The Boston City Council recently (Aug 8) voted down protections for tenants. The collective bargaining for tenants act was voted down 8-5, in a vote split along racial lines. Only one of the nine white city councilors voted for the law, in a city where the majority of tenants are people of color.
The law was a mild endorsement of organized tenants’ right to collectively bargain with landlords, and it had been watered down several times before being put to a vote. It exempted small landlords, requiring absentee landlords that owned more than 10 units, or local landlords that owned more than 20 units to meet with tenants twice a year to address conditions in the building. No outcome was specified, just a meeting with the tenant association, if one was organized in the building.
The outcome of this vote indicates that the city council, as currently constituted, will not do anything that even slightly discomfits the real estate industry. the law might have even helped big landlords by keeping them abreast of conditions in their buildings.
the Boston city council (with the exception of the 5 councilors who voted pro – Turner, Yancey, Arroyo, Yoon, and Ross) is essentially telling tenants that they are worthless, that they’re not even worth meeting with. and this in a climate of rents vs. income where Boston is just about the worst in the country. meanwhile, councilors Flaherty and Murphy had promised to vote for tenant protections in the last election cycle, and now have reneged on that.
The tenant movements are seeing this as a sign to not depend on the city council for anything for awhile, until we can change the make up of the council. they’re going to organize the city building by building, without the help of any city laws.
I’d be curious to hear how Blue Mass people, especially in Boston, feel about this despicable vote.