By participating with Essex County Community Organization and its coalition of grass-roots state-wide partners (the faith based group MCAN and the Raise-UP Massachusetts), First Church in Swampscott Congregational and other Conference churches effected real change for 1.5 million of our neighbors and their communities in 2014, their signature-gathering and lobbying efforts successfully leading to improved pay and benefits for low wage and hourly paid employees.
But the fight for a living wage that respects every working man and woman, and demands for ethical workplaces that recognize that everyone can get sick, or can have an ill child or parent needing care, needs to continue.
If the "Fight for $15" campaign is successful, 947,000 people, or 29% of our state’s workers, would get a raise. Because poverty is a racial issue, this effort would disproportionately affect people of color, raising wages for 42% of black workers and 52% of Latino workers. Nearly one third of all Massachusetts children would be impacted. This is a gender equality and dignity issue The majority of low wage workers are women. Also the Paid Family Medical Leave would provide substantially paid medical leave when a person is seriously ill or injured or an immediate family member is and needs their help....and also covers maternity/paternity leaves.
As Organizer Rev. Ian Holland of the First Church in Swampscott, Congregational says, "I have been inspired by Rev. William Barber II's prophetic call for a moral revival of the values lived by Jesus, and shared across other faith traditions. " ...the deepest public concerns of our nation and faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, children, workers, immigrants and the sick." A living wage of a minimum $15 an hour and paid medical leave for all will make a huge difference!"