MARCH 2020  

Dear Members,

During this unprecedented crisis, I want to take a moment to thank every Roundtable member for all you are doing to keep employees, customers and communities safe and healthy.

We are tapping into the expertise of Roundtable members by convening weekly conference calls every Wednesday at Noon featuring a few speakers on each call. We are also amplifying the great work that Roundtable members are engaged in across the state as we communicate with public sector leaders.

If you have ideas or suggestions for ways the Roundtable can continue to add value during this crisis, please share those with us. Given that we are working remotely right now, please reach us through email.

Thank you and be well.


Health & Science Experts from Roundtable Members Lead Conversation with Business Leaders on COVID-19
In place of MBR’s regularly scheduled March 18th Board meeting, the Roundtable convened a conference call for members to hear from experts at Mass General Hospital, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, The MITRE Corporation and the Baker Administration on the latest developments during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Roundtable members heard updates from Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy on how the public sector is responding to the outbreak including establishing a COVID-19 Command Center and MEMA’s private sector hotline. Both the Baker administration and the legislature have worked to make changes to Unemployment Insurance and increase availability of low interest, small business loans.

Roundtable members were also briefed from medical experts from across the healthcare and life sciences industry on the initial phases of the outbreak, how hospitals across the Commonwealth are preparing for the increase in COVID-19 patients and the necessary precautions that are underway, the status of possible therapies and treatments for the virus, and ways that the private sector can pull resources together to come up with creative strategies to address shortages in desperately needed medical supplies.

Roundtable members were asked at the end of the call to fill out a survey to collect information about actions taken by employers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope that you or someone on your team can take a few minutes to provide insight from your organization. We will then circulate the information to other members of the Roundtable as well as both public and private sector leaders to help inform their strategies and actions going forward. Thank you to those who have already filled out the survey.


MBR & MACP Send Letter to Senators Warren and Markey on Federal COVID-19 Response
The Roundtable joined with the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership sending a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Ed Markey to convey support for H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, asking the Senate to take up the bill and asking for additional amendments to be considered.  

The Roundtable and MACP specifically highlighted the need for coordination with Business, Public Sector Leaders on Response to COVID-19 and recommended further action to extend all paid leave provisions including applicable tax credits to all businesses to protect individuals and slow the spread of the virus.

The letter emphasized the need for no-interest loans and interest-only payment options for small businesses and non-profits and that the Senate should consider extending the unemployment benefits to those whose benefits have recently expired or are about to expire.

READ Letter

National Business Roundtable CEOs Advocate for Federal Action on Economy to Help Workers
The National Business Roundtable, which represents companies with, collectively, over 15 million employees, sent a letter to applaud bipartisan efforts to keep Americans safe from COVID-19 and to deliver much-needed assistance, especially to those most vulnerable.

The letter provided specific tax, policy and regulatory suggestions broken down into four major themes of critical importance during the coronavirus crisis.

  • Providing Financial Support to American Individuals and Families
  • Protecting American Jobs
  • Preserving Business Liquidity and Viability, Especially for Small and Medium-Sized Companies
  • Measures to Support Supply Chains and Critical Infrastructure

READ National Roundtable Letter | VIEW National Roundtable Site

Calling All Life Sciences Companies: Donate to the New Supply Hub to Help Combat COVID-19
Roundtable partners MassBio, COBTH, MassMEDIC and MHA are calling on all life sciences and health care organizations to donate supplies to help fight COVID-19. They have established a new Massachusetts Life Sciences Emergency Supply Hub to help coordinate efforts to try and bring additional supplies and resources to our state’s healthcare institutions so they can continue to test and treat patients with COVID-19. They are asking every life sciences and healthcare organization to consider how they may be able to help, specifically in donating lab, testing, and diagnostics supplies, personal protection equipment (PPE), and medical and scientific expertise needed to combat COVID-19. Healthcare providers may send requests for supplies or expertise by emailing and they will share this information with the state’s Department of Public Health, which is coordinating and triaging all requests for supplies.

MBR Supports Offshore Wind Development, Provides Feedback on Coast Guard Siting Study
In a letter to the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this month, the Roundtable submitted comments in support of The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study, which concluded that the turbine layout in the New England Wind Energy Area should be developed in a uniform grid pattern that separates turbines by 1 NM in both east/west and north/south directions.

