On January 1, 2017, nearly 500,000 low-wage workers in Massachusetts will get their third consecutive annual pay increase when the state’s minimum wage rises from $10 to $11 an hour.
The increase is the last of three $1 increases in the minimum wage laid out in 2014 legislation, which brought the state’s minimum wage up from $8 to $11 over three years. The legislation also increases the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers to $3.75 per hour beginning January 1, 2017, up from $2.63 in 2014.
“I work for a multi-billion dollar company, yet I make a measly $10 an hour,” said Barbara Fisher, a member of the Fight for $15 and Dunkin’ Donuts worker. “Raising the wage to $11 an hour will help me buy food for my kids and other necessities. This increase is the step in the right direction, but without $15 I still will be unable to afford to rent an apartment while putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.”
In 2013 and 2014, Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of more than 100 community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions, collected more than 193,000 signatures to put a minimum wage increase on the November 2014 ballot. In June 2014, the Legislature and Raise Up Massachusetts worked together to craft a bill that raised the minimum wage and avoided the need for a ballot campaign.
Since June 2014, the Massachusetts economy has added more than 150,000 jobs, and unemployment is at its lowest rate since before the Great Recession.
In November, Raise Up Massachusetts announced a campaign for legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 over several years, joining states like California and New York, as well as cities like Seattle and Washington, D.C.
“As the increases in the minimum wage we won two years ago are implemented, we’re determined to build on the progress we’ve made and keep raising wages for hard working Massachusetts families,” said Roxana Rivera, the head of 32BJ Service Employees International Union District 615. “In January, we’ll introduce legislation that would continue the annual increases we’ve seen over the last two years until we get to $15 for all workers in our Commonwealth.”
If employees do not receive the wage increase that is due starting January 1, they should call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 and file a Wage Complaint Form through the Attorney General’s website.