Tag Archives: economic development

City Manager Augustus, Double Standards Mean Racism! Rally TOMORROW before City Council meeting! Be there!

By Gordon Davis

On April 1, 2016, City of Worcester Chief Development Officer Michael Traynor got out of his car at Worcester City Hall and berated a Black man who was letting his family off on Front Street.

Mr. Traynor admits saying to the Black man “Fucking Asshole.” Mr. Traynor denies he called him a “Fucking Asshole Nigger.”

Of course, the Black motorist complained to the Worcester City Manager’s Office and to Dr. Carter, the recently hired City of Worcester Chief Diversity Officer. 

There was an investigation conducted.

We soon found out that Dr. Carter has no authority or power on racist incidents of which City of Worcester employees are accused.

We also found out that the City of Worcester Human Rights Commission also has no authority to investigate complaints against the City of Worcester.

It is not clear who conducted the investigation into the alleged racist and vulgar slurs said by Mr. Traynor.

During the investigation Mr. Traynor admitted saying “fucking asshole,” but he denied saying “nigger.”

The City of Worcester has not made a copy of the investigation public. It only released a sort of summary to the victim-motorist.

This whole process is a racist double standard.

Most double standards are indications of some sort of discrimination.

In this case, it indicates the racism still rampant in Worcester City Hall. Please recall the malicious prosecution by Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus of the BlackLives Matter protestors, when the WPD police at the scene said there was no criminal activity. The judge in the case also dismissed all criminal complaints and made the matter a civil case.

Also consider that the City of Worcester released to the public private personnel information about the Black workers at Mosaic. The investigative report is not a part of a personnel file and, even if it was, the City of Worcester has released the personnel data of non-City Black workers at Mosaic.

The investigative report on Traynor is a public document, given the public records laws of Massachusetts, and should be made public.

Mr. Traynor has admitted his unprofessional actions by confessing to a road rage incident that included vulgarity.

This unprofessional behavior in itself is sufficient for termination. 

Although he has denied the racial slurs, there is a perception that he is a racist and should no longer be in what should be a public space free from racism – Worcester City Hall.

TOMORROW, TUESDAY, May 17, 2016, a coalition of activists and concerned people, including Mass. Human Rights Committee and the Progressive Labor Party, will hold a protest rally in front of Worcester City Hall, Main Street, at 6 PM.

At 7 PM the group will take their demands to the Worcester City Council.

The demands include releasing the Traynor investigative report, appropriate discipline for Mr. Traynor, and the Worcester City Council adopting a policy of releasing investigative reports to the public for cases involving alleged racism by City of Worcester employees. 

Go, Worcester Community-Labor Coalition, go!!!! TODAY! BE THERE!


TODAY! TUESDAY, January 26

5 p.m.

Worcester City Council Economic Development sub-Committee Meeting

Worcester City Hall

Today the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition and allies will be presenting our proposal for a Worcester TIF Policy to city leaders.

We believe all TIF recipients must meet Worcester’s Equal Opportunity, CORI and Anti-Discrimination policies.

We believe all big developments receiving tax dollars should be built legally and by reputable contractors.

We believe all people who receive jobs through projects created through the TIFs should be guaranteed a livable wage of $15/hr.


Worcester is long overdue for a TIF Policy.

We need better oversight of how our tax dollars are being spent.

Worcester needs a TIF policy that supports targeted economic development without putting an additional burden on taxpayers.

We need to be certain that economic development created because of tax benefits, benefits the members of our community.

TIFs should:

create quality jobs for local residents, both construction and permanent jobs

create job opportunities for our young people

Big developers should be held to a higher standard when receiving tax relief.

PLEASE come to Worcester City Hall to support these proposals! Let Worcester city councilors know you support LOCAL LABOR, LOCAL YOUTH AND A LIVING WAGE!

Worcester FOOD HUB meeting today at Hanover Theater! FREE! Please attend! Fight for food justice! Fight for economic development in Woo! ALSO: ICT Food Hub story by Congressman Jim McGovern


Food hubs grow our local economy, especially immigrant and first-generation endeavors, and they bring produce at affordable prices to inner-city kitchens! 


Once again, from REC …

Building A Sustainable Worcester: Taking Regional Food Hub from Vision to Reality




5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

We invite you to attend a free presentation TODAY,  Thursday, February 19, co-hosted by the Regional Environmental Council, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts

Come learn more about the role food hubs can play in promoting Food Justice while fostering economic development.

