The Coalition for Social Justice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for progressive social change, rooted in communities that have been excluded from the economic benefits of the current system. We have a dual focus: to recruit and develop leadership, especially from low income communities, and to build effective campaigns that address the economic survival issues that our constituency faces.
We build grassroots power through empowering low-income voters, building a large network of volunteers, holding elected officials accountable and building broad coalitions.
We can always use volunteers. Click below to find out how.
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- Paid Family & Medical Leave
- Fair Share Tax
- Fight For $15
- Jobs Not Jails
- Green Justice
- Strengthening the Welfare Safety Net
- Indivisible Southeast Mass
Emergencies arise for all of us at some point, but 87% of workers in New England lack access to paid
leave. In Massachusetts, 1.2 million workers risk losing their jobs if they take time off work to take care
of a family medical emergency or to care for a new child. Many workers who are eligible for leave under
the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can’t afford to take unpaid time off from work in an
emergency. They’re often left to choose between taking care of a child they love or keeping their job.
Paid family and medical leave would allow all workers to take time to take care of their health or the
health of a loved one without fear of losing their job or the risk of financial ruin.
The Fair Share Amendment would amend the Massachusetts Constitution to create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars, so only those with the highest incomes would pay a little more. The revenue generated by the tax would be dedicated towards public transportation and public education.To ensure that the tax continues to apply only to the highest income residents, who have the ability to pay more, the one million dollar threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.
When workers earn enough to pay for the basics, it is good for families and strengthens our overall economy.
A higher minimum wage increases workers’ take-home pay, in turn increasing their ability to purchase goods
and services in the local economy. Changes in our economy over the past three decades have made it difficult
for working people to make ends meet. Since the 1970s, wage growth has stagnated, even though the
economy and worker productivity has continued growing. Today a minimum wage worker in Massachusetts,
working full-time without vacation, will earn only $22,880 in wages.
This campaign addresses the issue of racially discriminatory mass incarceration.
It would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, reclassify certain drug
possession offenses and petty larceny as misdemeanors rather than felonies, eliminate probation,
parole and other court fees that trap defendants in poverty, improve CORI laws to remove
barriers to employment for ex-offenders, and increase funding for job placement, job training
and education programs for prisoners, ex-prisoners and court-involved youth.
This campaign is aimed at stopping new fossil fuel development while increasing access to clean energy. While CSJ continues holding big utility corporations accountable to ratepayers, we are prioritizing the need for opportunities for renewable energy developers and local communities to invest in clear energy together. CSJ is working to increase access to affordable solar energy for working class communities. Because these advancements are rooted in securing environmental justice, we are working to ensure our environmental policies reflect our values of racial, economic, and social justice.
Eliminate the “family cap” that forces many single mother families into homelessness. We also want to increase food security by screening families and individuals who receive Medicaid for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility. And reject the Governor’s proposal to cut off families’ TAFDC where a parent or child has a severe disability. The Governor’s budget proposes slashing TAFDC benefits for families where a parent or child is so severely disabled that they receive federal SSI benefits.
CSJ is expanding its agenda to include fight back against the Trump agenda. We are participating in the unprecedented and exciting upsurge of protest that that has greeted initial attempts to implement the Trump agenda. This involves taking up issues such as immigration and the repeal of Obamacare. So far we have coordinated a campaign to prevent Sheriff Hodgson from collaborating with ICE (federal immigration authorities) on its deportation policy and organized phone banking to stop Republican attacks on Obamacare and Medicaid.
ACCOMPLISHMENTSTo Meet the Needs of Working-Class Families
- In 1997, helped to win over $100 million in new child care funding.
- In 1997 and 1999, helped to implement and then to expand a new state Earned Income Tax Credit, benefitting low-wage workers.
- In 1999 and 2006, helped win $1.50 and $1.25 increases in the state minimum wage, particularly benefitting female workers and making Massachusetts with $8.00 one of the highest minimum wage rates in the nation.
- In 2000, helped win a 10% increase in the welfare grant, the first increase in 12 years.
- In 2002, helped win a progressive tax package, including closing the capital gains tax loophole, stopping $1.1 billion in budget cuts to essential services, including many programs particularly benefitting low-income women and their families.
- In 2005, collected 18,000 signatures to help win affordable health insurance for hundreds of thousands of uninsured families in Massachusetts, including coverage for low-wage workers just above the poverty line, disproportionately female.
- In 2008 and 2010, helped defeat tax-rollback ballot questions that would have resulted in severe budget cuts, particularly services affecting low-income women and their families.
- In 2010, we helped to win legislation to reform the CORI system, removing barriers to employment for people seeking to turn their lives around.
- In 2011, helped preserve the Commonwealth Bridge Program which provides health care to cover 27,000 legal immigrants who meet the eligibility guidelines for state-subsidized health insurance. (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court ruled that the state must provide equal access to Commonwealth Care, regardless of immigration status.)
- In 2011 helped to restore the children’s clothing allowance of $150 per year per child so they were able to start the school year with suitable clothing.
- In 2011, helped protect access to homeless shelters for people who become homeless as a result of foreclosures, job loss, and expiration of unemployment compensation, illness or disability.
- 2014: Minimum wage increase to $11 by 2017.
- 2014: Earned Sick Time, for all workers in MA
TAX JUSTICE VICTORIES | 2002-2010In coalition with other organizations throughout Massachusetts, we have made significant contributions to major tax justice victories.
- In 2002, we helped win a tax package that prevented $1.1 billion in budget cuts to essential services. The tax package included eliminating the capital gains tax loophole, which allowed investors who held investments for 6 or more years to pay nothing in state income taxes. And it froze the income tax rate at 5.3%, preventing the scheduled income roll-back to 5.0%.
- From 2003 through 2008, we helped to close several hundred million in unfair corporate tax loopholes, culminating in the passage of combined reporting in 2008, which saved $300 million by preventing companies from shifting profits on paper to other lower-tax or no-tax states.
- In 2008, we helped achieve the defeat of Question 1, the proposed elimination of the state income tax, persuading voter 10,000 voters to vote NO on a ballot question that would have decimated state services.
- In 2009, we helped win a tax package that restored $1 billion in essential services, featuring an increase in the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%. Because of this tax package, scheduled cuts to vital services such as rental subsidies, substance abuse treatment, MassHealth dental coverage, and prescription drug assistance for seniors were reversed.
- In 2009, we helped to close the telecommunications tax loophole, a 1915 law which exempted communications companies from paying property tax on their poles and wires.
- In 2010, we helped to defeat Question 3, a ballot question that would have resulted in $2.5 billion in cuts to state services as a result of rolling back the sales tax from 6.25% to 3%.
- In 2010, we helped win an increase in the New Bedford city meals tax, raising $750,000 and enabling the recall of 34 laid-off workers who provide essential services to the city. The state had passed the meals tax option in 2008 as a way to help cities and towns cope with cuts in state aid, but the City Council had refused to support the increase until we organized over 300 hundred residents to call them to advocate for its passage.