MASSACHUSETTS WORKERS JUST WON $15 AND PAID SICK LEAVE!
The victory is the result of years of on-the-ground organizing, demonstrations, and strikes. This means about half a million workers are getting a raise!
Massachusetts’ victory shows the importance of building an independent grassroots movement that’s not beholden to corporations or the political establishment. The movement for $15 collected thousands of petition signatures to put $15 on the ballot directly to voters this November, with a strong policy to phase-in workers as quickly as possible and eliminate the tip penalty. Under the pressure of a ballot initiative, Governor Charlie Baker was forced to the bargaining table.
Meanwhile, big business attempted to protect their profits by lobbying against $15 and pushing carve-outs and delays. They also mounted two of their own ballot initiatives, one to cut time-and-a-half pay on Sundays, and another to reduce sales tax statewide, which would have reduced state revenue by about $1.2 billion.
A final ballot initiative proposed a “millionaire's tax” which would levy a surtax on Massachusetts’ wealthiest people to fund education and transportation. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the tax unconstitutional earlier this month, meaning it was knocked off the November ballot. After the ruling, Governor Baker began negotiating a “grand bargain” to keep everything off the ballot-- $15, sick leave, Sunday pay, and the sales tax. That negotiation resulted in a bill that included huge wins for workers, but also the anti-worker policies big business wanted.
Massachusetts is a reminder that big business works hand in hand with the political establishment to weaken our movements in any way possible. Corporations have endless money and political influence, and they know exactly how to manipulate loopholes and lobby for policy. But working people don’t win good deals by lobbying in the back rooms, we win by building a movement that changes the public conversation. Our strength at the negotiating table is directly proportional to our power in the streets.
As we celebrate in solidarity with Massachusetts workers, let’s recommit ourselves to building our own powerful grassroots movement here in Minnesota to beat back big business and win #15forSTP #15forAll #1Fair Wage!