'Victorious' minimum wage ballot group shifts focus to earned sick time

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, State House News Service
Jun. 23, 2014

Raise Up Massachusetts, a group that had gathered signatures to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot, said Monday they are ending their campaign. The group will continue to push for a ballot question guaranteeing earned sick time for workers.

Their withdrawal of the minimum wage ballot question comes as Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to sign a House-Senate compromise setting the state’s minimum wage at $11 per hour by 2017. The move would give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country.

“Increasing the minimum wage by 38%, as well as giving tipped workers a raise from $2.63 to $3.75 an hour plus tips, will help struggling families who deserve to be able to make a living in Massachusetts,” Lew Finfer, co-chair of the group, said in a statement. “The grassroots effort of thousands of volunteers who collected signatures to qualify our ballot question made this victory possible, and our ballot question will no longer need to appear on the November ballot.”

Finfer is a resident of Dorchester.

The compromise bill included unemployment insurance reforms not sought by the ballot campaign, does not index the wage floor to inflation, which the ballot group had pushed for. The group said they had gathered 80,000 signatures for the final round of signatures, more than the 11,485 certified signatures needed to make it onto the ballot. The deadline to turn the signatures into local elections officials’ offices was last Wednesday.