Jobs with Justice

Organizers are looking for volunteers to gather signatures on a petition that would allow Massachusetts voters to decide in November if the state's minimum wage should go up to $10.50 an hour. Now it's $8 an hour. Under a law passed this year, the minimum wage for workers in Washington, DC will be $11.50 an hour starting in 2016. The minimum wage in Washington state is now $9.32 an hour.

In Vermont, where the minimum wage is now $8.60 an hour, the legislature this month passed a bill that will set the minimum wage at:

$9.15 starting January 1, 2015;

$9.60 starting January 1, 2016;

$10 starting January 1, 2017;

$10.50 starting January 1, 2018.

Vermont governor Peter Shumlin has said he will sign the bill.

In Massachusetts, activists will be gathering signatures:

May 31 at the Holyoke Community College graduation at the MassMutual Center in Springfield from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.;

May 31 at the Greenfield Community College graduation in Greenfield from 10:30 a.m. until noon;

May 31 at Whole Foods in Hadley from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.;

June 1 at the Asparagus Festival on the Hadley Town Common starting at 10 a.m.;

June 3 at the Northampton Farmers Market starting at 2 p.m.;
Johannes Raatz is the western Massachusetts organizer for www.ProgressiveMass.com. He is coordinating the petitioning effort in the Valley. “If you are available to phone bank for volunteers on
June 3 or June 10, any time between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., please let me know,” he said. “You can do this from home with a computer and phone. Also, if you are free during a late afternoon to collect signatures outside a supermarket any day from about 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. from now until June 13, let me know.”

For more information contact Raatz by phone at (774) 209-9152 or via e-mail: johannes@progressivemass.com.

The petition gathering has the support of www.jwj.org.

The New Hampshire minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. There is no law that will raise it. Mark MacKenzie is president of www.NHaflcio.org. In March, he told the Valley Post his group was working to raise the New Hampshire minimum wage. “This is an opportunity to raise the living standards for a whole lot of people,” he said.

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