Raise Up Massachusetts Applauds Legislation Giving Massachusetts Highest Minimum Wage in Nation; Will Withdraw Ballot Question

Raise Up MassachusettsMedia, Press Release

Campaign to Proceed with Ballot Campaign for Earned Sick Time

BOSTON – With Governor Patrick expected to sign legislation raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017, Raise Up Massachusetts today announced that it will withdraw its ballot question raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage bill, which received final approval from the Legislature on Thursday, would give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country and help more than 600,000 families.

“Increasing the minimum wage by 38%, as well as giving tipped workers a raise from $2.63 to $3.75 an hour plus tips, will help struggling families who deserve to be able to make a living in Massachusetts,” said Raise Up Massachusetts Co-Chair Lew Finfer. “The grassroots effort of thousands of volunteers who collected signatures to qualify our ballot question made this victory possible, and our ballot question will no longer need to appear on the November ballot.”

Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of more than 100 community, labor and faith organizations collected a combined 285,000 signatures last year in a 10-week grassroots effort made possible with the support and leadership of thousands of unpaid volunteers across the Commonwealth. This year, the coalition has collected over 80,000 additional signatures and hundreds of pledge cards, and has registered hundreds of new voters. No contract signature gathering companies were paid in this campaign.

“I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who made this increase possible,” said Raise Up Massachusetts Co-Chair Deb Fastino. “Thanks to you, thousands of workers will have more money in their pockets and our entire economy will be stronger. I also want to thank Senate President Murray for her leadership on this issue, and thank both Speaker Deleo and Governor Patrick for hearing the voices of working families across the Commonwealth.”

“Raising the minimum wage is a triumph for working people across Massachusetts who put this crucial issue front and center, and created the momentum we needed at the State House to pass landmark legislation,” said Senator Dan Wolf, co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “As a matter of fundamental fairness and economic policy, helping hardworking people and stimulating economic growth, restoring the minimum wage is the right thing to do. But we won’t be done with our work until we close the gap between the minimum wage and a living wage.”

“The grassroots organizing carried out by Raise Up Massachusetts changed the conversation on raising the minimum wage,” said Representative Tom Conroy, co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.  “This victory was made possible because thousands of workers across the Commonwealth raised their collective voices to call for higher wages and better working conditions.  I am humbled and proud of what we have accomplished together.  But there is more work to do.  I look forward to our continued work in rebuilding our middle class and creating more opportunities for hard working families throughout the Commonwealth.”

Raise Up Massachusetts will now proceed with a ballot campaign to ensure earned sick time for Massachusetts workers. The earned sick time ballot question would guarantee every worker in Massachusetts access to the benefit of earned sick time. For companies with 11 or more employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time to visit the doctor or take care of a sick family member. At companies with 10 or fewer employees, workers would earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.

“The minimum wage increase is a step in the right direction, and the work done by thousands of low-wage workers like myself is finally paying off,” said Jonathan Almansa, a cabin cleaner at Logan Airport. “Now we´ll continue campaigning to make sure no worker in the Commonwealth has to risk losing a day´s pay just to take their kids to the doctor.”

Raise Up MassachusettsRaise Up Massachusetts Applauds Legislation Giving Massachusetts Highest Minimum Wage in Nation; Will Withdraw Ballot Question