The Roundtable is a strong supporter of the development of the offshore wind energy as a major new source of electric power for Massachusetts consumers and the Roundtable works to ensure that the Commonwealth’s energy solutions are based on a balanced, sustainable and reliable approach and the conclusions from this study match the Roundtable’s energy priorities.

READ Letter

Roundtable Supports Vocational & Technical Education During Advocacy Day at State House
During one of the last public gatherings earlier this month, the Roundtable joined other members of the Alliance for Vocational & Technical Education at t he State House to advocate for additional resources and policies to strengthen vocational technical education across the state. State senators and state representatives joined leaders from labor, business, education and non-profit organizations to hear from students from a variety of vocational programs about the important skills they are developing to meet in-demand jobs.

The Roundtable has long supported expanding access to vocational technical education and reducing waiting lists at schools across the Commonwealth. As part of his economic development legislation, Governor Baker recently filed a plan known as the Career Technical Initiative that would keep vocational schools open later to train up to 13,000 adult workers to achieve credentials for high-demand/high-impact skilled trades.

READ State House News Story

Roundtable Partner Apprenti Helping to Bridge the Talent Gap in Massachusetts
JD Chesloff, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, has joined the Apprenti MA Advisory Board to support Apprenti's continued efforts of bridging the tech talent gap for Massachusetts employers. A fellow board member, Jim Chilton–CIO of Cengage, shared his perspective on the future of work and his first-hand experience in hiring apprentices to build diverse tech talent in collaboration with Apprenti. Looking for ways to solve your company's tech talent needs? Gain insight from an employer's point of view and contact the Massachusetts Director for Apprenti: lauren@apprenticareers.orgREAD more.


Roundtable Member Comcast Announces COVID-19 Response to Help Keep Americans Connected to the Internet
Roundtable member Comcast announced recently that it was opening the Xfinity WiFi Network nationally for free, while offering unlimited data free and confirming its commitment to connecting low-income families.  

“During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet—for education, work, and personal health reasons,” said Dave Watson, Comcast Cable Chief Executive Officer. “Our employees also live and work in virtually every community we serve, and we all share the same belief that it’s our Company’s responsibility to step up and help out.” READ Release


Roundtable Member Verizon Announces Supports During Coronavirus Crisis
Roundtable member Verizon announced this week continued support for customers who may find themselves needing additional data in order to learn, work or keep connected during this challenging time. For those residential and small business wireless customers whose economic circumstances have been impacted due to the coronavirus, Verizon will waive overage charges in addition to its “Keep Americans Connected” pledge to not terminate service and waive late fees. They are also offering new internet options for low-income households and adding 15GB of 4G LTE data to consumer and small business plans automatically.

“We understand the hardships that many of our customers are facing, and we’re doing our part to ensure they have broadband internet connectivity during this unprecedented time,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO Verizon Consumer Group. “With so many Americans working and learning remotely from home, having access to reliable and affordable internet is more important than ever before.” READ Release

  BRT on Covid-19
  BRT on Purpose of a Corporation
  BRT Reducing Carbon Emissions

What could offshore wind mean for the #Massachusetts economy? Steve Pike @MassCEC @pattenbethany @MITSloan @JenBenson_ABL @AllianceBL and @EHenryELM @EnviroLeagueMA discuss the opportunities ahead during the MA Business Forum on Offshore Wind.  @CeresNews @ABetterCity

Congratulations to Roundtable member @malialazu and @BerkshireBank on this exciting new co-working space! #ReevXLabs READ more

A great report by the @BizRoundtable on how US businesses are committing to long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals and optimizing energy usage #BusinessIsGood READ more

#InTheNews Roundtable member @DellTech was just named one of the #WorldsMostEthicalCompanies by @Ethisphere. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition! #BusinessIsGood READ more

Great #innovation and #sustainability measures from Roundtable member @AVANGRID @AvangridRen #BusinessIsGood READ more

#ICYMI Roundtable Chair and @easternbank CEO @rfrivers64 and Darryl Settles appeared on CityLine to discuss Boston's #diversity READ more


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