Happy Fourth of July from Progressive Newton

collecting_sigs.jpgWe’ve had a busy couple of months. Progressive Newton volunteers were right back out there collecting signatures for the second round of Raise Up Massachusetts’s drive to put a minimum increase and earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers on the November ballot.  In the fall we collected over 4,000 signatures in nine weeks. This spring, between May 10 and June 18, we collected about 1,000 additional signatures. Thanks to all the volunteers and, of course, to all the voters who signed our initiative petitions.

We were pleased to see the state legislature pass an $11 minimum wage, the highest state minimum wage in the nation. This increase was motivated in large part by the hard work of the Raise Up MA coalition, collecting signatures to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot and meeting with legislators to discuss the issue. In the long term, we will continue to fight to index the minimum wage to inflation and to provide a higher base wage for tipped workers, two elements that were lacking in the final bill signed this week by Governor Patrick.

In the short term, however, we’re working to ensure the Earned Sick Time ballot question passes. As in the fall, Raise Up MA collected far more valid signatures than needed and the question is going to the ballot! We’ll be taking the case to our friends and neighbors that Massachusetts should follow Connecticut’s lead on this key issue, championed in the House by Newton’s own Rep. Kay Khan.

neyesha.jpgThe ballot question will allow employees to accrue sick time based on hours worked, up to a maximum of five days per year. This modest measure is designed to ensure that nearly one million Massachusetts workers no longer will have to risk being fired if they are sick, or if they need to care for a sick child.

In the midst of all that activity, nine of our steering committee members were delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention held in Worcester on June 14, and many of us are engaged in campaign-related activities.

It’s not all work, though: two weekends ago a group of us gathered at Neysha and Robert’s house to celebrate our Raise Up MA success and making it through the convention. Soon we’ll meet again to plan our activities in support of the Earned Sick Time initiative and discuss what other issues we want to turn to next.

As always, if you’re a progressive in Newton who’d like to help make Massachusetts better, we want you on board! Just call (617) 340-9527 or email progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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