Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers (and a very exciting phone call!)


Jaws dropped as MWPC Executive Director Priti Rao raced into the conference room with United States Senator Elizabeth Warren on the phone. Everyone was completely star struck as she wished our fearless leader, Priti Rao, a happy birthday.

While she was on the phone with us, she spoke very passionately about an issue that affects millions of working people, especially working women: tip workers’ minimum wage rates. Tipped workers can range from waiters and bartenders to hairdressers and hotel workers. According to Senator Warren, “It has been twenty years since the United States has increased minimum wage for tip workers,” which has been a meager $2.13 per hour since 1991. Under the proposed legislation, the minimum wage for these individuals would be increased over a period of three years from $2.13 an hour to $7.07.

Here in Massachusetts, women make up 49% of the workforce but make up 73% of tipped workers ( This high number shows that women are affected much more than men by inaction in Congress to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers. We applaud Senator Warren’s efforts to improve the quality of living for women here in Massachusetts and across the nation by supporting a higher minimum wage.

For more information on The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, please visit the following link.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Are we still debating abortion laws in the U.S.? Why yes we are. Since even before Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973 the U.S. has been pulled back and forth across the political scale of where it stands on the topic of abortion. The population of the U.S. has been defined over this one issue as either Pro-Choice or Pro-Life with no middle ground.
We see this dispute strike up again in the recent debate of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This act would outlaw all abortions of fetuses that have reached the 22-week mark, and makes the argument that a fetus can feel pain after the first trimester. This law would partially reverse Roe vs. Wade and make it difficult for women to seek quality abortion care. The act is expected to pass the House by next week and has had a lot of support from state legislatures. It is expected to be overridden by the Senate and President Obama has already stated that he would veto the bill.
The real question that remains is why after more than 40 years is this still a hot topic in the U.S.? So hot in fact that we see constant attempts to repeal that right to have an abortion, such as this act. Do we not have anything better to do? Do the issues of the economy, unemployment, the right for same sex marriage, equal pay, or maintaining the safety of the American people not come first? Not to mention, why are there no women on the debate panel? These are all questions that arise as the debate continues in the House. The legislators in this instance have been criticized once again for being anti-women and anti-science. They sound uneducated with very biased opinions from both health care providers and supporters.
The debate has become a waste of valuable time and resources and needs to be considered as a conversation that has long since been decided on. It is time to move on to other issues and let women have their choice to privacy. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MWPC Remembers Former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci

Boston -- Former Governor Paul Cellucci died last Saturday at his home in Hudson, Massachusetts, due to complications from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a debilitating and incurable neurological condition of which he a has battled with for five years. He died surrounded by family according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He was 65.

Cellucci, a Republican, served in the state’s House of Representatives and Senate before being elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, a position he held from 1990-1997. He then became governor in 1997, when Governor William Weld resigned, serving until 2001 when he became the U.S ambassador of Canada.

He is remembered for being a man of loyalty and great integrity. He dedicated his life to public service as well as his family. Many admired the former governor for his outstanding ability to work in a bi-partisan fashion. Former Massachusetts State Treasurer, Joe Malone says, “both democrats and republicans respected him tremendously, so I think everyday that he spent in public life was a day that he enjoyed”.

Governor Cellucci was honored by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus in 2008 at the Annual Good Guys Awards. Governor Cellucci was recognized for his immense valor when it came to addressing women’s issues. Cellucci was a fearless advocate for women’s equality, especially in the workforce.

“Governor Cellucci showcased all the qualities of a great leader,” stated MWPC Executive Director Priti Rao. “He was a man of great character, credibility, integrity, and vision. And he will be terribly missed.”  

There will be a private memorial service at the State House in the House chambers at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by a public viewing from 2:30-7 p.m.

For more information, contact Priti Rao at 617-451-9294 or

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The 50th Anniversary of JFK's Equal Pay Act

Though it was his last, 1963 proved to be a big year for President John F. Kennedy: his newly created Peace Corps reached 5,000 members, he proposed the Civl Rights Act which passed in 1964, and (particularly close to our hearts here at the MWPC), he passed the Equal Pay Act. 

