Friday, March 14, 2014

FinCom Votes NO To $15/hr Minimum Wage


 
Minimum wage to $15/hr would cost add $220K to town budget for employees!
Current minimum wage in Mass is $8/hr (proposed to go up  $11 by 2016)

Saying pretty much the town of Amherst should not go it alone, the Finance Committee, trusted advisers to Amherst Town Meeting, voted 5-0 last night to oppose the only article on the March 19 Special Town Meeting warrant which would allow Amherst to raise the minimum wage from $8/hr to $15/hr.

When Town Meeting votes down the article, labor activist Matthew Cunningham-Cook has threatened to obtain the 880 registered voters signatures required to place the question on a town general election ballot to overturn the Town Meeting vote.

That would then require an insurmountable 18% of the current 17,596 registered voters (3,167) to agree to overturn Town Meeting and approve the measure, otherwise the endeavor fails.

Since a stand alone election costs the taxpayers $12,000, I will make a "Motion to Dismiss" the article on March 19 and when that passes (by simple majority vote) there is nothing an election can do to change the outcome.

Although I did offer Matthew Cunningham-Cook, who moved to Amherst less than six months ago to join SLAP -- the Student Labor Action Project at UMass -- a deal:  If he and his group submit a check to the town for $12,000 I will stand down with my motion.

And if the article miraculously passes, so no election will be called, I would simply give them back their money.

It's one thing when a grade school teacher suggests school children write a Letter To The Editor as a civic exercise, since that doesn't cost taxpayers a dime.  It's quite another when an academic project will cost taxpayers $12,000 and a large group of volunteer citizens an entire night stuck in the Middle School Auditorium.

Let's hope Town Meeting passes my motion, and slaps down SLAP.



27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kids an idiot. If only he knew what he was talking about.

Anonymous said...

1: What he is really working toward is expanding BEO to include at least all the student hourly (undergrad) employees at UMass -- if not also all the students working in town.

2: "If he and his group submit a check to the town for $12,000 I will stand down with my motion."

This is in violation of at least three different laws I can think of - although I;ve long given up on the "rule of law" in the purgatorial cesspool.

3: The town will get to have two elections over this -- the first will be one on if a motion to dismiss is a precedent which people wish to establish -- and presented right, I can see enough different coalitions in Amherst fearful of this happening to THEM that it would be reversed. That means the Special Town Meeting is again reconvened (at another $14K cost) and while the two of you could play this game all spring, there are enough adults in town that would realize that the thousands of dollars being spent were better spent elsewhere and vote to vote.

Besides, I don't think you can have the regular town meeting until after the special one is adjourned -- and if there are votes to un-adjourn it, that would preclude the regular meeting from starting.

4. -- Most importantly -- I think the true audience is on Beacon Hill -- that his goal all along is to get the minimum wage increase amended to be $15 at public universities -- and there is a case to be made for doing it.

Anonymous said...

What those in the Amherst restaurant (etc) trade need to fear is that a $15 on-campus minimum wage would quickly become a de-facto off campus one as well -- the UM kids would refuse to work for less, as would the brighter ARHS students and then folks would either have to pay it or get loosers who wound up costing them more via incompetence.

As I've said before, this kid is either a genius or a moron playing with gasoline -- either way, he likely will get a good fire going...

Anonymous said...

Correction: GEO - Graduate Employee Union, Local 2322 of United Auto Workers.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually that's just a private deal offer I'm making as a (5th generation) private citizen/taxpayer in this town.

And it's not just the $12,000 cost. a Special Election puts a strain on the Town Clerk's office as well.

Special Town Meetings don't really cost anything, but time. A Special Town Election costs $12,000 or if we were to hold it on September 9 during the State Primary it would still cost around $10,000.

If their true audience is Beacon Hill than they should raise some money and take out an ad in the Boston Globe.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I've got to call you on this -- you really are too intelligent to actually believe this stuff if you think it through.

Actually that's just a private deal offer I'm making as a (5th generation) private citizen/taxpayer in this town.

No! You would be doing this as an elected town official -- a town meeting member. It's the same thing as Stan offering "a private deal" in exchange for him making a motion and/or voting a certain way in the State Senate. The latter is explicitly why we have both State Ethics laws and the Ethics Commission.

Special Town Meetings don't really cost anything, but time.

Really??? Maybe Team Maria is "eating" the cost, but the electricity, custodial overtime, police overtime -- not to mention the "opportunity cost" of the people who show up -- this stuff is not truly "free."

Come to think of it, don't the same people who work elections (i.e. the $12K cost) also work the town meeting -- checking people in and such? They don't get paid for that? That isn't a "burden" on them too?

If their true audience is Beacon Hill than they should raise some money and take out an ad in the Boston Globe.

I think last Saturday negated any need of them doing that. Beacon Hill is very much aware of Amherst right now... :)

And Larry, I ask you this directly: If it could be shown that the $15/hr minimum wage would abate the underlying issues that led to things like last Saturday, would you support it? If credentialed outsiders said so?

