Sunday, April 27, 2014

Whats next on minimum wage in Massachusetts

This is ther latest from Raise Up Massachusetts efforts to pass the minimum wage in Massachusetts. For more information go to  

What Happened in the House, and What Comes Nex

We’ve talk a lot in the past few weeks about what’s been happening in the House of Representatives over minimum wage. We’ve made phone calls, set up meetings with legislators and rallied on the steps of the State House to push for a strong minimum wage bill. Yesterday, the House passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 by July 1, 2016.
Our voices made a difference. Thanks to our advocacy and the historic signature gathering effort last fall, Massachusetts is set to have the highest minimum wage in the country – an increase that will help low-wage workers across the Commonwealth who are struggling to make ends meet.
Together, we beat back the business lobby’s efforts to cut unemployment insurance benefits and restrict eligibility. We were also able to defeat the Retailers Association’s proposal for a lower minimum wage for teen workers.
Regrettably, the legislation from the House did not include a sufficient raise for tipped workers and it would not tie future increases in the minimum wage to the cost of living. That’s why we’re gearing up for the next round of signature gathering to ensure that these issues can be put in front of voters in November. 
As the minimum wage bill enters the next stage in the legislature, it’s crucial that we continue to show our strength. Can we count on you to help us collect the next round of signatures, starting on May 10?
Take this opportunity to reach out to your representative and express your disappointment about the shortcomings of the final House bill. Call (617) 722-2000 to speak with your legislator and keep up the pressure into the next stage of the legislation.
Last fall, we demonstrated how powerful we can be when we work together. Now it’s time to put that power back in action on the streets to ensure a higher wage and earned sick time for workers across Massachusetts.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bill Eddy For District Five Council

Dear Friends,
I am writing on behalf of my friend Bill Eddy, who is running for re-election as a City Councilor in District Five.  I have been friends with Bill for almost twenty years and I have seen first-hand the great work he has done on behalf of all the people in our great city.  Bill is now in a tough re-election fight and he is being attacked by his opponent for his advocacy on issues we believe in. I believe he deserves our support and here is a few reasons why:
As a member of the City Council, Bill has worked side by side with me to help advance our ten year Public Schools Capital plan that has secured almost 100 million dollars in state and local funds and commitments to improve schools in his district and across the city.  In his district, schools such as May Street and Heard Street have received improvements this year and next year Columbus Park and Tatnuck School will receive major capital investments. He also partnered with me to advocate for additional City funding for school operations to insure that our teachers have the resources they need to educate all our children.  Thanks to his leadership, we are now at foundation level for the first time in four years.
Bill has also been a tireless advocate for our neighborhoods. He led the way to hire new police officers and firefighters to keep our city safe.  He has worked to improve parks and playgrounds around the city and in his district. Bill has also been a passionate advocate for his district and is always working to advance his constituents needs. 
Finally, for more than a decade, Bill has been a partner with me in our local efforts to elect progressive leaders like Elizabeth Warren, Jim McGovern and Tim Murray.  On November 5th, please support Bill Eddy for City

Peter Kush For Council

Dear Friends,
This is the last of four candidate profiles that I am sending out for some new candidates who are running for local office.

Today I am writing to introduce you to my friend Peter Kush, a candidate for Councilor At-Large, and to invite you to a meet-and-greet I am co-sponsoring at the Blackstone Tap, 81 Water Street, on October 15 between 5:30 pm and 7 pm.
I have known Peter for most of his life, starting when he was just nine and often accompanied his mother to campaign headquarters during Kevin O'Sullivan's bid for Congress. Political and community activism was in his blood, and he has never let go of his commitment to good government and to the people of Worcester. He was born, raised, and educated in the city, earning a BA from Clark University with a major in Government. He helped pay his way through college while working at the Webster House, and counts former owner Chris Liazos as one of his mentors.

After graduation, Peter worked as a case manager at the South Worcester Neighborhood Center with a focus on housing and learned first hand about the challenges working families face.  He is currently employed as a case manager at the Worcester Housing Authority, helping residents overcome the hurdles that keep them from getting jobs and improving the quality of life for themselves and their families.
Peter is familiar with the people and the neighborhoods of this City, and understands the common issues that unite us all. Growing up, he lived in both the West Side and the Tatnuck Square sections of Worcester, and spent a lot of his childhood at his grandparents' triple decker on Vernon Hill where they looked after him while his parents worked. He lived in Main South following his graduation from Clark, and currently lives in the Elm Park/Piedmont area. I am confident he will bring those experiences to Council, and use his familiarity with the city and its people to engage and represent everyone who lives here.
Peter has made neighborhood-based decision-making one of the cornerstones of his campaign, and promises to be an independent voice on Council. He is intelligent, passionate, and tireless - all characteristics that this Council needs. I hope that you will take time to learn more about Peter Kush by following him on Facebook at Peter Kush for Council.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great Report On How Low Wages Paid By Fast Food Companies Hurts All of Us!

