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As the discussion over housing affordability and development gains momentum in Massachusetts, the Carpenters union has established itself as a key player.
This week, Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joe Byrne was sworn in as a member of Governor Maura Healey’s Housing Advisory Council. The group features a select group of industry-leading stakeholders and will advise Healey’s administration as it works to pass and implement the Affordable Homes Act. The comprehensive package of reforms, new policies and $4 billion in spending authorizations is at the center of Governor Healey’s agenda.
The council will “develop a comprehensive housing plan for Massachusetts. The plan will include strategies for substantially increasing housing production, preserving and upgrading existing housing stock, supporting individuals and families struggling with homelessness, and using housing to create economic mobility for all.”
Byrne said he’s proud to represent union carpenters and discuss the inside view of the residential industry the union has gained during the rapid growth of Residential Carpenters Local 723 in the last decade.
“We have a unique view of the industry because of our partnership with developers and employers combined with our training and advocacy for workers,” Byrne said. “We have positive and negative lessons learned that can impact the benefits of state investments in housing production. We appreciate the Governor’s affording us the opportunity to bring these to the discussion.”
When elected, Governor Maura Healey pledged a substantial approach to what is a significant issue throughout the United States. Her transition committee, of which Byrne was a member, began discussions that included the need to address housing. The Carpenters union remained engaged with the administration and shortly after announcing the Affordable Homes Act, Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Labor Secretary Lauren Jones, and Housing Secretary Ed Augustus visited the Carpenters Center to promote the bill while kicking off National Apprenticeship week. It is one of several visits Healey has made to Carpenters union training facilities.