Minimum Wage Bill Comparisons

House Vote of April 2 – Next Step Conference Committee.  What happened with the House vote on the Minimum Wage bill yesterday? They passed a bill to increase wages to $10.50 over 3 years, but did not pass Indexing to Inflation, and raised tipped worker wages only from 33% to 36% of the minimum wage. No cuts were made to unemployment benefits or eligibility.   Analysis: 1).   We could not have won a vote over the House Speaker’s opposition on the two amendments we supported on tipped wages and indexing. BUT the Senate bill has indexing and tipped wage at 50% of minimum wage plus tips so those two provisions are very much alive to be negotiated between the House and Senate AND us since we control the chance to move this to the ballot. 2).   By the Raise UP MA coalition together getting 41 legislators to co-sponsor the amendment to raise tipped worker wages, we moved forward the chances of that happening in the final bill. 3).   When the prospect of possible cuts to unemployment benefits and eligibility seemed like they might be linked to the minimum wage bill in the House, Raise Up Massachusetts took on that issue too and we were successful in preventing any cuts from being made.   We do want a bill with more progress in tipped worker wages and indexing, BUT at $10.50 an hour, it would be the highest minimum wage level for states in our country so we are on the way to winning.   Our Raise UP Massachusetts coalition of community, labor, and faith based groups has gotten us so far already and we can finish the job in the next 7 months. What’s Next for the 500,000 people now earning $8 to $10.50 an hour and the almost 1 million without earned sick days?

1. We need to collect the second set of signatures required to qualify for the ballot for Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Days between May 10 and June 15. Doing this keeps the pressure on the Legislature to pass a better bill on tipped worker wage increase and on indexing to inflation.  Both House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Murray have publicly acknowledged that the ballot proposal was instrumental to them moving legislation on this. 2. We will keep up the pressure on the Legislature to pass a strong Minimum Wage bill during this period from now to July 2 when they can do this. 3. If by July 2, the Legislature has not passed a Minimum Wage bill OR does not pass one our coalition feels is strong enough, then we can file the signatures to put it on the fall ballot. 4. So far the Legislature has shown no interest in passing an Earned Sick Days bill, so collecting the second set of signatures will qualify that for the ballot to give the 1 million people without sick days, 5 days to care for themselves, or their children, or their elderly relatives.         Comparison of Ballot Proposal, Senate Bill, House Bill on Minimum Wage
 1.    Ballot Proposal: Raises wages from $8 to $10.50 over two years. Indexes it to inflation.  Raised tipped workers from 33% of Minimum Wage +  tips to 60% + tips. 
2.    Senate Passed Bill.  Raised wages to $11 an hour over 3 years.  Indexes it to inflation.  Raises tipped wages to 50% of Minimum Wage plus tips.   
3.    House Bill.  Raises wages to $10.50 over 3 years.  NOT indexed to inflation.  Only raises tipped workers wage from 33% to 36% of Minimum Wage + tips.  The House bill included the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and several positive amendments related to unemployment insurance rights and rights of workers related wage payment violations. The Senate addressed unemployment insurance issues in separate bill that did not have these provisions.
 Lew Finfer, Harris Gruman, Deb Fastino, Carl Nilsson on behalf of Raise UP Massachusetts.
Sheila Decter, JALSA

Immigration Reform – Please Sign Petition to Eric Cantor

http://entrydenied.org/jalsa

Everyday, 11 million people are denied access to basic freedoms in the U.S.  It’s time to grant them access to America. So parents aren’t separated from their children. So bright students can go to college and realize their potential. So America doesn’t become a country with permanent second-class citizens. Today JALSA  is joining forces with a coalition of Jewish organizations because we’ve got a real chance to open a pathway to citizenship for those 11 million people– a chance that may not come again for years.

On April 3rd, we’re delivering a united message to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging him to schedule a vote on comprehensive immigration.. He has the power to do so tomorrow, and we can push him to act, but only if thousands of us speak up together. Sign now and tell Majority Leader Cantor to finally bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in Congress:

http://entrydenied.org/jalsa

Eric Cantor has been clear about how crucial immigration has been for our families: If today’s laws had been in place in the past, many of our own families would have been denied access to the freedoms that have made our history in America possible. But so far he’s held firm against bringing comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.  A bill already passed the Senate last year, and despite its imperfections it is a huge step forward. In the House, there are enough bipartisan votes for the bill to pass, but politicians have been too afraid of the vocal — and extreme — fringes of their own party to take a stand.  Now we have a rare opportunity to break through the gridlock. In just a few days, Majority Leader Cantor is set to meet with Jewish constituents to hear why they support comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s send them in with the support of thousands of Jewish voices united with one message.  Join Bend the Arc, Ameinu, HIAS, JALSA, JCA, JCUA, NCJW, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Uri L’Tzedek and Workmen’s Circle to send a powerful message: It’s time to grant access to America for 11 million people.
Sign now:  http://entrydenied.org/jalsa

WEAK GAS LEAKS BILL

Senator Eldridge is filing these amendments. Please encourage your senator to support them. Please let Erica (ericar.jalsa@gmail.com) know who you called and any response you received.
   The present bill is not comprehensive to our safety and environmental standards; only gas leaks in Class 1 or Class 2 are addressed, there is no mention of Class 3 gas leaks. This needs to be changed.
The version of the gas leaks bill that emerged today in the Senate (S.2073) was weaker and less comprehensive than the environmental community had hoped. The Senate President has allowed senators to file to amendments up until to noon Friday, March 28.
     To ensure the bill is strong, please encourage your senator to support the amendments that Senator Eldridge is filing.
      Here is a sample script for the call. If you’d like, add in why you are passionate about this issue.   “Hello, My name is (your name), and I live in the senator’s district. I am disappointed with the gas leaks bill that came out today, S.7023. I am calling to encourage Senator (your senator’s name) to support the amendments that Senator Eldridge is proposing so that the bill can be stronger and more comprehensive for improving gas leaks.  Thank you.”
       If you want to get more specific, you can say: “Hello, My name is (your name), and I live in the senator’s district. I am disappointed with the gas leaks bill that came out today, S.7023. I am calling to encourage Senator (your senator’s name) to support the amendments that Senator Eldridge is proposing so that the bill can be stronger and more comprehensive for improving gas leaks. Specifically, the bill needs to address repairing all classes of gas leaks (not just class 1 and 2) to be in accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. As an environmentalist, I believe these amendments are crucial to include in the passing of this bill. Thank you.”
 A deeper look: What the environmental community is specifically looking for:- Amendments that address the repairing all gas leaks, if they are within 50 feet of a school zone, nursing home, healthcare facility, governmental building or subway/train station;  when road projects are done, and work is already being done to repair some of the gas leaks
   - An amendment to Section 4 of the bill. This section deals with expansion of natural gas line infrastructure (replacing the old with new). This amendment calls for this expansion to be in accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.
 Thank you for all that you do,  Sheila Decter