Want another good reason to raise the minimum wage? Follow the ink below to read a remarkable report put out by National Employment Law Project that outlines how taxpayers have to pay more than 3.8 billion to subsidize the low wages that the fast -food industry is paying its workers! While the leading fast food companies earn billions in profits each year and award chief executives generous compensation packages; millions of fast food workers have to rely on public assistance in order to afford health care, food, and other basic necessities. Here are a few highlights: • Low wages and lack of benefits at the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States cost taxpayers an estimated $3.8 billion per year. McDonald’s alone costs taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion each year. • While low wages and lack of benefits cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, the seven publicly-traded corporations on this list remain in strong financial condition today. Last year, these companies collectively earned $7.44 billion in profits; paid $52.7 million to their highest-paid executives and distributed $7.7 billion in dividends and buybacks. Please help join the effort of Raise Up Massachusetts to help hundreds of thousands of hard working people get a more equitable wage so they don’t have to rely on public assistance! Go to for more info!

  Click Here to View The Report!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mo Bergman for City Council

Dear Friends,
This is the third of four candidate profiles that I am sending out for some new candidates who are running for local office. As mentioned earlier, I do support many incumbents, but I wanted to highlight these four new candidates so that you know more about them.
One of the newcomers that I am supporting for at-large council is Moe Bergman. Moe is the son of two immigrants and was raised in a three-decker on the east side and graduated from Doherty High School. He went on to earn a degree in business and later a law degree from Boston University. Moe served as an Assistant District Attorney in Worcester and then established a private law practice. His wife Wendy is a physician and they have three children who attend pubic schools.
One of the reasons I am excited about Moe is his support for public schools.
As a City Councilor Moe Bergman will support:
  • Making public education funding a top priority for city government.
  • Accelerating our efforts to partner with state government to renovate our older school buildings, especially our middle and high schools.
  • Increasing regular meetings between the School Committee and City Council to better address areas of mutual concern and interest.
  •  Working to insure that our teachers and support personnel have the technology and resources they need to do their job.
Moe will also be a strong advocate for our neighborhoods and for public safety. I hope that you will take a few minutes to learn more about Moe by visiting his web site at
You can also meet Moe at an event that his campaign is holding tonight, Tuesday, at the On the Rise Bakery,1120 Pleasant St from 6:45 8:00pm. The event is free and open to the public. If you would like a yard sign, bumper sticker or would like to volunteer for his campaign, please let me know. Thanks!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Why the Government shutdown is bad for democracy


Great article that explains why the government shutdown is bad not only for the people of our country, but also how it threatens our democracy....

