In an encore of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D'Agostino, chief pilot of Best Rate of Climb, interviews Russ Davis, executive director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, which partners with Raise Up Massachusetts. They talk about providing an increased minimum wage and earned sick time to Bay State workers. This episode aired originally on December 15, 2013.
In 1912, Massachusetts passed the first minimum-wage law in the U.S. – after workers in Lawrence went on strike and won higher wages. In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, establishing a national minimum wage and guaranteeing basic rights to workers.
The Bay State’s minimum wage has been stuck at $8 an hour since 2008, yet costs keep rising – and workers are long overdue for a raise. For nearly 1 million workers in Massachusetts, staying home to care for themselves or a sick child could mean losing their job.
A 2012 Economic Policy Institute report analyzed three federal-minimum-wage proposals: $10.10, $9.00, and $9.80 an hour. The EPI report concluded that by increasing the minimum wage in Mass. to $10 per hour, more than half a million Bay State workers would benefit from the raise, and create thousands of new jobs.