Why We’re Fighting for $15

Our state’s economy works best for everyone when all working people are able to meet their basic needs. This economic security depends on access to good paying jobs. But today, a full-time worker in Massachusetts earning the current minimum wage of $11 an hour makes only $22,880 a year. A minimum wage earner would have to work 94 hours every week in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Many workers earning the minimum wage work three or more jobs and still can’t afford the cost of groceries, housing, heating and other basic needs.

It’s time to build on our past progress and continue the minimum wage increases we’ve seen over the past few years. We’re fighting for a statewide $15 minimum wage to make sure that all workers can earn a living wage.

About Our $15 Minimum Wage Legislation

Our legislation, H.2365 (filed by Rep. Dan Donahue) and S.1004 (filed by Sen. Ken Donnelly), would raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 each year over four years until it is $15 an hour in 2021. The minimum wage would then be adjusted each year to rise along with increases in the cost of living.

A recent report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 would raise the wages of roughly 947,000 workers, or 29 percent of the state’s workforce. 91 percent of workers who would be affected are over 20 years old, 56 percent are woman, and 57 percent work full-time.

According to their research, increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 would also raise the wages of 22 percent of all working parents in Massachusetts, and nearly one-third of all kids in the Commonwealth live in households that would benefit from the increase.

Our legislation would also increase the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, currently $3.75 an hour, over 8 years until it is equal to the regular minimum wage. The sub-minimum wage for tipped workers leaves servers at diners, pubs and pancake houses, hairdressers, car wash staff, airport wheelchair and parking attendants, valets and others facing financial uncertainty, and makes them vulnerable to harassment and discrimination. We should join the eight states, including California, Minnesota, and Maine, which have eliminated the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, without seeing any harm to restaurants or a reduction in tipping.

A living wage of $15 an hour will provide stability to low-wage employees. This will allow these employees, many of whom are parents, to support their families. No one who works full-time should be paid so little that they cannot make ends meet.

About Our $15 Minimum Wage Ballot Question

Our ballot question would raise the Massachusetts minimum wage, currently $11 an hour, by $1 each year over four years until it is $15 an hour in 2022. The minimum wage would then be adjusted each year to rise at the same rate as the cost of living. It would also raise the minimum wage for tipped employees, currently $3.75 an hour, to increase each year over four years until it is 60% of the full minimum wage, or $9 an hour, in 2022.

Why Our Economy Needs $15

For employers, higher wages mean more efficient workers and less employee turnover, making it easier to recruit and retain workers and helping their bottom line. When workers have more money in their pockets, they spend it at small businesses in their neighborhoods, helping those local businesses grow and create more jobs.

In Gateway Cities like Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen, and Worcester, about 40 to 42 percent of workers would see their wages rise if the minimum wage were increased to $15 per hour. Overall, projections show that at least 15 percent of workers in every region of Massachusetts would see their wages rise from a minimum wage increase.

As the Massachusetts minimum wage has risen over the past three years, the state’s economy has added more than 150,000 jobs. To ensure continued economic growth in communities across the state, all Massachusetts workers need to earn a living wage so they can pay their bills, provide for their families, and support their local economy.

Our Plan to Win

This fall, we’re collecting signatures to put a $15 minimum wage on the ballot, while continuing our campaign in the Legislature. In 2018, we’ll make a final push to pass our legislation by the end of June, and then a ballot campaign would begin next July and end on Election Day, November 6, 2018.. Click below to join the Fight for $15 in Massachusetts or share your story to help us persuade legislators to support raising the minimum wage.

Share this Post