living wage RALLY May 17 c 8th district candidates: Somerville,

Tom Boland (
Thu, 14 May 1998 11:44:44 -0700 (PDT)



For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 12, 1998
Contacts:  Alain Jehlen 617 / 666-9479
           Bill Bumpus 617 / 628-0134


All the leading candidates for Congress in the Eighth District (replacing
Joe Kennedy) have accepted invitations to address a rally this Sunday in
support of the Somerville Living Wage Ordinance.

The Somerville Living Wage Committee and the Cambridge Campaign for a
Living Wage asked the candidates to give their positions on the Living
Wage proposal and on other questions of pay and economic justice.

The rally will be the first event at which the candidates will meet and
discuss a major issue in the race.  It will take place on the steps of
Somerville's City Hall, Sunday, May 17, from 2 to 4 pm.

The candidates who have confirmed they are coming are George Bachrach,
Somerville Mayor Mike Capuano, Marjorie Claprood, Ray Flynn, Thomas Keane,
John O'Connor, and Susan Tracy.

Bob Haynes, secretary-treasurer of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, will also be

The proposed Somerville ordinance, now being studied by the Board of
Aldermen, would require the city and many of its contractors to pay
workers at least $8.03 an hour, which is the amount a full-time worker
needs to support a family of four at the federal poverty level.

A similar law is due to take effect in Boston this summer.  The
Cambridge Campaign for a Living Wage is developing its own version.

The rally comes on the heels of a national conference on living wages
sponsored by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and Boston ACORN.  A
representative from Portland, Oregon, which has had a living wage
ordinance in effect for several years, will come from that conference to
address the rally.

"I'm sure that a lot of people will be watching these speeches closely,"
said Matthew Feigin of the Somerville Living Wage Committee, which proposed
the Somerville ordinance.  "If some of the candidates take an early and
clear stand in support of living wages for working people, it will set them
apart from the pack.  This rally could define the issues in the
Congressional race."

The fact that so many candidates are coming demonstrates the power of
living wages as an issue.  Living wage laws are a national trend, because
they reflect the simple belief that people who work an honest day shouldn't
be poor at the end of it.

The proposed Somerville ordinance was submitted unanimously by all 11
Somerville aldermen, but action has been delayed while the city conducts an
impact study.  The Boston Living Wage law was passed by the City Council
last year by a vote of 11 to 1.  The only councillor in opposition was
Thomas Keane, who is now running for Congress and scheduled to speak at the
Somerville rally.

Other living wage bills have been passed in Baltimore, Minneapolis,
Milwaukee, and other cities and counties across the nation.

	Who:     All leading Eighth District Congressional candidates
      	   Union leaders and living wage supporters
	What:    Rally in support of the Somerville Living Wage Ordinance
	When:    Sunday, May 17, 1998
	         2:00-4:00 p.m.
	Where:   Steps of Somerville City Hall
	         93 Highland Ave.
Alain Jehlen
617 496-7685


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