BOSTON (WWLP) – Whenever someone commits a crime, they are guaranteed the right to an attorney, well now those public defenders are fighting back for job security and better wages.
During a demonstration at the statehouse on Thursday, dozens of current and former public defenders called on legislators to allow them to form a union.
Right now under Massachusetts law, public defenders can’t unionize, and they feel they haven’t been given a reason why.
“We have more than enough support in both houses to get this bill passed if it comes to a vote, but for some reason, the speaker has not allowed this bill to come to a vote,” Rachel Scotch from the Massachusetts Defenders Union said.
While some lawmakers seem to oppose their right to collectively bargain, others saw this as an issue and wanted to help public defenders because their job is so important to people all across the Commonwealth.
“Your kid gets in trouble and you don’t have money and you’re trying to make sure that this mistake that your young person made doesn’t ruin their lives forever, these people come to your aid and they help you through the process,” Representative Patricia Haddad said.
The group of public defenders said they aren’t just fighting for their right to join a union, they are fighting for other state employees who love their job but can’t stay because job security isn’t guaranteed and neither are wage increases.
This is the sixth year in a row public defenders have filed this bill, and they are hoping that demonstrations like the one will finally give their bill the push it needs to go up for a full vote.