitality workgroup” had already met to begin hammering out the details. It’s abundantly clear that, like Baker’s broader Reopening Advisory Board (RAB), the Governor’s approach to restaurant and hospitality reopening has some serious problems.
The Restaurant and Hospitality workgroup has a lack of members who are knowledgeable about the people most at stake: public health experts and workers. Of the 13 members, 10 represent the interests of employers. The remainder are municipal or state officials, with not one public health expert, worker or worker representative on the list. Here’s more on the issue.
Protect Providers and Parents
COVID-19 has intensified the need for affordable, accessible child care. As Massachusetts looks to reopen child care in late June, we not only must ensure children and providers are safe in a COVID-19 world, but begin to repair a broken system that has left many families behind. SEIU 509, a member of the Care That Works coalition, is calling on the state to protect families and providers as child care reopens. Tell Governor Baker that we need to rebuild a stronger child care system that actually works for working families.
Reopening plan must protect workers and hard-hit communities
We are calling on Governor Baker to ensure that all ongoing discussions of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response and recovery include robust representation of labor, communities of color, seniors and public health experts from across the State.
If there is a topic we should feature in our weekly communications, please email Lindsay McCluskey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading!
Community Labor United