Candidates expected to appear at an Aug. 31 roundtable are, clockwise from upper left: Mike Connolly, Tim Toomey, Leland Cheung and Pat Jehlen.

Candidates expected to appear at an Aug. 31 roundtable are, clockwise from upper left: Mike Connolly, Tim Toomey, Leland Cheung and Pat Jehlen.

Women get to grill candidates for the Second Middlesex District Senate seat and 26th Middlesex District House seat at an Aug. 31 roundtable on “Uplifting Women Workers & Families” in Cambridge. It comes about a week before the Democratic primary that will leave one candidate standing in each race.

The event, hosted by the Boston-based Matahari Women Workers’ Center, has commitments to attend from incumbent state Sen. Pat Jehlen – the only female candidate among the invited – and her challenger, city councillor Leland Cheung; and incumbent state Rep. Tim Toomey and his challenger, attorney and community organizer Mike Connolly.

At the roundtable, workers such as nannies and au pairs will share their own stories highlighting issues for women workers and families in Cambridge and Somerville, where both seats have constituents. Issues include defending the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, winning paid time off for all workers and protecting immigrant families.

“As an au pair in the state, I was exploited, cut off from communication with my family and retaliated against when I spoke up for my rights. Sadly, my story is not unique,” said Claudia V., a Somerville resident, nanny and Matahari member, in a press release from the organization. “We want to ensure that the candidates hear these stories and that we find out how they will work to protect us and our families if elected.”

“We’re excited to share our experiences directly with the candidates,” she said. “Women workers, particularly domestic workers, allow others to go to work, pursue graduate degrees and contribute to the local economy. We want to make sure that the workers who make this possible are treated with dignity and respect.”

The Matahari Women Workers’ Center works to end gender-based violence and exploitation. It was founded in 2002.

The roundtable is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at CIC Cambridge, on the fifth floor of 1 Broadway, Kendall Square.


This post was written from a press release.