Liss-Riordan Wants to Bring Her Fight for the Working Class to the AG’s Office

Originally published August 16, 2022 (here)

By Marcus Ferro

WBSM

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor attorney and Democrat candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General, has been at the forefront of the most important legal battles for the working class people of the Commonwealth.

A legal giant-slayer, Liss-Riordan has gone toe-to-toe in the courtroom with corporate behemoths such as Amazon, Uber, and Lyft and emerged with major cash rewards and policy changes for the everyday laborers that are the foundation of our economy.

It’s this experience that Liss-Riordan said separates her from the other candidates in the competitive Democratic primary for Attorney General.

“I am the only candidate in this race who is an actual practicing lawyer,” Liss-Riordan said in a recent appearance on SouthCoast Tonight. “I am the only one who has run a law firm. I’ve spent more than 20 years winning the big battles. I’ve gotten hundreds of millions of dollars back in the pockets of working people.”

Her legal victories as a labor attorney have earned Liss-Riordan an overwhelming majority of the labor endorsements in this race, including the AFL-CIO and more than 50 labor unions across the Commonwealth representing over 500,000 unionized workers.

One of her most recent policy victories for union workers was leading a legal team against a ballot question heavily backed by ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, which essentially sought to make drivers permanent independent contractors and bar them from unionizing. Liss-Riordan’s legal challenge to the Supreme Judicial Court was successful in getting the question kicked off the 2022 statewide ballot this fall.

At a time when the conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court is issuing a cascade of employer-friendly rulings that have left major corporations unaccountable to their workers, Liss-Riordan said that as Attorney General she would use her experience as a practicing attorney working around unfavorable Supreme Court rulings to make better policy for working-class and marginalized people.

She cited one such example.

“Early on in my legal career, I was fighting disability discrimination in a number of cases and the U.S. Supreme Court issued this terrible ruling making it really hard to bring a disability discrimination claim,” Liss-Riordan said.

“So I went to the our Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and I asked them to disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court and they did. Broadening the rights of Massachusetts people to combat discrimination,” she said. “And a few years later, Congress agreed with the Massachusetts Supreme Court and not the U.S. Supreme Court and made that the law of the land.”

She said that’s the type of creative legal thinking she has used.

“I know how to use the court system. I’ve won the jury trials. I’ve won the appeals to help shape our laws to better serve our people,” she said.

In light of the recent decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Liss-Riordan said that Massachusetts needs to pass more protections to solidify Roe in the Commonwealth, and that as Attorney General she will also use her experience to enforce those laws and ensue that Massachusetts a safe place for women seeking reproductive healthcare.

“What I know from my legal career is that getting the right laws on the books is just the first step,” Liss-Riordan said. “Laws don’t enforce themselves. We need a seasoned experienced litigator leading the AG’s Office who knows how to aggressively enforce them.”

Liss-Rirodan has classified herself as a “private Attorney General” because of her decades of experience in labor law and civl rights law and said that becoming an elected Attorney General would be a seamless transition.

“That is how I have viewed the work that I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve been a private Attorney General enforcing our wage laws, enforcing our misclassification laws, protecting workers. I’ve done civil rights work taking on systemic discrimination. So I see the job as Attorney General as a continuation and expansion of the work that I’ve done for more than two decades.”