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November 20, 2013 / needhamgrassroots

Because the Grassroots Mobilized, a Minimum Wage Victory on Beacon Hill

victoryUpdate 2/6/2014: We are still in holding pattern, with Speaker DeLeo still promising to only raise minimum wage if he also can slash unemployment benefits. Your calls to Legislators still needed; see action steps below. 

On Nov. 19, 2013, the Massachusetts Senate voted 33-7 to increase the Mass. minimum wage from $8 to $11, with future increases tied to inflation. Tipped wages would be pegged to 50% of the minimum wage. [more details at Progressive Massachusetts]

This is a huge victory for progressive activists across the state and in Metrowest. Progressive Newton and Needham have been organizing and gathering signatures to put the Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Time on the ballot in 2014. The legislature had not taken action on the Minimum Wage since 2008. It was the overwhelming support from grassroots and voters that spurred the legislative body to action.

But the deal is not yet done.

The bill now must clear the House, and there’s already reports about Speaker DeLeo’s opposition to an $11 increase. And, it is unclear if Leadership supports increasing the tipped base wage to 50% of the minimum. The Speaker has indicated he will yoke the minimum wage legislation to another measure (‘unemployment insurance reform’), complicating the minimum wage’s passage. (*see footnote below)

pickupthephoneNow is the time for House members to hear from you… and for them to advocate with their colleagues and Leadership to take up the charge–

  • Raise the Minimum Wage to $11 (bringing it back to the value it was in 1968)
  • Index future increases to inflation (so it doesn’t lose value every year, little by little)
  • Raise the tipped wage to 50% of the minimum wage (it’s been stuck at $2.63 since 1999!)
  • more info on the policy: hmny.me/RaiseUpMAinfo

We have seen time and again how the progressive sentiments of individual legislators are easily derailed by Leadership’s concentrated power.

Let’s urge our State Reps to not let that happen again. They had a great victory recently in the “welfare ‘reform'” legislation.

Now let’s tell them to stand up again for real reform of the minimum wage: $11, indexed to inflation, tipped wages at 50% of minimum.

___________

*From the Boston Globe:

“House leaders are balking at a Senate proposal that would give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the nation, warning that it would be a mistake unless the state also cuts costs for businesses by overhauling the state’s unemployment insurance system.

“Right now, the whole proposal, as far as we’re concerned, is still in flux,” Speaker Robert A. DeLeo told the Globe in an interview in a State House hallway.

“My gut feeling is, it’s an issue we should address,” DeLeo said of the minimum wage. “Now, having said that, if we can’t do it in coordination with [unemployment insurance], I may not be so sure.”

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