Current Minimum Wage in Massachusetts is $8/hour, Federal rate is $7.25
Tracy Kidder once famously said of Amherst that we are the only town "to have its own foreign policy." Well on March 19 Amherst Town Meeting could set a domestic policy not normally within the purview of local town government by passing an ordinance requiring a $15/hour minimum wage anywhere within the confines of our 27.8 square miles, surrounded by reality.
Since 200 registered voters signed the petition the Amherst Select Board had no choice but to call the Special Town Meeting, although SB Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe called it "very unusual."
The idea is the brainchild of UMass Grad Student Matthew E. Cunningham-Cook. Originally he was going to run for Select Board in the 3/25 election but became preoccupied with collecting signatures for this Special Town Meeting.
Although it does sort of fall within his educational field of study at the UMass Labor Center.
Spring is a very busy time with the town election on March 25 and the annual Town Meeting starting April 28. Some of the Select Board members wondered if this March 19 Special Town Meeting would get a quorum -- especially since it's only for one issue.
Without a quorum the article is defeated, as there would be no "do over."
Amherst small business owners would breathe a sigh of relief, as laying off workers can be stressful. Although small business owners in neighboring towns would perhaps be disappointed.
Amherst to hold Special Town Meeting to vote article calling for minimum wage in Amherst of $15/hr. Activist collected 200 signatures.
— Larry Kelley (@amherstac) March 4, 2014