News & Media Coverage

Local groups in Boston to Support Minimum Wage, Sick Time Ballot Initiatives

December 3, 2013  |  The Enterprise  |  Link to article

By Morgan True
Enterprise Staff Writer 

BOSTON —Local activists joined supporters of two ballot questions that would raise the minimum wage and create a statewide earned sick time policy in Massachusetts to deliver a quarter of a million signatures needed to put both questions on the 2014 ballot.

The Brockton Interfaith Community helped coordinate the efforts of more than 30 congregations from across the city to collect more than 12,000 signatures for the two initiatives.

Those efforts were were part of a statewide push by the labor-backed Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition, which plans to hold a rally in front of the Statehouse before dropping the signatures off at Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.

Wednesday is the deadline for certified signatures to be delivered.

That's well above the goal they set at an August strategy meeting, where BIC members committed to gathering 8,000 signatures.

“In the book of Genesis we are asked, ‘Am I my brother's keeper?’ The answer is yes. I am my brother's and sister's keeper. We have been called to care about others, especially those who are most vulnerable. Sometimes it is lending a hand but today it is in lending our signature," said Joe Raeke Pastor of the Brockton Catholic Triparish in a statement.

"I encourage everyone to support an increase in the minimum wage and help their brothers and sisters who are trying to live on this meager amount of money, as well as support getting sick time for workers.”

The minimum wage initiative would raise the state's minimum from $8 to $9.25 next year and $10.50 the following year. After that an annual increase would be pegged to inflation.

The earned sick time initiative would allow all employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of sick time per year, at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Its purpose is to protect employees from being fired for taking care of their own health or that of a family member.

The state Senate approved a stand-alone bill recently that would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2016 and index future increases to inflation, but the House has yet act on the measure.