12:15 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins Lt. Gov. Driscoll to tour a housing project in Worcester and highlight their Article 87 legislation to establish the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities and other housing investments from their budget. Secretary Hao, Mayor Petty, City Manager Batista and other local officials also participate | 90 Grand Street, Worcester
9 a.m. | Supreme Judicial Court meets with five cases on the docket. Two cases deal with the timing of wrongful death lawsuits against tobacco companies Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, and two others concern confidential informant laws | John Adams Courthouse, Room 1, Boston
9:30 a.m. | Brighton-based development company 2Life Communities breaks ground on its first property for middle-income seniors: Opus Newton. | Outside of Coleman House, 677 Winchester St., Newton | Ceremony to take place at JCC Greater Boston auditorium, 33 Nahanton St., Newton
10 a.m. | Women's Bar Association honors former Rep. Liz Malia of Boston as its 2023 Public Official of the Year at its annual legislative breakfast. | Great Hall
12:45 p.m. Workers at UMass Amherst protest against the school's administration. About 100 workers may lose state benefits and pensions if their positions are eliminated and recreated within the private UMass Amherst Foundation. | Outside the Whitmore Building, UMass Amherst Campus
Union organizers aren’t giving up on delivering better benefits to Uber and Lyft drivers. The latest push by a growing coalition of labor leaders and workers would press lawmakers this session to extend significant new protections to drivers on the popular ride-hailing platforms.
Drivers are pushing for legislation that would guarantee them access to a minimum wage, paid sick time, unemployment insurance, discrimination protection and collective bargaining rights.
Union leaders at 32BJ SEIU and the International Association of Machinists are backing the bill, writes the State House News Service, and debate will unfold as the companies weigh whether to launch another ballot question campaign dealing with worker classification and benefits after the courts derailed their effort last year.
After a workers’ rights bill failed to make it onto the last election ballot, unionizers appear ready to wage another campaign, encouraged by the arrival of Gov. Maura Healey. The top Democrat in charge already went to the mat against Uber and Lyft during the lead up to the next election.
Rep. Frank Moran and Sens. Liz Miranda and Jason Lewis are backing the bill. The lawmakers will join drivers and union organizers at noon on Tuesday for a rally at the State House.
Labor organizing has seen a resurgence since business restarted after the pandemic — both in the Bay State and nationally. But over at the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus, unions are flexing their muscles to try to hold onto about 100 jobs that the Professional Staff Union and University Staff Union claim administrators hope to privatize to “avoid public oversight.”
The university sent a letter to the Massachusetts State Retirement Board stating their intention to privatize the jobs after administrators “abruptly broke off negotiations with the unions,” a press release from the unions says. The university’s letter to the retirement board says they must reorganize the staff for “legal compliance purposes.”
The PSU and USA filed unfair labor practice charges against UMass Amherst on Feb. 28 at the state’s Department of Labor Relations for “bargaining in bad faith, retaliation and anti-union activity.” The unions plan to rally and gather petition signatures at 12:45 p.m. on Monday outside the Whitmore Building, UMass Amherst Campus.
UMass Amherst said in a statement to State House News Service that there are legal compliance issues with the university’s staff structure that if unaddressed could impact employees’ eligibility in the state retirement system.
No texting: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu doesn’t text
The city’s top Democrat, in response to a Boston Globe public records request, said she does not text. The newspaper requested texts between Jan. 20 and 27 — the week of the mayor’s state of the city address — and the city did not produce a single one, reporter Danny McDonald said. Boston’s public records officer told the Globe the mayor “does not conduct official City business via text message and does not retain text messages.”
Time’s up: Trump won’t be 2024 GOP nominee, predicts Sununu
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, himself considered a possible candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, predicted Sunday in no uncertain terms that former President Donald Trump won’t win.
“Thank you for your service, we’re moving on,” Sununu said, according to the Boston Herald’s Matthew Medsger.
MassGOP investigation wrapping up
An audit of the MassGOP’s books and an investigation into its spending are nearing conclusion, according to the state Republican party’s leader, but a second query into the prior chair’s involvement with a political action committee remains ongoing.
MassGOP is potentially facing more than $600,000 in unpaid bills left over from when the last chairman, Jim Lyons, led the party through a less-than-stellar November election cycle.
Milton can’t stop this MBTA staircase demolition
A decaying staircase at an MBTA station in Milton will be demolished as planned on Monday, state officials said, despite pushback from town officials who would like to see the staircase repaired rather than removed, writes the Globe’s Nick Stoico.
Local officials have said the stairs leading from Adams Street to the Milton Station platform have been in disrepair for years and claim their requests for the stairs to be fixed went unheard. As the demolition date neared, the town sent a letter to Governor Maura Healey asking her to intervene and unsuccessfully petitioned a Superior Court judge to halt the demolition work.
The Boston Globe | The Boston Herald
No tolerance for Nazis on St. Patrick’s Day
Massachusetts elected officials say they will be partnering with the MBTA this year to crack down on hate groups at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
The lawmakers are working with the MBTA Transit Police to prevent extremists from using public assets to spread violent and racist propaganda. Last year, a neo-Nazi group lined up along the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade route and held a banner that read: “Keep Boston Irish,” WCVB reports.
Domestic violence suspect punches out 2 cops, leaving one unconscious in Newton
Newton Police report two officers responding to a 911 call about domestic violence Saturday night were themselves attacked by a man who tried but failed to grab one of their guns, writes Universal Hub.
The Newton police officers were attacked and punched in the back of their heads. One became unconscious after the attack. Both officers were treated at a local hospital and later released, while the suspect was arrested.
The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe | Universal Hub
Some preach speed in spending amid fears GOP Congress will take back ARPA cash
Some in Worcester want the city to speed up the rate at which it is allocating its $146 million worth of American Rescue Plan Act funds before the Republican-controlled Congress can claw back any unspent money. The Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton reports U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern is urging communities in his district to at least earmark as much of their ARPA funds as possible on the theory that funds with a specific purpose will be harder to call back to D.C.
Unions to protest UMass plan to privatize foundation work
Union workers at UMass Amherst plan to demonstrate today to protest a plan that they say will illegally privatize as many as 100 jobs currently held by members by shifting them to a recently created nonprofit called the UMass Amherst Foundation. Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire has the details.
Springfield mayor unhappy with sudden arrival of homeless families
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno let it be known that he was unhappy with the Healey administration after he got word that the Department of Housing and Community Development planned to move 30 homeless families into a downtown hotel without giving him advance notice or including the city in the planning process.
Bullet dodged: Amazon pauses work on hotly pursued HQ2 project
Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon has paused construction in Virginia on its already delayed and downsized HQ2 project — the supposed economic development white whale that Boston and Bay State cities from Somerville to Worcester had furiously pursued back in 2018.
Feeling nostalgic? Boston’s glossy pitch for why Amazon should set up its East Coast shop here is still online.
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