BOSTON – The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions today issued the following statement on legislation passed by the House today that would raise the minimum wage to $15 over five years, create a paid family and medical leave insurance program, require an annual sales tax holiday weekend, and gradually eliminate Sunday time-and-a-half pay:
“Since Raise Up Massachusetts came together in 2013, we have won major, lasting improvements to the lives of millions of working families. We will continue to do this work until every worker in Massachusetts has a livable wage, family-supporting benefits, and a transportation and education system that lifts people up. Today is an enormous win, but we’re only getting started.
“The paid leave legislation passed by the House today is a historic victory for every single worker in Massachusetts who will now be able to take job-protected paid time off from work to take care of themselves or a family member after a medical emergency or the birth or adoption of a new child. It is a strongly progressive bill that will make Massachusetts the national leader in providing paid leave and supporting working families. Today, Raise Up Massachusetts’ grassroots committee voted that we will not take our paid family and medical leave question to the ballot if the Governor signs the legislation passed today.
“The more than 100 member organizations that make up Raise Up Massachusetts continue to review the minimum wage portions of the legislation. While it is a major victory for the nearly one million Massachusetts workers who will see their wages go up as the minimum wage increases to $15 an hour, we are troubled by the size of the increase in the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, which doesn’t go as far as our proposed ballot question. Our coalition is also strongly opposed to the Legislature’s decision to eliminate Sunday time-and-a-half pay, which cuts wages for thousands of retail workers who are working on Sundays to pay their bills. Finally, we are seriously concerned that the minimum wage legislation passed today would not cover all workers, including some public employees.
“Over the next several days, we will continue having conversations among our coalition and expect to reach a decision on whether to take our minimum wage question to the ballot early next week.”
Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions committed to building an economy that works for all of us, collected signatures in 2013 and 2014 on behalf of two ballot initiatives: raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers. In June 2014, the Legislature passed and the governor signed legislation giving Massachusetts the highest statewide minimum wage in the country. Raise Up Massachusetts then led the campaign to ensure access to earned sick time for all workers in the Commonwealth by passing Question 4 in November 2014. Now, Raise Up Massachusetts is working to create a paid family and medical leave program and raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour. Learn more at raiseupma.org.