End the Prohibition on Strikes for Public Sector Workers

For over 100 years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has considered strikes by public sector workers an unlawful activity. Section 9A of Massachusetts General Law prohibits public employees from striking. 

Section 9A

That Massachusetts continues prohibiting public sector strikes is a shameful mark on the Commonwealth. The right to strike is fundamental. It is only when workers can withhold their labor without the threat of losing their job that they have power in the workplace to win fair wages, fair benefits, and safe working conditions. Further, when public sector workers hold the right to strike, the benefits accrue to many more than just public sector workers. Few people are better positioned than public sector workers to fight for what is best for our communities and to hold those in power accountable. 

The right to strike is a basic human right that has become customary in international law and has been repeatedly affirmed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and numerous human rights organizations. The right to strike is a right enjoyed by public employees in a number of other states in the U.S., as well as many other countries around the world. It is time to end this archaic prohibition.

Campaign Strategy

The Right to Strike campaign has a clear objective: to remove Section 9A from Massachusetts General Law by passing H.1946, An Act Protecting the Right to Strike. As part of the Commonwealth’s supplemental budget process in the fall of 2021, state representatives will file amendments to the budget. Those amendments will range in substance from earmarks for local parks to complete pieces of legislation, such as the bill removing the ban on public sector strikes.

Our campaign is working with state representatives who have committed to file an amendment removing Section 9A from law during the supplemental budget debate this fall. Our job as a campaign is to build pressure on enough representatives to pass the amendment. Public employees and allies across the state are organizing a statewide campaign in state representative districts to ask our representatives to stand with public employees.

Endorsing Union Locals (to Date)

  • AFT Amesbury
  • Billerica Federation of Teachers
  • Gloucester Teachers Association 
  • Haverhill Education Association
  • Malden Education Association
  • Somerville Educators Union