"In collaboration with Progressive Massachusetts and Raise Up Massachusetts, the Mount Holyoke College Democrats held an on-campus phone-bank event this March, calling Massachusetts voters and encouraging them to contact their representatives and ask them to support raising the minimum wage in Massachusetts without cutting unemployment benefits. As Democrats, we believe that every person who works full time should be able to make ends meet. Over 1 million Massachusetts workers currently earn the minimum wage. Increasing this wage would not only allow these workers to better support themselves and their families, but would also allow for more market purchasing, boosting the Massachusetts economy.
"In the fall, our group worked to collect signatures to bring an increased minimum wage and earned sick time to the 2014 Massachusetts ballot. The petition was a huge success and over 200,000 Massachusetts residents added their signatures. However, though the petition was successful, the fight is not over. The MA House of Representatives has decided to advance a bill tying an increase in the minimum wage to a cut in unemployment benefits. Overall, the cuts would outweigh the wage increase and Massachusetts residents would be making a net loss.
"The Raise Up Massachusetts phone-bank event allowed the Mount Holyoke College Democrats to continue advocating for an increased minimum wage in MA. Our group of about ten volunteers used an outreach tool called Hubdialer to contact Massachusetts voters who signed the petition in the fall and ask them to reach out to their state representatives about the issue. Not only did Hubdialer dial phone numbers for us, allowing us to make 1,142 dials in a little over an hour, but if the person we called was responsive, Hubdialer gave us the option of patching him or her through to their representative directly. This not only ensured that the voter would actually make the call to their representative, but made the phone-bank more efficient. (And, as an added bonus, Hubdialer calls you, so it doesn't require the use of your personal cellphone minutes.)
"I have participated in many phone-banks for a variety of causes. I can confidently say that at the Raise Up Massachusetts phone-bank, the responses that I received were the most positive responses I have ever encountered. Massachusetts voters understand that raising the minimum wage will only improve quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents and improve the Massachusetts economy overall. Because responses are so positive, this is the perfect issue for those who have not phone-banked before and I encourage anyone who is interested to participate in a Raise Up Massachusetts phone-bank event. It’s fun, easy, and a way to help Massachusetts residents’ voices be heard loud and clear. If representatives receive many calls from their constituents asking them to support increasing the minimum wage without cutting unemployment benefits, they will not be able to ignore the calls. Massachusetts has long been a leader on progressive issues and it is time for Massachusetts to lead again and increase the minimum wage."
Taylor Anderson is a Proud Minnesotan, Mount Holyoke junior Mathematics Major, and President of Mount Holyoke Democrats. You can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mhcdemocrats and on Twitter @MHCDemocrats.