Just Two Weeks After New Jersey and SeaTac Minimum Wage Elections, Big Milestone Reached in Massachusetts

Just two weeks after voters in New Jersey and SeaTac, Washington voted to raise the minimum wage, a Massachusetts coalition to enact a similar ballot measure announced a major milestone.

Raise Up Massachusetts announced Monday that over 10 weeks, they have collected approximately 269,059 signatures to get a statewide minimum wage increase and an earned sick time on the 2014 ballot.

Only 68,911 verified signatures are required.

“The numbers show just how many Massachuetts voters stand with families who need a higher minimum wage and earned sick time,” said SEIU Local 509 President Susan Sousignant.

Kim Rivera, an activist from Springfield, has collected 853 signatures toward the goal. “When I explain that the minimum wage is only $8 an hour and almost one million workers in Massachusetts can’t earn a single day of sick time, people were eager to sign.”

If passed, the measures would do three things: a.) increase the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour over two years; b.) index future increases to inflation; and c.) allow all workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year.

Similar efforts are underway in Idaho, Alaska, and South Dakota.

Raising the minimum wage isn’t just good policy, it could also be good politics. The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center found that overall voter turnout is 7 to 9 percent higher in midterm elections when wage initiatives are on the ballot.

These initiatives also often cross party lines. In New Jersey two weeks ago, voters voted overwhelmingly to raise the minimum wage even while many also voted to reelect Gov. Chris Christie, who himself vetoed a minimum wage increase earlier this year.

In SeaTac, Washington, a proposition to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is leading by only 46 votes.

Photo by Raise Up Massachusetts on Facebook

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