It seems every Baker COVID-19 update has me on the edge of my seat these days: will he or won’t he shut down non-essential construction? Here’s today’s news from Tim Logan of The Boston Globe…
Looks good, right? Hmmmm… how does Baker decide what’s “essential” within the infrastructure and housing sectors? Which infrastructure, what housing? I guess it depends on what lobbyists have him by the shortest hairs. Anything left open is Baker, distilled down to the very essence of his beliefs: wealth over health.
OK, so, why do I care about construction? Short story is I live in Weymouth. Weymouth is the location of an unneeded gas transmission compressor that has ZERO customers in MA and nowhere to go in Canada. Almost 30 vehicles with out of state plates file in the site, 6 days a week. Easily 40 workers on the site, in close proximity, 6 days a week. If you have a twitter account, please visit @ElfOnSite to see a selection of what happens day by day at the compressor site. The site workers break a lot of Baker’s guidelines. We have proof and he doesn’t care.
But as I was advocating for the shut down of this particular non-essential gas project — by the way shutdowns of federal gas projects have happened in PA, Brooklyn — I realized, duh, that thousands of people are quite literally stuck working on job sites in MA because Gov Baker just cannot say no to his peer group, lobbyists, and assorted powerful persons. I noticed that the guidelines about gas were oddly specific and even included stuff that doesn’t even happen in MA… oil extraction? Copy/Paste lobbyist BS.
Thousands of people working non-essential jobs with no oversight or enforcement just so Baker can … what? What kind of person would risk lives for others’ gain, especially when the workers are scared and if they say to their boss “no sir, I don’t want to get sick I’m staying home” and they get fired? Especially when city after city defies Baker’s construction order: Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Nantucket. A selection of worker tweets I happened upon last night display the way things are quite succinctly:
Just last night, the executive board of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council said, NO MORE… and today Baker basically said: “I don’t care” in response.
What do we do when we’re trapped with a Governor who cares more about wealth over health? We die. Slowly due to pollution or quickly due to COVID-19. BOTH of these things are completely avoidable and utterly in Gov Baker hands.
Governor Charles Duane Baker — who misses visits with his 91 year old dad and is SO TALL— is fully willing to use his powers to kill folks for a continued place in his peer group. Never so much as right now are his priorities in stark and high relief. It took a pandemic to expose his horribly skewed values to everyone.
Those of us in Weymouth and the Fore River Basin intimately know where Baker’s priorities lie, he showed us all when he approved the gas compressor over unprecedented outcry and a lengthy fight. I think I can speak for those who are still fighting the stupid compressor: we stand with construction workers. We want you safe and home. We’re not sure where the compressor workers live but we want them safe and home, too.
I hope no one forgets who was willing to sacrifice whom & for what after this terrible pandemic is over. Governor Baker deserves to be raked over the coals for this.
NOTE: I am only referencing construction in this post. I know there have to be more non-essential businesses that have employees that want to be home and safe but are forced to go in. Me writing about construction workers is not intended to slight those workers in any way.