FREE tickets can be reserved by calling the theater box office at 877-571-7469 or register online.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts [aka REC] has received a planning grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to explore the feasibility of establishing a Worcester Regional Food Hub in partnership with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Food hubs are broadly defined as facilities that manage the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution or marketing of locally and regionally produced food.

We are thrilled to explore opportunities with diverse community stakeholders to dramatically increase access to healthy, affordable, local food in Worcester, while helping local farmers access new markets.

FOOD HUB Advisory Committee members include:

Central MA Regional Planning Commission

Central MA Workforce Investment Board

City of Worcester Division of Public Health

Clark University, Community Development & Planning Program

Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Smart Cities & Wellness Project

Lettuce Be Local

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Office of Congressman James P. McGovern

UMass Memorial Medical Center

UMass-Amherst Stockbridge School of Agricultural Extension

Worcester County Food Bank

Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Sustainable Food Systems Project Center

Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

REC – Regional Environmental Council

P.O Box 255

Worcester, MA 01613

To learn more visit: http://www.recworcester.org/


InCity Times is passionate about FOOD HUBS! Here’s Congressman Jim McGovern’s InCity Times kick-ass Food Hub cover story! He wrote it for us in 2013.     – R. Tirella


By Congressman Jim McGovern

What if I told you that within a quick drive of Worcester lies an incredible agriculture community you have never seen, touched, or tasted?

In 2010, there were nearly 8,000 farms in Massachusetts, according to the United States Census—the highest number in the state dating back to at least 1978. And that doesn’t count hundreds of additional community and personal operations that fall below the size threshold.

That’s thousands of farmers, right in our backyard. It’s a testament to the long endurance of some family farms, as well as a sign of the returning, growing impact of farms on our local economy and society.

It’s a move that parallels the so-called “locavore movement” towards locally-grown food over the past decades; a demand that has grown as we have all learned about the economic and health benefits to buying and eating local.

Yet, despite the breadth and increasing number of farms in Massachusetts, in our urban centers such as Worcester, there remains a huge physical and emotional disconnect between the producers (the farmers) and the consumers (us).

Despite the presence of some truly admirable local farmers markets, there is a gap in our food infrastructure that prevents food produced in the state from getting to the consumers who want and would benefit from it the most.

As I’ve travelled around the 2nd Congressional District, visiting farms across Central and Western Massachusetts, the most oft-cited challenge relayed to me by small to mid-sized farmers and producers is a lack of processing, packing, and storage space to get their products ready to sell and ship.

It leaves us with a major question: What if we could drastically improve the economic output of local farmers, allowing them to grow their businesses, while simultaneously making good, fresh, healthy, locally grown products more available to consumers who want them in cities like Worcester? It’s clear that if we could bridge that gap, there would be a huge impact on our local, regional, and state economies, as well as a huge societal benefit.

I believe that Worcester can be the epicenter of that impact by being the home of an innovative concept known as a “food hub.”

The word “Food Hub” can encompass a variety of operations, both in terms of size and scale, but the National Food Hub Collaboration defines regional food hubs as “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”

In essence, food hubs allow small and midsized farms reach markets and consumers they’ve never had access to. They provide a central collection point for products from a variety of farms; they provide space and equipment for processing, packing, and storage. And they provide an economy of scale, allowing smaller local farms to pool their products and sell to larger consumers, such as grocery chains.

In many ways, food hubs are a return to the traditional economic values that made Massachusetts and New England so strong. Food hubs allow for a stronger local food economy based on closer relationships between farmers and consumers. They allow institutional buyers, such as hospitals, a greater opportunity to provide the healthy, local food they want to, but can’t always access.

Though food hubs are relatively new, there is a demonstrable positive economic, social, and environmental impact where they are located. Based on the 2011 National Food Hub Collaboration Survey, food hubs gross nearly $1 million in annual sales on average, with many reporting double and triple-digit annual sales growth.

That same survey reported that, although the majority of food hubs have been in operation for five years or less, there is a clear and immediate impact on job opportunities. For example, the Local Food Hub in Virginia, which opened in 2009, had already created 15 paid jobs at its distribution and farm operations. And that says nothing for the spin-off job growth at the farms that utilize the hub. Green B.E.A.N Delivery, a food delivery business that serves Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, estimates that since 2007, the company has invested more than $2 million in local food economies and helped create more than 100 jobs in the Midwest.