Signed on June 10, 1963 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the EPA serves to “prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” Far ahead of his time, JFK had a vision for equality, and his EPA  increased women’s salaries vis-à-vis men’s from 62% of men’s earnings in 1970 to 80% in 2004. And, yet, as we Bostonians join the rest of America in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the EPA, JFK’s vision is still in the making. 

Currently, women make on average about twenty-three cents less on every dollar than men. But, the goal of the EPA is nearly within reach, and politicians at the forefront of the ongoing equal rights movement have taken notice. As a senator, Hilary Rodham Clinton, for example, introduced the “Paycheck Fairness Act” in April 2005, which proposed to amend the EPA’s fourth affirmative defense to permit only bona fide factors other than sex that are job-related or serve a legitimate business interest; Rosa DeLauro introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on the same day. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the holding of a Supreme Court case (Ledbetter v. Goodyear) regarding the applicable statue of limitations. 

Still, the Department of Labor has cautioned against jumping to conclusions about sex discrimination with regard to wages, noting after a 2007 study that factors other than sex in the workplace may be attributed to discrepancies in wages. In particular, men tend to dominate blue collar jobs, which are more likely to require cash payments for overtime hours, whereas white collar management jobs, in which women make up over half of the workforce, are often exempt from overtime laws. Additionally, many fields of work that pay higher-than-average wages continue to be male-dominated, another factor that can lend some explanation to wage differentials. 

Hence, parents, teachers, and mentors play a large role in aiding the equal pay cause by encouraging girls and boys alike to pursue careers to their liking, regardless of gender associations. In particular, girls need to be reminded that no field is male-oriented or must remain male-dominated. The government, on the other hand, has the responsibility of upholding the EPA and its successors while aiding the journey to greater equality in the workforce.

After all, JFK had a vision. At a speech at American University in Washington, D.C. on the same day he signed the Equal Pay Act, he declared, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.” 

Although the journey for safe diversity is far from over, the goal for equal wages among sexes is in sight, and we must keep JFK in mind as we sprint toward the finish line. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Charlotte Golar Richie for Mayor!

Experience. When one considers the upcoming mayoral election, he or she undoubtedly seeks a candidate with unique experience applicable to the position. Groundbreaking: surely an ideal mayoral candidate is one unafraid to break down barriers and work toward change. And, in a male-dominated race, Charlotte Golar Richie shines like a beacon representative of these influential qualities (oh, and much, much more). Thus, the MWPC has chosen to endorse Charlotte Golar Richie for Mayor of Boston! 

We at MWPC are more than acquainted with the promising characteristics of Charlotte, as we endorsed her for State Representative for the 5th Suffolk District in 1994, where she served three terms. But, for those of you playing catchup, a mouthful of credentials: Charlotte Golar Richie has represented residents at the local, state, and federal levels, working as a State Representative and Chair of Housing and Urban Development, a position in which she won a $296 million bond bill to build and renovate homes and apartments. Charlotte also served both as a Senior Advisor to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for Federal, State, and Community Affairs and the Executive Director of Deval Patrick’s election committee. She has worked with current Boston Mayor Menino as the Director of the Department of Neighborhood Department during which time she managed over 200 employees and a $100 million budget and issued a groundbreaking (yes, groundbreaking) 18,000 permits for affordable housing across the city. 

And yet, Charlotte Golar Richie is not all business. A mother, wife, and resident of Dorchester for 26 years, Charlotte gives back to others, in and outside of her own community. Internationally, she donated her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and, following the 2010 earthquake, travelled to Haiti with civic leaders to deliver tents and supplies. In Boston, she is a chair and Founding Board Member of Boston’s Higher Ground, a Roxbury-based organization connecting residents to service providers. 

With her strong background in a plethora of areas: federal and state advocacy, political activism, youth education and job training, and housing and community development, it’s no wonder that she feels no intimidation toward running amongst all men. On the contrary, when asked about being the only woman running, Charlotte optimistically notes, “At least there’s one.” She does comment, though, on the nature of politics as a cause for such a skewed outcome by explaining “It’s a reflection of the obstacles women have faced in finding a toehold.” Fearlessly, Charlotte disregards the question of disunity in the race in favor of her love for Boston, her commitment to which she has proved over her extensive career in public service. Should she win, she would break further ground as the first African American Woman in the role of mayor of a large metropolitan city. So, when pollers talk about desiring change, Charlotte brings with her exactly that. 

