Minimum Wage Will Go Up to $11 in the Next Three Years [Updated]

Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill making hourly pay in Massachusetts the highest in the country.

Image via Associated Press

Image via Associated Press

UPDATE:

On Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that will raise the minimum wage for workers to $11 over the next three years, making Massachusetts a leader in how much states pay their employees by the hour.

“Raising the minimum wage brings a little relief to the working poor, many of whom do jobs we could not live without and who recycle money right back into the economy,” said Patrick in a statement. “By signing this bill, we show the Nation that opportunity can and must be spread outward, not just upward. I thank the Legislature for their important work in reaching this milestone.”

Starting next year, the minimum wage will go up to $9 an hour, and will increase by $1 each year through 2017. Wages for tipped workers will go up to $3.75 per hour by 2017. The law also lowers costs for businesses through an updated unemployment insurance rating table and multi-year rate freeze, according to officials.

“Increasing the minimum wage to $11 an hour will provide much-needed relief to many hard-working residents and, by updating our unemployment insurance rating table and introducing a multi-rate freeze for our businesses, we are rewarding responsible companies and providing more financial predictability,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “These changes are necessary to create an environment here in Massachusetts where residents can succeed and thrive.”

EARLIER:

A minimum wage bill that would bump people’s pay to $11 per hour by 2017 is on its way to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk for his signature.

Late Thursday night, the Senate and House of Representatives passed a final version of minimum wage legislation that would increase hourly pay over the next three years, and lower costs for businesses through an updated unemployment insurance rating table and multi-year rate freeze, according to elected officials. The minimum wage would gradually increase by $1 each year through 2017.

“With this vote to increase the minimum wage and to reform our unemployment insurance system, the Legislature has strengthened two important aspects of our state’s social and economic fabric,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

The bill, if signed by the governor, will also increase pay for tipped workers and farmers. According to language in the proposal, wages for tipped workers will go up to $3.75 per hour by 2017, increasing more than $1 from the current set wage. Minimum wage for agriculture and farming will see an even steeper increase, and shoot to $8 per hour from $1.60 per hour.

President Barack Obama, who has been calling for a federal increase of the minimum wage, pushing pay to $10.10 an hour, applauded local legislators on their efforts to set a new standard. If Patrick signs the legislation, Massachusetts will become the state with the highest minimum wage in the country.

“I commend the Massachusetts Legislature for standing up for working men and women in the Commonwealth and taking action toward raising the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017,” Obama said in a statement Thursday. “Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, Massachusetts joins a growing coalition of states, cities, and counties that are doing part to make sure no American working full-time has to support a family in poverty. I look forward to Governor Patrick signing this bill into law soon, and I urge Congress to follow Massachusetts’ lead.”

A group called Raise Up Massachusetts has been fighting for the last year to call attention to increasing the state’s current minimum wage of $8. They have rallied at the State House, and garnered enough support to get a question before voters on the subject for the 2014 election season. The organization said Thursday that they’d consider withdrawing their own proposal if Patrick sings the bill into law.

“Giving Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country would help more than 600,000 families who deserve to earn fair wages. The minimum wage bill passed by the Legislature…is a positive step,” they said in a statement. “We are continuing to turn in signatures to local cities and towns, and the bill would need to be signed by the Governor before our signature gathering deadline in order for us to consider withdrawing our ballot question.”

  • Michael E

    Patrick and Obama are both socialists, so this doesn’t surprise me ONE BIT.

    So, not only do we have to give these people welfare checks, EBT cards, free housing, free tuition, free transportation, etc., they now want higher salaries? Good grief! I have student loans I pay back ($350/month), high rent costs ($1700/month), $350/month health insurance (from Aetna), $26/month car insurance (thank god for Insurance Panda), $400/month for food+drink, gas/tolls/parking ($150/month), and I work 60 hours a week. If anyone should be complaining, it should be me.

    Bring on the robots!

    • joanmcn@aol.com

      I’m with you 100%. I can’t work any more hours to support everyone else. I can’t even support myself…

  • NikkiPinodyo

    just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I
    didn’t believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
    there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
    about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
    bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • John Gatti Jr

    Massachusetts poised to raise Minimum Wage is meaningless and will not help those workers who are currently being cheated. There is little or nil enforcement in existing Minimum Wage, Child Labor, and Employment Laws in Massachusetts.

    Massachusetts was formerly the national leader in minimum wage, child labor, employment, and wage enforcement laws. Honest employers and their employees are being forced to compete unfairly against businesses that cheat.

    Most cheating businesses have little fear of being caught as the Attorney General and Workforce Development do not enforce the laws, rules, and regulations with adequate staffing, oversight, and prosecutions.

    The blame squarely falls on those elements in organized labor that destroyed the hard fought Secretariat of Labor in 1993 instead of monitoring and holding the agency accountable. The leader of the carnage was former Senate President, Labor lawyer, and then Ways and Means Chair Thomas Birmingham. Those labor bosses and Birmingham have failed to advocate and insure adequate resources and those agencies are doing their mandated functions. They continue to cover up their failure for their decisions with workers and the taxpayers continuing to suffer.

    It is unfortunate that workers who are exploited have to retain a lawyer for hire to obtain the fruits of their labor and government in their time of need is not there to help. Unfortunately, some of the elements from organized labor that sat by and covered up the destruction of Massachusetts employment law enforcement are now in charge of those government agencies.

    The message to those businesses who cheat, do so, the chances of getting caught is little or nil, and when caught pay up most times cents on the dollar if any. Massachusetts has welcomed businesses who cheat their employees and do not pay their fair share of taxes

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