Minimum wage workers consider wage hike

The bill will raise the minimum wage to $11.00 an hour by 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that will raise the minimum wage to $11.00 an hour by 2017. As word spread that the Governor signed the bill, workers here in western Massachusetts started considering what it means for them.

The Massachusetts minimum wage will go up a dollar an hour every year for the next three years starting in January. Welcome news for minimum wage earners, like Kristin Carlson, who works in Longmeadow.

Carlson said, “It’s really tough right now to pay the bills, pay for our loans and stuff when we’re making minimum wage so with is going up, it will benefit us.”

However, not everyone is celebrating. The wage increase was on the minds of people gathered at a Basketball Hall of Fame conference focused on business expansion.

Jeff Ciuffreda, the President of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield says most of their members would’ve supported a modest increase. He said, “Our members, about 65 percent of them said when it gets to the $10.50 range, he would have to take some type of action to off-set that.”

By 2017, Massachusetts will have the highest minimum wage in the nation at $11 an hour. For people who make just above minimum wage, they worry how the cost of living might change.

“My current lifestyle that I’ve been living off my wage for isn’t going to be the same because prices are going to go up and that’s not something I’d want to see because I won’t be making any more than I was before, so,” said Wilbraham’s Courtney Bazarian.

The bill also raised the base wage for tipped workers from $2.63 an hour to $3.75. This is the first hourly wage increase for tipped workers since 1999.

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