Guided by Senator Dan Wolf and Senator Marc Pacheco, with backing from Senate President Murray, the Senate passed a minimum wage bill yesterday that brings wages to $11 an hour in 2016 (from $8 today) and indexes future increases to inflation.
The measure, which passed by an overwhelming vote of 32-7 also requires that the wage remain at least 50 cents higher than the federal minimum, currently $7.25 an hour.
The Senate also passed an amendment that would also hike the minimum wage for tipped workers (such as waiters) to 50% of the state minimum. A 60% rate, which would have brought the rate in line with the Raise Up Mass. ballot petition, was defeated. The rate for tipped workers has been $2.63 an hour since 1999.
Next stop for the legislation is the House, which will take up the measure in January 2014.
This is a major victory for RaiseUp Massachusetts, which spent yesterday delivering ballot petition signatures on minimum wage and earned sick time to town clerks for certification. The drop-offs process must be completed by 5PM today (certified signatures must be delivered to the Secretary of State by December 4). By all accounts -- and thanks in part to many Progressive Mass volunteers -- we will have the certified signatures to get both issues on the ballot, if the House does not act by June 30.
Our ballot initiative and the grassroots support it represents, is all the more important because Speaker Bob DeLeo has repeatedly made unfavorable comments about workers' rights and has signaled that the House would only pass a minimum wage tied to business giveaways like unemployment insurance changes. Some reforms of unemployment insurance may be needed -- but the 500,000+ workers helped by a minimum wage boost shouldn't be held hostage.
On the only down note of the day, it should be noted that four Democrats, in addition to the usual Republican opposition to progressive legislation, voted against the bill to increase the minimum wage to $11.
We would love to know why these Senators voted against one of the most basic Democratic Party platforms - and in particular why Senator O'Connor-Ives, who sought our endorsement in 2012, voted against her own position! Constituents are encouraged to call, ask and share what you learn!
DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WHO VOTED AGAINST FINAL BILL TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
- Senator Kathleen O'Connor-Ives - 617-722-1604 - Kathleen.OConnorIves@masenate.gov - @KOConnorIves -
- Senator Eileen Donoghue - 617-722-1630 - Eileen.Donoghue@masenate.gov - @EileenDonoghue
Senator Richard Moore - 617-722-1420 - Richard.Moore@masenate.gov - @SenDickMoore
- Senator Michael Rodrigues - 617-722-1114 - Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov - facebook: Michael Rodrigues