MTA backs workplace fairness initiatives

Raise Up Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Teachers Association’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to endorse two ballot proposals designed to improve fairness for some of the lowest-paid workers in the Commonwealth.

Raise Up Massachusetts is an umbrella coalition of labor, religious and community groups that is spearheading the effort to get the initiatives on the November 2014 ballot. Signature gathering is underway, with a deadline of November 20.

One initiative would require employers to offer earned sick time at the rate of an hour for every 30 hours of work, with a cap at 40 hours. U.S. Senator Edward Markey is the lead petitioner. The second proposal would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $10.50 an hour over the next two years. Future increases after two years would be tied to inflation. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is the lead signer on that initiative.

Raise Up Massachusetts estimates that nearly 1 million workers in Massachusetts don’t have access to paid time off when the employee or a family member is ill. In June, New York City adopted a measure guaranteeing paid earned sick leave for workers, as have Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and the state of Connecticut.

MTA President Paul Toner called the ballot initiative vital to the economic health of Massachusetts. “Too many workers in Massachusetts have gone far too long without the basics of workplace fairness: paid earned sick time and a livable wage. Our continued economic progress in Massachusetts, as well as simple decency, demand that workplaces treat their employees in fair and equitable ways.”

Toner urged MTA members to join the petition drives for each of the ballot questions.

Information on how you can help gather signatures by the November 20 deadline can be found at the Raise Up Massachusetts website, at http://action.raiseupma.org/page/signup/join-the-campaign.

To find events for signature gathering, click here.

 Further information can also be obtained by e-mailing Gillian Mason at gillian@massjwj.net or calling 617-470-2912.