Commission to hold first meeting on June 29th to study impacts of technology and remote work on the workforce
STATE HOUSE—A new commission led by co-chairs Senator Eric P. Lesser of Longmeadow and Representative Josh S. Cutler of Pembroke will focus on the future of the workplace and the impact of automation, artificial intelligence, global trade, and new data forms on the workforce, businesses, and economy.
The 17-member Future of Work Commission will hold hearings to receive testimony from leaders in workforce training and education, fair labor and workers’ rights, members of the labor community, and members of the business community to help inform a final report with their findings and policy recommendations. The commission’s inaugural meeting will take place on Tuesday June 29, with experts from the Aspen Institute, UMass Amherst Labor Center, and the SEIU scheduled to speak to members on widespread trends impacting the future of work.
“We know the way we work is changing. As COVID-19 crashed into our economy, many gig workers, drivers, musicians, and independent contractors faced a future with no unemployment insurance or workplace protections,” said Senator Lesser, Senate Chair of the Future of Work Commission & Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development. “The nature of work itself has changed in the 21st Century, but we still operate off of a regulatory policy from the 19th Century. I’m excited to hit the ground running with my Co-Chair, Rep. Cutler on the Commission on the Future of Work. We’ll convene the leaders of our state in a dialogue about the future to begin charting the path for a new era.”
“One of the few bright spots of the past year is that it has forced us to reimagine the role of the workplace. As we emerge from the pandemic and look to ensure that no one is left behind in our recovery, this is the ideal time to take a deeper dive into fundamental questions on the future of work—where we work, how we work, and when we work,” said Representative Josh S. Cutler, House Chair of the Future of Work Commission & House Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “We need to ensure that our workforce is properly supported and prepared for the transformations in the nature of work. The House, led by Speaker Mariano and Chairman Michlewitz, has long prioritized workforce development policy and I’m excited to work with Sen. Lesser, our counterparts in the Senate, and the distinguished Commission members, to further this effort.”
The 17-member Future of Work Commission, established pursuant to Chapter 358 of the Acts of 2020, brings together a diverse array of government, business and labor leaders. In addition to the co-chairs, the members are:
Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), Rep. Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston), and Rep. Lenny Mirra (R-Georgetown); Rosalin Acosta, secretary, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Joanne Goldstein, former secretary, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Joe Bevilacqua, president, Merrimack Chamber of Commerce; Steve Tolman, president, Massachusetts AFL-CIO; Harry Dumay, president, Elms College; Lauren Jones, executive vice-president, Massachusetts Business Roundtable; Tonja Mettlach, executive director, Massachusetts Workforce Association; Rahkeem Morris, CEO, Syrg; Al Vega, policy director, MassCOSH; Lisa Bernt, project director, Fair Employment Project; Laura Stout, president, Blue Cross Blue Shield Empowering Abilities; and Miriam Ortiz, director of education and training, Just-A-Start Corporation.
The inaugural meeting of the Future of Work Commission will be held virtually on Tuesday June 29, at 11 a.m. and will be streamed live on Senator Lesser’s Facebook page.