Can we talk about the Grand Bargain?
The good news is that it raised the state’s minimum wage from $11 to $15 over the next five years.
There is also a paid family leave program, that it funded by a payroll tax. No free lunch there.
Oh, and a tax free holiday to help business owners – and result in taxes having to be raised elsewhere to make up for this gift to business owners.
And the bad news? The stuff that our legislators are not bragging about when they pat themselves on the back for their work on the Grand Bargain, is there bad news?
Yes, there is.
For those employed in retail, currently making $15-20 per hour (or $40-54K a year), brace yourself for an 8% pay cut (or $3-4K a year) by 2023.
A pay CUT? Democrats in Massachusetts voted to cut the wages of working class citizens? Yes, yes they did.
Part of the “Grand Bargain” was the eventual elimination time and a half pay on Sundays and Holidays for those who currently get it. If one is familiar with retail, one knows that weekends are the busiest days of the week and most retail workers get days off Monday through Friday. Losing Sunday time and a half pay is a big hit for these working class citizens. Imagine getting by on $40K this year and having to decide what personal budget cuts one has to make in five years to take into account a loss of three thousand dollars?
In my opinion, our legislature go played on this one, perhaps knowingly. Business owners wrote this bill, I suspect. On a personal note, as I was unemployed three years ago and looking for a part time job, virtually every place I applied to in retail offered me $12 an hour. We see today that Amazon and others are already starting people at $15 per hour. This “Grand Bargain” was simply a Trojan Horse to eliminate time and a half for retail workers on Sundays and Holidays, and a swift move to raise the wages of the lowest paid by taking wages from the next to the lowest paid; robbing Peter the mid-level team leader to pay Paul, the cashier.
This bill also pushes the acceptance that Business, not Community, it King. Screw the weekend, the Sunday Social, the family get-together on Thanksgiving, Patriot’s Day, Christmas, it’s BUSINESS that needs us to work, work, work all for the benefit of the .01% that owns the businesses and apparently, our government.