Occupy Falmouth Joins Petition Effort For Minimum Wage, Sick Time

The RaiseUp Massachusetts Coalition has begun its second round of petitioning in order to qualify November ballot questions that would increase the minimum wage and give Massachusetts workers earned sick time.

Locally members of the Coalition for Social Justice, SEIU 1199, Occupy Falmouth, and Falmouth Democrats will join in the effort at area post offices and shopping centers.

The coalition successfully gathered a 269,059 signatures in its first round of petitioning last fall. The efforts, certified by the secretary of state, helped push the House and Senate to pass separate bills that would increase the minimum wage for the first time since the Bush presidency. Because the House bill dropped a provision to index future increases to cost of living inflation and also dropped coverage for tipped workers, the coalition is proceeding with its ballot initiatives.

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The RaiseUp Massachusetts ballot question would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 by 2016 and by 2017 would begin indexing it. Tipped workers would see increases to $4.15 by 2015 and $6.30 by 2016. The amount employers are required to pay tipped workers has not been addressed since 1999, and while they received a minimum of $6.23 an hour in 1968 in today’s dollars, they are only required to get $2.63 now.

The separate ballot question addressing earned sick time would give the more than 1 million Massachusetts workers who presently do not get sick time the right to earn up to 40 hours of sick time each calendar year. Small businesses with fewer than 11 workers would only need to provide unpaid time off, while larger firms would be required to provide paid sick time.

Anyone who would like to join in the volunteer petitioning effort should contact Sandra Faiman-Silva at 508 540-7791 for petitions or times and locations of local petitioning drives.

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