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In response to today's Boston Globe article, the Jobs with Justice team has issued the following statement:
Massachusetts Jobs With Justice proudly stood in solidarity with the thousands of students in Boston who self-organized to walk out of schools across the city on Monday, March 7th. The Boston Globe’s implication that the walkouts were instigated by Jobs With Justice or any other outside groups discredits the leadership and autonomy of the young people and their organizations who were fittingly described on Monday as "the Fannie Lou Hamers and Martin Luther Kings of their time."
Jobs with Justice is proud to have a diverse funding base. Our budget is comprised of funds from hardworking union members, a variety of grants, and grassroots fundraising -- namely, activists and JWJ supporters who donate monthly as part of our sustainer campaign, and without which we could not do this work.
These contributions are what sustain our organization in the fight for economic justice. They afforded us the ability to organize with our statewide base of volunteers and members to help fight for -- and win -- a raise in the minimum wage and earned sick time for Massachusetts workers. Without these contributions, we would not have been able to mobilize activists every year on Black Friday to ensure that Walmart workers throughout Massachusetts could see their community standing beside them in their fight for respect on the job -- efforts that helped get a raise for over 11,000 Massachusetts Walmart workers this week although we have work ahead of us to ensure all workers make at least $15 hour.
It is with these resources that we also proudly carry out our statewide campaign to protect public education. We strongly believe that education justice is economic justice. Our state can afford to provide a quality public education for all students, and schools must be adequately and equally funded to ensure that students and educators thrive. There is no excuse for denying students the essential services they deserve or denying working parents their right to send their child to a school that meets their needs. There is no excuse for denying educators the resources they need to be able to cultivate an environment that meets the needs of all students. This is why we stood in solidarity with the students who walked out.
We will continue to work alongside teachers, parents, and students to protect our public schools. We believe strongly in transparency and hope that the same level of scrutiny regarding funding and organizational relationships is applied to charter school advocates. If you would like to donate to help continue our work click here.
Price Rite Is Wrong
by Alanni Powell
Corporate greed has a devastating clutch on unions and hard working citizens. Price Rite is one of the many corporate superpowers that have mistreated their workers in the name of corporate greed. Price Rite denies their workers health benefits and pays them the disgustingly low wage of $9 an hour. The purpose of Jobs With Justice’s Price Rite Is Wrong campaign is to empower workers to unite and educate the public about their needs. We need workers to understand their worth, understand that they are human, and understand that they deserve better.
The minimum wage needs to be raised to a living wage of $15.
The issue of underpaid workers is severe, and addressing this problem is essential to rebuilding worker solidarity. This issue is significant to me because I am a junior in high school, and in a few years I will be attending college. It is terrifying to know that in less than two years, I will be thousands of dollars in student debt with no effective way paying back student loans. I will be drowning in college bills until I am in my late forties. Raising minimum wage won’t solve my problems, but it will at least provide some stability for me and other high school students who are in need of money in order to prepare for college.
All workers deserve wages that they can live on, the staggeringly low wage of $9 an hour isn’t enough. We live in a country that promises freedom and opportunity yet allows people to work for wages that only cement their position below the poverty line. It’s like telling someone with an anchor tied to their foot not to drown. We need to raise minimum wage to $15. For the college student that doesn't have a stable job. For the immigrant worker trying to feed their children. For anyone who has ever lost their job and didn't have anywhere else to turn. It is easy to to look at the person behind a counter at Price Rite and not see their struggles. Until we stop disregarding the fact that they have become a part of a severely underpaid class in this American hierarchy and start standing in solidarity against corporate greed, big businesses will continue to crush the 99%.
This first report from the Massachusetts Jobs with Justice Research Action Committee exposes the corporate agenda behind Massachusetts' most vocal advocates for charter schools. Our research reveals the way that Wall Street financiers are funding the attempts to privatize our public education system here in New England. Download the full report here.
A letter to the Senate from Mass. Education Justice Alliance urging to keep the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts. See the attached .pdf for the full letter and a list of organizations who signed on to it!
Check out some brief summaries of the upcoming legislative efforts we are working on and supporting as part of Raise Up Massachusetts and #WageAction Coalition! Each summary includes links for more information, and you can download the fact sheets below.
Fair Share Amendment
This fall, Raise Up Massachusetts is launching the Fair Share Amendment campaign! We will be gathering signatures of support for a Fair Share Tax on income over $1 million dollars. The additional revenue would be specifically used for investing in Massachusetts' public schools and transportation. Find out more about the campaign here and download the Fair Share Tax Fact Sheet below! Join us to gather signatures for an amendment that would ask the wealthiest residents to pay their fair share in taxes in order to generate new revenue to improve our schoosl, make higher education more affordable, and fix our transportation system! Contact Russ@massjwj.net for more information on how to get involved.
Big Box Retail - Fight For $15!
Currently in Massachusetts, a full-time worker in Massachusetts earning the minimum wage makes only $18,720 a year. No one who works full-time for a large, profitable corporation should be paid so little that they cannot make ends meet. An Act to Establish a Living Wage for Employees of Big Box Retail Stores and Fast Food Chains is a bill that will require corporations to pay their employees at least $15/hour by 2018. This higher wage applies only to large corporations with over 100 employees, and phases the increase in over three years. As we continue to fight for support of this bill, we continue to organize with and stand with fast food workers and workers across all sectors in the Fight for $15. Download the fact sheet below and contact Russ@massjwj.net for more information on how to get involved.
Bridging the Wage Gap
Women in Massachusetts make up almost half the workforce. Women who work full time earn approximately 80.8% of what men who work full time earn, and lose a combined total of approximately $12,239,814,352 annually due to the wage gap. See the fact sheet below for more info on the Equal Pay Bill and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can get involved!
We won earned sick time at work!
The Earned Sick Time Law took effect on July 1, 2015. We organized to win earned sick time for workers because no one should have to choose between taking care of themselves or a sick child and getting paid. Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees can earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers can earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year. Get more information about the law and regulations here.
We raised the minimum wage for MA workers!
In June of 2014, after our coalition collected over 360,000 signatures and registered hundreds of new voters using thousands of volunteers, we saw a victory: Governor Patrick is expected to sign legislation raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017, going up to $9 an hour in January 2015 and $10 in 2016. The minimum wage bill would give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country and help more than 600,000 families. This victory was a result of the hard work of the Raise Up MA coalition and its hundreds of volunteers who collected signatures in an effort to put this question on the ballot.
Compared to many fast-food workers, Erica Bentencourt has a fairly set schedule. She is supposed to work in the kitchen at the Holbrook Burger King Tuesday through Saturday, opening at 5 a.m. and leaving at 2 p.m. But when coworkers call in sick, she is often asked to stay late or come in on her day off. When business is slow, she is sent home early.
Working extra hours means she has to scramble to find child care for her 9-year-old son. But working fewer hours is worse.
“When they start to cut hours, it affects me paying my bills,” said Bentencourt, 33.