Governing by Blackmail

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in the NY Times 10/6/2013

SUPPOSE President Obama announced: Unless Republicans agree to my proposal for gun control, I will use my authority as commander in chief to scuttle one aircraft carrier a week in the bottom of the ocean. I invite Republican leaders to come to the White House and negotiate a deal to preserve our military strength. I hope Republicans will work with me to prevent the loss of our carrier fleet. If the Republicans refuse to negotiate, I will be compelled to begin by scuttling the U.S.S. George Washington in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, with 80 aircraft on board. In that situation, we would all agree that Obama had gone nuts. Whatever his beefs with Republicans, it would be an inexcusable betrayal to try to get his way by destroying our national assets. That would be an abuse of power and the worst kind of blackmail. And in that kind of situation, I would hope that we as journalists wouldn’t describe the resulting furor as a “political impasse” or “partisan gridlock.” I hope that we wouldn’t settle for quoting politicians on each side as blaming the other. It would be appropriate to point out the obvious: Our president had tumbled over the edge and was endangering the nation. Today, we have a similar situation, except that it’s a band of extremist House Republicans who are deliberately sabotaging America’s economy and damaging our national security — all in hopes of gaining leverage on unrelated issues. The shutdown of government by House Republicans has already cost at least $1.2 billion, with the tab increasing by $300 million a day. Some estimates are much higher than that. The 1995 and 1996 shutdowns cost the country $2.1 billion at today’s value, and the current one is also likely to end up costing billions — a cost imposed on every citizen by House Republicans, even as members of Congress pay themselves. The government shutdown and risk of default also undermine America’s strength around the world. It’s not just that 72 percent of the intelligence community’s civilian work force has been furloughed. It’s not simply that “the jeopardy to the safety and security of this country will increase” daily, according to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. Nor is it just that the White House telephone number is now answered with a recording that says to call back when government is functioning again. It’s not simply that several countries have issued travel advisories about visiting America. It’s not just that we’re mocked worldwide, with the French newspaper Le Monde writing: “Jefferson, wake up! They’ve gone crazy!” Rather, it’s that America’s strength and influence derive in part from the success of our political and economic model. When House Republicans shut our government down and leave us teetering on the abyss of default, we are a diminished nation. We have less influence. We have less raw power, as surely as if we had fewer aircraft carriers. Some Americans think that this crisis reflects typical partisan squabbling. No. Democrats and Republicans have always disagreed, sometimes ferociously, about what economic policy is best, but, in the past, it was not normal for either to sabotage the economy as a negotiating tactic. In a household, husbands and wives disagree passionately about high-stakes issues like how to raise children. But normal people do not announce that if their spouse does not give in, they will break all the windows in the house. Hard-line House Republicans seem to think that their ability to inflict pain on 800,000 federal workers by furloughing them without pay gives them bargaining chips. The hard-liners apparently believe that their negotiating position is strengthened when they demonstrate that they can wreck American governance. The stakes rise as we approach the debt limit and the risk of default — which the Treasury Department notes could have an impact like that of the 2008 financial crisis and “has the potential to be catastrophic.” Astonishingly, Republican hard-liners see that potential catastrophe as a source of bargaining power in a game of extortion: We don’t want anything to happen to this fine American economy as we approach the debt limit, so you’d better meet our demands. In this situation, it strikes a false note for us as journalists to cover the crisis simply by quoting each side as blaming the other. That’s a false equivalency. The last time House Republicans played politics with this debt limit, in 2011, Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s credit rating. In the long run, that may mean higher debt payments and higher taxes. My opening example of a president scuttling naval ships was ludicrous. No one would do that. But if we default because of extremist House Republicans, the cost could be much greater to our economy and to our national security than the loss of a few aircraft carriers.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hilda Ramirez for School Committee

Dear Friends,
This is the second of four candidate profiles that I am sending out for some new candidates who are running for local office.
Today I am writing to introduce you to my friend Hilda Ramirez, who is a candidate for the Worcester School Committee.  Hilda is an intelligent, passionate leader whom I had the pleasure of working with for the last six years. I believe she will be a great addition to the School Committee.
Hilda came to Massachusetts from New York City to attend College and has been living in Worcester for 24 years.  She received a Master in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has a B.A. from Lesley University. 
Hilda served as the Executive Director of the Worcester Youth Center (WYC) for four years and I had the opportunity to work closely with her as a Board member. While at the WYC, Hilda developed strong partnerships that resulted in many opportunities for youth, ranging from creating new jobs in culinary arts to organizing an urban forestry program.
A strong leader in our Hispanic community, Hilde was one of the leading members of my Mayor's Commission for Academic Excellence of Latino Students.  She helped lead the Commission's efforts to create a comprehensive report on how our city can improve academic achievement of Latino students.  Many of these recommendations have been adopted and she has continued to help lead a broader community conversation on raising academic outcomes for all our students.
Hilda has also been actively supporting many other community initiatives, including a Homelessness Task Force, the Worcester Education Collaborative 3rd Grade Literacy Initiative, and the creation of six Wrap Around Service Coordinators in the public schools. She is now working on a new initiative called Attendance Matters (Every School Day Counts), a marketing campaign to help reduce truancy rates in the district.   
Hilda is currently working as the Associate Director of the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University. In her role at Worcester State Hilda has partnered with the AVID and Advance Placement programs to ensure more parents have information about college for their children. Hilda also has over 16 years of experience working in the corporate sector and was the owner of a dance studio in Worcester for over 10 years.  She truly understands what is needed for our youth to succeed in the global economy. 
I hope that you will take time to learn more about Hilda Ramirez by visiting her website at or following her on Facebook at Elect-Hilda-Ramirez-for-Worcester-School-Committee