That team of outsiders they are bringing in are going to say things that you and yours aren't going to like to hear -- and don't think that Menino's crackdown on the Boston slumlords wasn't part of how Boston dealt with things post-Snellgrove.

So if they say "raising the local minimum wage would abate the sense of exploitation which leads to hostility toward town police" would you be willing to accept and do that?

Larry Kelley said...

No.

Larry Kelley said...

Hey at this point maybe I'll be in jail by Wednesday, for either hanging to close to police officers at the Blarney Blowout riot or political graft and corruption charges for trying to save the taxpayers $12,000.

Anonymous said...

Ed is finally right. It is illegal to use the power of your elected position for personal gain, or in your case cheating the process.
Not cool Larry, not cool...

Larry Kelley said...

Well now I know I'm right -- the CANs agreeing with Ed. Yikes!

What's not "cool" is for some kid to move Amherst six months ago and hatch a little experiment (probably for academic credit) that will devastate the economy of the downtown.

With all due respect: Go to Hell.

Anonymous said...

Boy your easy...

Larry Kelley said...

And YOU'RE a CAN.

Anonymous said...

How much would we have to pay to get you to stop posting Ed's crap?

Larry Kelley said...

Actually ... stay tuned.

Peter Vickery said...

The labor union that takes a percentage of the students' paychecks is the real beneficiary-in-waiting here (note L in SLAP). If we're going to boost the public subsidy to that particular private organization, could we also mandate that a percentage go to the Law Office of Peter Vickery, Esq.? Perhaps I should offer a friendly amendment to that effect at TM.

Dr. Ed said...

What's not "cool" is for some kid to move Amherst six months ago and hatch a little experiment (probably for academic credit) that will devastate the economy of the downtown.

Isn't that exactly what they said of Catherine Sanderson?

Not quite in those words, but still....

Larry Kelley said...

Ed, I served with Catherine Sanderson. I knew Catherine Sanderson. Catherine Sanderson was a friend of mine.

Ed, I can assure you: Matthew Cunningham-Cook is no Jack Kennedy, err, I mean Catherine Sanderson!

Anonymous said...

The biggest impression I carry away from reading this blog is how incredibly childish you are, Larry. You act and talk like you're in elementary school.

Larry Kelley said...

At least you know the difference between your and you're.

But you're still a CAN.

Anonymous said...

The most important issue is being completely ignored! Larry finally learned that 5th doesn't have an apostrophe!

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, from now on I'll just copy it from the New York Times.

kevin said...

Remember the last time a student-organized labor movement came to Amherst, ending in the shuttering of the Lord Jeff? The entire staff, people with families and houses, lost their jobs and the Inn was dark for years. This one is backed by a Washington, DC-based group, they don't care about us. Why *not* shutter the Town of Amherst?

http://www.studentlabor.org/

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how Larry is choosing to navigate the question of how Town Meeting should respond to this article, I think the question itself is a good one. If there is a way for TM to respond that will preclude a special election or that can defer the ballot question to an already scheduled election (thereby saving some cost), I would be in favor of it.

Anonymous said...

So… a quick look at the Town Government Act lays out the referendum rules, indicating that certain TM decisions can be challenged, if a petition containing signatures of 5% of registered voters is submitted within 5 business days of the TM decision.

But… there are exceptions to that rule, as stated below:

"The following measures shall not be the subject of a referendum called under the provisions of this section: ….. votes declared by preamble by a 2/3 vote of the town meeting members present and voting thereon to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the peace, health, safety or convenience of the town.

Looks like that’s the angle… making the dismissal motion with the aim of protecting economic health, safety, etc. of the town and necessitating a 2/3 majority vote. Or, if dismissal fails, petitioning the moderator to allow a 2/3 majority no vote on the article to be considered in that same context.

Anonymous said...

Hello? Could we get back to the issue? Who is actually working for $8/hour? Probably high school students. (Babysitting? Mowing lawns?)

Who is working for $10/hour? Probably semi skilled college students. (Supermarkets, libraries, LSSE, stores at the mall, etc.)

Who is currently working for $15/hour? Part time reference librarians with a Master's degree who either have other jobs or only want part time. Clericals who work for the Town.

What is SLAP's union dues rate? Is it a percentage of earnings? Hmmm ... more earnings, more dues collected.

Anonymous said...

I have a real problem with the "tax writeoff" -- the senior citizens who have lived in town most/all their lives, who saved and bought a piece of property -- and who now are having to work so they don't loose it to taxes -- only getting $8/hour in credit.

I think -- at least -- these people ought to get $15/$20 per hour -- as it is CREDIT only, they are people wo paid into the town for years, and now in their golden days, shouldn't have to struggle like this.

I mean - like -- they've already bought their house once/twice/thrice in taxes over the past 40 years -- I say give them a break!

Anonymous said...

That's a great LOCAL idea. The Sr. Citizen Tax Write Off program originates in Amherst -- that could be raised. I'd support it.

By the way, I can't read the *&^%$ letters to prove I'm not a computer.