You Made History! Minimum Wage Passes!

June 27, 2014

Yesterday, you made history!  Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation to increase the state minimum wage from $8 to $11, raising wages for 600,000 Massachusetts residents.  In 1912, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a minimum wage. Now, one hundred and two years later, Massachusetts again has become the national leader with the highest state minimum wage in the country.


This happened because together we ran the most successful grassroots signature gathering effort in Massachusetts history. The signatures you collected, events you organized, and stories you shared persuaded the legislature to move forward on this historic bill. Our message was heard not with million-dollar TV ads, but with hundreds of thousands of 1-on-1 conversations. All told, 7,000 Raise Up MA volunteers gathered 360,000 signatures to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot and force the legislature into action.  In the state with the fourth highest income inequality in the country, you changed the conversation about economic dignity.


Held in Nurses Hall of the State House, the ceremony was standing room only with the stairs and balconies full of cheering people. In his remarks, Governor Deval Patrick recognized our role in this victory saying “I want to thank Raise UP Massachusetts. Grassroots organizing makes good things happen. It wins every time. Honor to the coalition. Keep the coalition together to press each other and the state leadership to fight for those for whom the American Dream is still just a dream.”  


In Isaiah 65:23, the prophet says that God calls us to build a world where “they shall not labor in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune”. Yesterday,  we took steps together towards fulfilling that vision. But the minimum wage is only half of our fight. This fall, with your help, we will again move a few steps closer to a land of opportunity for all people when we go to the ballot to win earned sick time for 1,000,000 workers.


Thank you for making history.


Lew Finfer

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