Charlotte thoughtfully concludes, “I feel that I can bring everybody together. I’ve got practice at that.” And we at MWPC couldn’t agree more. 

For more on Charlotte Golar Richie:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

MWPC Endorses Annissa George for Boston City Council At-Large!

MWPC Endorses Annissa George for Boston City Council At-Large!

       A lifelong Boston resident and mother of four, Annissa is a woman to whom everyone can relate: she is just like you, your mother, a relative, or even a friend. Annissa brings a lot to the table and we at MWPC are thrilled to announce our endorsement of Annissa Essaibi George for Boston City Council At-Large.

       Immersed in her community of Dorchester, Annissa is a teacher at East Boston High School and owns a yarn and fabric shop named Stitch House. Through her passion for sewing, Annissa has made her own designs, even becoming a national finalist in a McCall’s Pattern Company sewing contest, and in college used her creations to pay for meals and outings. In this sense, Annissa is a self-made woman dedicated to her family, her community, and her passions. As a Councilor At-Large, Annissa feels that she could represent residents like her: mothers, teachers, and women.

       As an educator, Annissa keeps issues regarding public education close to her heart. For example, Annissa hopes to make a difference for girls in school by providing them with information about how to negotiate appropriate wages, confidence to advocate for themselves, and challenging academics to prepare them for the workforce. Annissa also desires to increase health education in schools as well as the punishment for human trafficking.

        At the top of her list, though, are Public Safety, Economic Development, and Public Health. Annissa believes in the necessity of both a top notch Police Department and the enactment of an enhanced community policing agenda in order to keep Boston and its residents safe. Economically, Annissa recognizes the importance of revenue created by property taxes and, thus, advocates for good schools, good businesses, and good infrastructures for property values to remain at their current high. Citing the applicability of Public Health to all realms, Annissa also believes that Boston needs to hold for-profit organizations that provide irresponsible services to residents accountable for their impact on neighborhoods.

       Annissa Essaibi George knows what families, neighborhoods, and women in Boston need to prosper, and she eagerly plans to apply her experience and knowledge in the position of Councilor At-Large. Still, Annissa maintains her current roles as mother, teacher, and owner of Stitch House, impacting the lives of Dorchester residents every day. MWPC has faith in Annissa’s ability to make a difference and is proud to endorse her in the upcoming election!

For more about Annissa Essaibi George:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Endorsement for Suzanne Lee

MWPC is pleased to announce our endorsement for Suzanne Lee for Boston City Council in the Second District! We endorsed Suzanne during her last race in 2011 when she came just 97 votes short of defeating the incumbent. As the race was so close last time, MWPC is committed to helping Suzanne bridge that gap this time.

Suzanne is a known and highly regarded activist within her community, organizing the Chinese Parents Association to encourage parents to be more involved in the education of their children. She helped to create the Chinese Progressive Association, an organization committed to equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in Boston, which has fought for the rights of garment workers and stood up against police brutality. Inspired by her family’s experience as immigrants from China, she also worked to establish Boston’s first bilingual job-training program. Suzanne has shown that she is a strong voice for her community and is committed to improving lives in her area.

Suzanne Lee has worked in the Boston Public Schools for 35 years, starting as a teacher during the 1970s. Her experience teaching during the beginning of court ordered busing in Boston strengthened her commitment to bettering education in the city. Since then, she was the principal of the Baldwin School in Brighton and led the extensive reform of this previously underachieving school. She was also the principal of the Josiah Quincy Elementary School which was named one of the Best 100 Elementary Schools in Massachusetts during her time at its helm.

We are excited to once again support former MWPC Board member Suzanne Lee in her run for the Boston City Council. MWPC is proud to stand alongside this longtime advocate for change in her community and our schools!

To learn more, visit Suzanne’s website: