For Immediate Release
Tanya Aquino, 321-960-3802
Nancy Kohn, 617-522-9478
Working Families Lobby for Financial Transparency in Public Contracts
State legislators stand with janitors, security officers, and cafeteria workers calling for financial transparency, increased accountability in publicly funded contracts
BOSTON - Today at the state house, nearly 50 janitors, security officers, cafeteria workers and community organizations stood alongside three elected officials supporting legislation to ensure accountability and transparency with taxpayer dollars. Companies and institutions that receive public funding should meet high standards of financial accountability and transparency, especially at this time of great budgetary strain.
Lead sponsors Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Martin Walsh and Senator Patricia Jehlen spoke respectively to three bills which will root out hidden money that should be feeding and nourishing students at public colleges and universities, improve the safety and security services in public spaces, and increase financial transparency and strengthen reporting in private, non-profit higher education institutions which receive big tax breaks.
"Some universities have made poor financial decisions mimicking Wall Street’s bad behavior,” said Senator Patricia Jehlen referring to An Act to Establish Tax Transparency and Strengthen the Reporting Requirements of Public Charities and to Establish Reporting Requirements for the Trustees and Directors of Public, S790 and H3003. “That is why we require new tools such as transparency and conflict of interest laws to encourage accountability and informed policy."
Westfield State University student Patrick Burke spoke to An Act to Preclude Contractors from Retaining Rebates that would Undermine the Integrity of the Public Procurement Process, S577 and H355 saying, “While many students are working to make their campuses healthier and more sustainable, food service outsourcing giants could be undermining our efforts by cheating our public colleges and universities out of up to $7.7 million annually in hidden discounts. That money can be used to restore programs and services we have lost during the economic downturn or go toward healthy, local options in the cafeterias.”
“I think the companies that our cities and state hire to provide security services should be offering good jobs to Massachusetts residents,” said security officer Antonio Miles in reference to proposed legislation, An Act to Enhance the Quality of Security Services on State Property, S1572 and H548. “When our taxes go to hiring companies, they should offer a high quality of service, and a willingness to contribute to our community, not cut corners at our community’s expense.”
With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.