I look at those stunning numbers, combined with the growing demand for local food, and it’s clear that a regional food hub belongs here in our city. This is an idea I am passionate about, and one that I plan on continuing to talk about with local, state, and national partners in the coming year.

Food hubs must be a critical piece of how we think about our broader economic development strategy in Massachusetts, and I believe that Worcester is the right location. We have strong local leadership on local food issues, through groups such as REC, and we have a geographic location that makes us an enviable location for any statewide distribution network.

The question for me isn’t whether we’ll see a food hub built somewhere in Central Massachusetts—it’s when and where. We’re a state with agriculture resources beyond what many of us have traditionally realized, and a consumer base chomping at the bit to take advantage of those resources. If we can only build the bridges, we’ll be healthier food wise, and economy wise

Downtown day dreams

By Rosalie Tirella

Driving around downtown Worcester is something I’ve been doing almost every day for the past 13 years – part of running InCity Times. I see what we all know: Our urban hub has zippo hub bub…

But yesterday I was longing, longing, longing, longing for a REAL DOWNTOWN! Like they have in Providence or Hartford … cities smaller and poorer than Worcester. Capital cities, yes, but should we use that as an excuse?

Yesterday, I wanted to do this in my city’s downtown:

Window shop for shoes

Buy a pretty wrist watch

Walk down a Front Street that was filled with people walking one way and people walking the other way

Buy and eat – at a soda fountain! – a hot fudge sundae

Meet a gal pal and catch a movie in the middle of the afternoon

Then go for drinks

Walk down Franklin Street holding hands with a great looking guy, his long hair whipping in the wind

Visit several shops and try on all kinds of pretty, sheer summer dresses

People watch

Strut down the sidewalk wearing a tight skirt and chunky sandals that let me walk kinda fast and feel free even though I am wearing a tight skirt

Throw loose change into the open guitar case of a street musician who is singing an old Bob Dylan song

Bump into someone I haven’t seen for months and chat with the person, standing in the middle of the sidewalk with all the pedestrians forced to walk around us and me having to say to my long-lost friend: We’re gonna get mowed down! Let’s move to the side, over here!

Feel part of something bigger – the human race in all its precarious glory!

Be alone yet feel connected cuz I’m walking with, shopping with, eating with, flirting with, looking at the hundreds of people who are traipsing through, running down, stumbling down, loitering in, shopping in, drinking at, arguing in, kissing in, shaking hands in, shaking fists at, loving, hating, NURTURING MY DOWNTOWN!

Just by showing up.



This is why we look like this!!!! Received this email from City of Worcester today. – R. T.:

“Cancellation of Economic Development Committee Meeting‏





“4:30 P.M”

Worcester working folks need jobs, jobs, jobs

By Rosalie Tirella

It’s heartbreaking that Whole Foods Market is gonna build their new market in SHREWSBURY (at the old Spags site on Rt. 9) and not in Worcester.  There go 175 part- and full-time jobs over the bridge! Bye bye! There they go to join the workers at Trader Joe’s, an organic, healthy foods store in Shrewsbury, a fun place to grocery shop, a place where the prices are low/reasonable, a place where I often get my fruits and veggies and cheeses, and even great greeting cards, for a buck!

A place I’d like to patronize IN WORCESTER, my home turf! A store I’d like to see employing my District 4 neighbors! Good people who used to have jobs but were laid off and are looking to rejoin the American workforce, in all its shabby glory.

WHAT IS WRONG, Worcester?


Why aren’t we wooing companies like Whole Foods Market to Worcester?

Why isn’t anyone doing the leg work to meet company heads from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY  to sell our great city to them?!


We have the upper-middle and middle-class folks to support a Whole Foods! Just like we have the solidly middle class people to support a Trader Joe’s!

While Worcester chamber of commerce head Tim Murray is bending over backwards pushing for the city to give tax breaks to bio tech companies to lure them to Woo, a good thing, I guess, he’s forgotten the working men and women. Probably because we’re mundane, our jobs not trendy or cool – unsexy. BUT: With our state minimum wage slated to increase (eventually) to $11 an hour, the 175 Whole Food jobs that are gonna go to Shrewsbury (in 2016) would have been a genuine boon to Worcester’s working class folks.

