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August 19, 2015 - 4:40pm

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 katie@massnow.org to see how you can get involved!

August 19, 2015 - 1:15pm

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. 

 

July 21, 2015 - 1:51pm

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.


Read more here
 

June 29, 2015 - 1:33pm
Massachusetts home care workers have notched the latest victory in the Fight for $15. Under an agreement Thursday with the office of Gov. Charlie Baker (R), 35,000 home care workers in the state will be guaranteed a wage of $15 per hour, according to 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East. The regional union representing the workers said the agreement put an end to their plans to picket at the statehouse next week. In a statement on Friday, George Gresham, the union's president, applauded Baker for taking a "bold step" that Gresham said would reduce income inequality and improve care for seniors."With a living wage, we can ensure more compassionate care for homecare clients, and better lives for homecare workers and their families," Gresham said. A spokeswoman for Baker did not immediately respond to an email seeking confirmation of the agreement. The workers covered by the agreement tend to the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes. Their wages are paid by their clients, who are then reimbursed by the state. Like several other states, Massachusetts passed a law making the state the workers' employer of record, thereby enabling them to unionize as quasi-public employees in 2008. A series of contracts since then have raised the Massachusetts home care workers' hourly wage from $10.84 to the current level of $13.38. Although the next round of increases have yet to be finalized, the union said Friday that the governor's office has agreed to raise wages to $15 an hour by July 2018. The workers have also been assured a raise of 30 cents by next month, according to the union. The Service Employees International Union, the parent union to 1999SEIU, has been the leading driver of the Fight for $15, a loose coalition of unions and other worker groups pushing for higher minimum wages around the country. The movement started three years ago with fast-food workers taking part in one-day strikes. It has since grown to include home care and day care workers and service workers of all stripes.The campaign has helped spur local minimum wage raises across the country, though only a handful of jurisdictions have gone as high as $15. Most significantly, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have passed laws gradually increasing the wage floor to $15 in the coming years. In SeaTac, Washington, voters voted yes on a $15 minimum wage referendum that applies only to certain workers within the city.Christine Owens, director of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers, said in a statement Friday that the Massachusetts agreement "sets a precedent nationwide" for home care workers whose wages are negotiated with the state. "States around the country should follow Massachusetts’ lead and pay home care workers $15," Owens said.
June 18, 2015 - 3:00pm
Our Mass. JwJ Summer Education Series is a series of weekly trainings that include organizing skills & political education. This year, many of our workshops will draw on examples and case studies from the fight to reclaim public schools, but the skills will translate no matter what your cause is! All of the trainings are happening on Monday nights at the JwJ office, which is wheelchair accessible and convenient to public transportation. Join us! Download the attached file for a description and schedule, or check out our calendar.  RSVP by contacting gillian@massjwj.net or 617-524-8778.
June 3, 2015 - 11:22am
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Free Trade” Agreement and the Fast Track Bill that will push it through Congress is one of today’s greatest threats to good jobs, a living wage, clean air and water, food safety, human rights and democracy as we know it.

 

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 northshorelaborcouncil@gmail.com with questions.
May 28, 2015 - 4:57pm

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.

 

Read the rest on the Edushyster's blog!

May 6, 2015 - 12:58pm

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?

 Today, please call your state senator and urge the Senate to put forward a budget that provides full funding for the Department of Labor Standards (line item 7003-0200)
 
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?
April 16, 2015 - 3:43pm
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.”
 
Read more here
March 18, 2015 - 10:17am
USW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Oil Industry;Agreement with Shell Sets Pattern for Industry 3/13/15 (Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with Shell Oil as a pattern agreement for the rest of the industry.  The agreement accomplishes the major goals as directed by the USW’s oil conference in October of last year, and has been approved by union’s lead negotiators and National Oil Bargaining Policy (NOBP) Committee.

 

 “We salute the solidarity exhibited by our membership,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “There was no way we would have won vast improvements in safety and staffing without it.”

 

 Safety issues were central to the negotiations, and the proposed agreement calls for the immediate review of staffing and workload assessments, with USW safety personnel involved at every facility. Daily maintenance and repair work in the plants was another critical issue that, too, was addressed.

 

 “The new agreement calls for joint review on the local level of future, craft worker staffing needs,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “Included are hiring plans to be developed in conjunction with recruitment and training programs.”

 

 The tentative agreement calls for yearly wage increases as well as maintaining the current health care plan cost-sharing ratio.

 

 “Preserving ‘retrogression’ clauses in our agreements was also an objective established by our policy conference and we accomplished that, too,” said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who oversees the union’s oil sector. “There was no way we could turn our backs to the accomplishments of prior contract negotiations.”

 

  The next step in the bargaining process is for the company to put the terms of the settlement agreement on all of the Shell and Motiva bargaining tables. Our expectation is that other employers will offer the same terms at their local bargaining tables.

 

  The local unions will then review the employers’ proposals with Vice President Beevers. Approved settlement agreements are then submitted to the local membership for explanation and ratification votes.

 

  The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed among industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, plus the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org

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