Groups Pushes for Minimum Wage Ballot Question in Massachusetts

Supporters of a higher minimum wage in Massachusetts hope to place the issue in front of voters next year. A group called Raise Up Massachusetts” held rallies around the state Wednesday, including one outside the Walmart in Hadley.The group backs a proposed ballot question to hike the minimum wage while also guaranteeing sick time for workers.

Walmart customer Judy Lora supports the proposal.

“It’s just fair. Everybody gets sick, everybody has emergencies. You shouldn’t have to be without pay if you’re ill. So, I think it’s a great thing and Walmart’s probably a great place to do it, because a lot of people go in here and they haven’t had the best reputation,” Lora said.

A spokesperson for Walmart said its average hourly wage for full-time employees in Massachusetts tops $13 per hour. The state’s minimum wage has been set at $8 per hour since 2008.

The National Federation of Independent Business said in a statement that an increase would end up hurting workers. The group said a minimum wage bill that was introduced in the legislature would cost the state 63,000 jobs over the next ten years.

John O’Neil , Sam Hudzik and the Associated Press contributed to this story.