On June 11th members of the NEJB testified before the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on in support of an increase to the minimum wage. Currently the Massachusetts minimum wage is $8.oo. The proposed bill would see that number rise to $11.oo with further increases tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
NEJB members from food service, laundry, and retail industries joined other unions, community groups, faith leaders, economists, academics, and business leaders for the hearing. Testifiers highlighted the fact that worker productivity has skyrocketed while wage levels have stagnated. The last time the minimum wage was raised in Massachusetts was in 2007. Since then the cost of food, gas, utilities, rent, and other expenses increased dramatically. More and more workers are relying on minimum wage work sometimes working two or three of these jobs just to get by. The low wage work that is typical of the retail, hospitality, and service industries keeps workers in a rut, limiting their upward mobility. As Cara Cinelli, a retail cashier at Logan Airport and member of NEJB Local 24 testified: “I live in East Boston and am a lifelong resident and currently live in the hom I grew up in with my two daughters, grandson, mother, and brother. I am forced to live in the home my mother owns because I can’t afford to live anywhere else.”
A raise in the minimum wage would affect 580,000 Massachusetts workers and their families. Our Joint Board is proud to join numerous allies from many different movement and backgrounds in fighting for this just piece of legislation. Without our activism we will not win. Urge you state senators and representatives to support an increase in the minimum wage. It’s long overdue.