Legislature to hear employee benefit bills

The Legislature's summer recess is over and hearings on key bills will resume shortly. 

Several major MTA bills relating to employee benefits have had hearings before the Public Service Committee and have been either reported favorably, referred to study, or are still being reviewed by the committee.  For the status of these bills, please check the Legislative Tracking Chart.

However, there are several bills of importance to many MTA members that have yet to be heard by Public Service and they are listed below.  MTA recommends that members contact their state representatives and senators requesting that they lobby the Senate and House co-chairs of Public Service (Sen. Ben Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington) to report favorably the bills of importance to them. 

Call the State House Switchboard at (617) 722-2000 and ask to be connected to your legislators' offices. Look up information on your legislators, including their email and mailing addresses, here.

Important bills scheduled for hearings before Public Service are listed below. The hearings are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in room B-2.

HB 591: An Act Relative to the Regulation of School Labor Disputes
Principal Sponsor: Rep. Martin Walsh (D-Dorchester)
Hearing Date: Thursday, Sept 20
Provides for a final arbitrator award, binding on both parties, in order to settle school contract disputes that have reached impasse.  Monetary features would be subject to the approval of the local legislative body.  If there is no local legislative body approval, the matter goes back for further bargaining.  Follows what is currently in statute for public safety disputes, but tailored to fit the school situation.

SB1513: An Act Relating to Teacher Retirement
Principal Sponsor: Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville)
Hearing Date: Thursday, Sept 27
Permits teachers laid off due to budget cuts, through no fault of their own, to purchase up to 3 years layoff time as creditable service toward retirement. Filed with the American Federation of Teachers - Massachusetts (AFT-MA).

SB1631: An Act Relative to Non-Public School Service
Principal Sponsor: Sen. Steven Pangiotakos (D-Lowell)
Hearing Date: Thursday, Sept 27
Permits K-12 teachers and higher education faculty who taught in non-public educational institutions to purchase up to three years of that service toward retirement. Filed with the American Federation of Teachers - Massachusetts (AFT-MA).

The Public Service Committee is the first committee to hear all bills relating to employee benefits such as retirement, health insurance, and collective bargaining.  Favorable reports from that committee requiring state funding are usually referred to either House or Senate Ways and Means for fiscal review and discussion.