Raise Up Massachusetts

The Raise Up Massachusetts ballot initiative would see two questions added to the General Election Ballot in November 2014. Voters would be asked to approve an increase to the minimum wage and to guarantee paid sick time for employers with eleven or more employees working a minimum of 30 hours each week. The effort of gathering the required 70,000 signatures is engaging activists all across the Commonwealth.

If successful, we would see the minimum wage increased from $8.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour, phased in over two years and indexed to the inflation rate after January 1, 2016. Paid sick leave would be guaranteed for employees working in a business with eleven or more employees working 30 hours or more per week; each employee would receive one hour of sick leave for each 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year. For employees in a business with fewer than 11 employees, employers would be asked to honor the time each employee accrued.

The first step in the ballot initiative process was achieved this past August and signature papers became available in mid-September. The number of signatures required for this ballot initiative to move forward is about 70,000 certified signatures - - and to ensure that we will have sufficient number of signatures for certification we are aiming for a collection of about 100,000 signatures. This effort is an opportunity to strengthen organizations and a statewide movement for economic justice!

We are organized in Lexington and have committed to getting about 2,000 signatures and of that, I have agreed to help gather at least 1,000 signatures. For the past three weeks, I have been knocking doors in my precinct (P1) and have been present at several events held in Town, and been staked out at the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market. It's a great feeling to be out in these glorious fall days, working to improve pay and working benefits for folks. Most of the people I talk with support the initiative.

I have posted previously on the impact of low-wage work on families. If we are successful in getting the certified signatures, we qualify putting the questions to voters in November of 2014. If the referendum passes, we win a raise and new benefits for over one million workers in Massachusetts, and push states around the country to follow our lead. This is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of low-income workers in our Commonwealth!