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!
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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 email@example.com 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.
Although all of the other Senators and Representatives from Massachusetts publicly oppose Fast Track, our Congressman, Congressman Seth Moulton has chosen to remain silent. A vote could come to the House of Representatives any day. When it does, Congressman Moulton will have to make a choice: Will he stand with the people of the 6th district, or with the corporations pushing Fast Track and the TPP?
TAKE ACTION: CALL: Join the national call in day on Wednesday June 3rd. Call Congressman Moulton at 1-855-712-8441 and tell him you oppose Fast Track.
CANVASS: This Thursday, June 4th at 4:30 pm. Meet at Marblehead Town Hall (118 Washington Street) to let Congressman Moulton's hometown know about the dangers of Fast Track.
RALLY: Thursday, June 11th at 3:30 outside Congressman Moulton's Office in Peabody Square (17 Peabody Square). Join with other labor, environmental and community activists to make our voices heard.Contact Rebecca at 781-595-2538 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
When I was in sixth grade I attended the Academy of the Pacific Rim. I went through a lot during this time. My mother and father got a divorce, and it was kind of hard on me. I didn’t know what was going on. This was the first time I’d gone to a school that was really challenging. The hours were from 7:40AM to 4:10PM everyday. I was just coming from elementary school, and the hours just seemed absurd. I wasn’t used to getting up that early or to being in such a strict school, and by the first couple weeks I was in trouble. On top of that, I had an IEP and I didn’t get a lot of help. At a young age I was diagnosed with autism. I didn’t speak until I was three and a half. I was in speech therapy for eight years.
The House cut $337,000 of the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) budget put forward by Governor Baker.
Funding is urgently needed to enact new OSHA protections for state employees, and ensure that DLS continues its life-saving work protecting vulnerable workers, such as temporary workers.
The Commonwealth spends over $40 million each year in Workers' Comp costs – in addition to the pain and suffering of those injured on the job and the families of fallen workers.
Can we afford to have more workers injured or killed on the job?
Who to call: Your state senator: http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx
What to say:In June, 2014, the legislature passed a law extending safety and health measures to executive branch employees, a groundbreaking step to preventing injury, illness and death for the Commonwealth’s workforce.
In order to be successful, the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) needs to have the resources to implement and enforce the new law.
Budget line item 7003-0200 provides $500,000 to enable DLS to implement this new law – averting painful and costly injuries, illnesses and death.
Will Senator ___________ ask Senate Ways and Means Chair Spilka to include this funding in the Senate budget?
Workers joined UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston’s hotel workers union, ending a more than 2-year public fight and boycott. During the course of their campaign, housekeepers told the public about the pain and injuries they experienced cleaning hotel rooms. Undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard launched a campus campaign to encourage Harvard to support the workers’ demands.
“It is inspiring to see that when workers and students come together, real change can be made,” said Harvard freshman Angela Leocata. “The DoubleTree workers winning a union proves the power of collective action and the promise of student-worker solidarity.”