In June, 2018, Massachusetts passed legislation to establish the most progressive Paid Family and Medical Leave program in the country and increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour! This legislation will make Massachusetts only the third state, after California and New York, to adopt both Paid Family and Medical Leave and a $15 minimum wage. This is an enormous victory for working people in Massachusetts.
And it only happened because of the work of organizations like CSJ, a founding member and a leader of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition. Our victory was the culmination of an intense 3 year campaign for Paid Family and Medical Leave and the $15 minimum wage. It included the hard work of legislative advocacy – lobbying legislators, recruiting co-sponsors, organizing large events, gathering personal and expert testimony, organizing phone banks, and building coalitions. And it included huge amounts of signature gathering, to prepare to go to the ballot if necessary, and to apply leverage needed to get our legislation passed.
The Coalition for Social Justice is very proud of our contribution to these hard-fought campaigns! Our staff and volunteers collected over 45,544 signatures, the most of any organization in the state. We made thousands of calls to get voters to contact their legislators, again generating the most calls of any organization. We gathered compelling personal testimony from people directly affected by the issues. We helped to organize large public events in New Bedford/Fall River and Brockton, brought bus-loads of people to the State House on numerous occasions, served as the state-wide leader of the Paid Family and Medical Leave campaign, and co-chaired the RUM Coalition.
CSJ was one of a handful of RUM members who participated along with the business community and legislative leaders Jason Lewis and Paul Brodeur to develop the Paid Family and Medical Leave program design. Based on this experience, we were able to develop productive and mutually respectful relationships with business leaders that will serve us well in future campaigns.