Speak out for raising the Massachusetts minimum wage. Two bills that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, H.2365 and S.1004, will be heard by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development at noon next Tuesday, September 19, in the State House Gardner Auditorium. Details about participating in the hearing are available here.
Under our $11/hour minimum wage, full-time workers make only $22,880 a year, and they’d have to work 94 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Many are forced to work three or more jobs to piece together enough money to pay for basic needs. The bills would raise our minimum wage by $1 each year over four years until it is $15 an hour in 2021 and then adjust it annually to rise with cost of living. This would raise the wages of roughly 947,000 workers, or 29% of the state’s workforce. 91% of workers who would be affected are over 20 years old, 56% are women, and 57% work full-time. The increase would raise the wages of 22% of all working parents. One-third of all kids in Massachusetts live in households that would benefit from the minimum wage increase.
The legislation also increases 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 creates financial uncertainty for servers at restaurants, hairdressers, car wash staff, airport wheelchair and parking attendants, valets, and others—and makes them vulnerable to harassment and discrimination. 68% of tipped workers in Boston are women earning $3.75/hour.
If you can’t attend the hearing next Tuesday—and even if you can—show support with written testimony by emailing the committee chairs, Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Paul Brodeur. Address your testimony to Honorable Chairmen and Members of the Joint Committee, and be sure to share any personal stories about trying to survive on minimum wage. Somerville and Cambridge have a strong presence on the committee. If you’re represented by Senator Pat Jehlen or Sal DiDomenico and/or Representative Christine Barber, you might want to email them separately.
Let’s keep up the pressure for a permanent solution for young people on DACA. Urge your members of Congress to press for passage of the DREAM Act now if you didn’t get a chance on Monday. And if you’ve already made those calls—yay!—you might want to use this tool, created by the Center for American Program to tweet info about what DACA means to their states to key lawmakers who could be swing votes on the DREAM Act.