Our factories, for the most part, are long gone. Regular folks need regular jobs! It’s unrealistic to think every laid off short order cook or janitor is gonna go back to school or take night classes and join the new economy. Why not provide these basic jobs that keep people in my District 4 neighborhood afloat, in their apartments, driving their cars?

When the casino was rejected by Worcester and vice versa, I bumped into a 50-something guy who bemoaned the fact. He was a laid off short order cook and had been looking for a job for months.Sent out more than 150 resumes. He got a few nibbles, nothing substantial. The guy was hoping to get a cooking or kitchen job with the casino.

I told him: Well, the jobs weren’t going to be so great – just pay around $27,000 a year, not in the mid-$40s, like the city had thought.

He said: I’LL TAKE IT!!!!!!

A job, no matter what kind, = $$$$ to pay bills. Plus it’s DIGNITY for a lot of folks who’ve taken it on the chin maybe their whole lives, and NEED to feel needed, appreciated, important. My late mom worked at a dry cleaners for minimum wage –  for decades! – and LOVED HER JOB. She was a counter girl, took in people’s clothing,  gave them their dry cleaned or laundered stuff and worked the cash register.  She was a people person ALL THE WAY, totally enjoyed interacting with the public. Polite, well groomed, smart, well spoken. Her job was a huge part of her identity!  In the best way possible! I’ll never forget:  Every Christmas,  even Valentine’s Day, she was always loaded up with gifts her customers would give her. She was a working-class queen! For a few days, any ways!

We need to remember this. No job too small. No job too mundane.  I’m all for bio tech. But I’m for Whole Foods Market, too.

A STRONG MAYOR WOULD BE HUSTLING FOR MY SHORT ORDER COOK PAL and Woo working people in general. He or she would  want their votes. NEED THEIR SUPPORT.

Can you imagine somone running for strong mayor of Worcester, his or her platform being: JOBS FOR ALL!

Jobs for any Worcester guy or gal who needs a job, which is every adult pretty much.



Urban renewal! Main South’s Junction Shops Mill Project!

By Ron O’Clair  (photo by Ron O’Clair)


A couple of days before Christmas of 2011, Brady Sullivan Properties, a real estate development company out of Manchester, New Hampshire plunked down $1.1 Million dollars to purchase the long vacant and derelict factory complex that dominates the skyline on Beacon Street here in the City of Worcester.

The buildings had gone to seed, the roofs were leaking, the windows were broken, the pipes had frozen and burst, in short, the place was one step away from the wrecking ball when it was sold to a developer that wanted to reclaim this Worcester landmark and turn it into market rate apartments.
Other people over the years that it lay dormant had envisioned turning the place around, and giving it a renewed lease on usability to bring it into the future along with our fair city, which is the 2nd largest in the entire New England area.

Worcester was long noted as a manufacturing hub, and it was because of that capacity to produce goods that Worcester attracted the many different types of immigrants who came to our city looking for a better way of life than that they had known wherever it was they came from. People from all over the world have chosen to make Worcester, Massachusetts their home, primarily for the opportunities for advancement that this city offered for them.

That was especially true when I was growing up and Worcester still had many factories producing goods that were shipped out of Worcester to the various places around the globe where they were needed. You could find a job here in the city without even trying hard.

Brown Shoe on Hammond Street was a major source of Worcester pride in quality manufacturing, there was Chess King right on the same street, Hammond Street that made all sorts of apparel for sale in shops here in the city and elsewhere, there was Thom McCann out on Millbrook Street, another shoe manufacturer. There was Worcester Knitting Company on Brussels Street near where Rotman’s Furniture is today, they made knit goods like sweaters and polo shirts for sale all over the world. I worked there in the early 1980’s myself as an assistant building maintenance man, and night watchman.
The list of factories that used to dot the Worcester landscape is long and was impressive in the total output of goods that were manufactured here in Worcester for sale here at home and elsewhere. A legacy of this history of manufacturing is that there are lots of vacant factory buildings that are getting more run down as time goes on, and many have succumbed to the wrecking ball of time already, such as Standard Tool on Shrewsbury Street to name just one example of a major manufacturer that closed its doors and took its place in the history of Worcester books.

