Trinh Nguyen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), testified at the State House today in support of legislation that would require state contractors to comply with workplace laws before receiving new contracts.

Bill H.2723 An Act relating to fair pay and safe workplaces, filed by state Rep. Daniel J. Hunt, would require contractors and subcontractors bidding on state contracts to disclose any violation of workplace laws of the past three years – including health and safety standards, wage laws and civil rights laws. State contracting officers would take any such violations into consideration as part of the review process.

“This bill is very much aligned with Mayor Walsh’s policy priorities and the City’s values to provide fair and equitable opportunities for workers,” Nguyen said in her prepared remarks before the Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight.

The bill sends an important message, she added: “We want every person in Massachusetts to prosper and will implement policies to ensure that goal.”

The City of Boston has implemented a number of safeguards to protect workers’ rights and livelihoods. The Living Wage Ordinance, for example, requires that workers on City contracts worth at least $25,000 are paid a living wage (currently $14.82 per hour). And in 2014, Mayor Walsh expanded OWD’s Wage Theft & Living Wage Division to leverage the authority of the City’s procurements and licenses to ensure employers pay their workers lawfully.

The state bill is modeled in part on the Federal Pay and Safe Workplaces order, created by President Barack Obama in 2014, which required federal agencies to review contractors’ compliance with labor laws in the bidding process. President Donald Trump revoked the order in 2017.

“Now more than ever, individual states need to stand up and reinforce government’s role in protecting basic worker rights that are being stripped at the federal level,” Nguyen said.

Bill H.2723 is part of Mayor Walsh’s 2019 legislative agenda – a series of bills focused on advancing equity and opportunity in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.

OWD Director Trinh Nguyen testifies in support of Bill H.2723 in a hearing before the Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight.
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