MBA testifies in support of HB 1393, a ‘Right to Know’ bill

Issue July 2011 By Jennifer Rosinski

Massachusetts Bar Association Vice President Douglas K. Sheff, chair of the MBA's Workplace Safety Task Force, testified before the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development in favor of a "Right to Know" bill at the Statehouse on June 9.

"When workers are abused, the results range from inadequate pay to broken bones, amputated limbs, brain injury and even death," Sheff said. "Regardless of their individual backgrounds and interest, leaders at the MBA and around the state came together and had the decency to do the right thing. I am certain this committee and this Legislature will do the same."

House Bill 1393 -- which would mandate that workers receive basic information about their employer and their legal rights -- has the support of the MBA's Executive Management Board and its House of Delegates, which earlier this year passed a resolution endorsing the bill. The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office and the Massachusetts office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are also in favor of the bill.

Temporary workers often have limited knowledge of their legal rights, and may not know the correct name of their employer, Sheff said. If injured on job sites, temporary workers are sometimes left abandoned at the hospital. A temporary worker's job location may change before he or she can return after an injury, leaving the burden of medical care and other expenses with the injured worker's family.