Thanks to Mr. Shane Brady, CEO of Brady & Sullivan Properties and his frequent visits to his daughter when she was enrolled in out prestigious Clark University in Main South, the Junction Mill Shops Project got underway, and is making good progress towards reuse of long abandoned and vacant manufacturing space. Turning an eyesore into something that Worcester will be proud to have fully functional and in use once again.

There are going to be over 100 apartments in the complex. That is 100 plus families that will come to Worcester to settle here in our great melting pot of a city, looking for a better life for them and their children. Worcester has one of the finest public education programs in the country as witnessed by the recent visit of our President Barack Obama to honor students from Worcester Technical High School. I have long said that Worcester has one of the finest public school systems to be found anywhere in the country, and that visit by the President bears out my assertion.
Now if we could only attract the manufacturers back to hire some of those people…..

The Junction Mill Shops Project is underway, there is a completion date sometime in the near future, I was unable to have the management contact me to get the specifics of the anticipated completion date, or the exact number of rental units there will be in the finished product, but anything that helps to transform that area from a vacant expanse of derelict buildings into modern homes for families has to be a positive for the City of Worcester.

The recent crackdown I initiated in the 700 Block of Main Street with increased enforcement against the drug dealers that frequent this neighborhood is also a step in the right direction and I thank the Worcester Police for taking my complaints seriously and acting to curb illegal activity that was a constant disturbance for my tenants here on Main Street during the nocturnal hours of each and every night.

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Shane Brady, the CEO of Brady & Sullivan Properties for saving those old mill buildings and making them thrive once again.

I drove into Hartford …

By Rosalie Tirella

… a few days ago to do some city exploring and visit some old stomping grounds.  I was there years ago, and back then Hartford was, in many ways, shabbier than the Worcester of almost two decades ago. …

But two days ago it was like … WOW.  Their downtown freaking blossomed during the last 15 or so years! Looked fantastic. Looked cosmopolitan. Looked bustling and hip and busy, busy, busy. Call it a mecca!  Call it a hub! Call it hubba hubba! Call it A REAL DOWNTOWN.

When I was there many moons ago the captal of Connecticut had long ceased to be the insurance capital of America. You’d go downtown to the art museum on a Saturday and the city would be a ghost town. During the work week it was busy, as the folks from West Hartford, Wethersfield, Bloomfield and other suburbs commuted into work, but the core of Hartford looked and felt a lot like Worcester’s core. Maybe a bit buzzier but still kinda old, outdated … not at all exciting. Zzzzzzzzz…

Then WHAM! BAM! BOOM! Two days ago I saw a totally revived downtown Hartford: It had pizzazz! It was cool, vibrant, artsy, big biz/small biz-ridden, chock full of busy people of all ages, colors and walks of life.  People actually looked pumped to be making their way down the streets. I wanted to be a part of it! Just one of a million peeps running their lives, together, diverse, engaged with their city.

Why does downtown Worcester still suck? Why does it still look pretty much the way it did 15 years ago? Yes, our neighborhoods put Hartford’s to shame. From the few Hartford hoods I was in, they felt just as dangerous and looked just as poor as they did almost 20 years ago. Hartford  just doesn’t have a west side, Burncoat or many other fab WOO-like hoods.


Let’s not argue them versus us. Let’s admit that an incredible downtown like Hartford’s would make Worcester pretty much purr-fect!

So … is it our city manager form of government that keeps downtown Woo back? Is it stupid, brain-dead Woo city movers and shakers who just don’t have the talent or ambition to aggressively get new biz to move to Worcester, bring new ideas to the table? Is it the stifling Worcester nepotism that enables mediocre city leaders to stuff our tax payer-financed city government with their uninspired and uninspiring moron pals and relatives? Is it the vicious Worcester back-biting that can leave folks black-balled for years? Is it our urban factions, cliques filled with self-righteous prigs who refuse to work with folks who have different world views, different styles of talking, writing, living, BEING? Is it Catholicism at its most puritanical, punitive, circumscribed, SHITTY?

I don’t know what the causes are for our still pretty lackluster downtown. But I do know, Worcester, we better get moving!

Meeting Tim, Worcester’s economic development czar

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday, at the Worcester Common Ground CDC celebration at the CDC’s tot lot in the heart of our inner city, I got a chance to button-hole, “interview” the city’s two economic development guys. Guys I had been trying to track down the day before at ol City Hall. I had some questions about the city’s new take on building affordable housing for Woo residents. After all, almost half of Worcester’s population is eligible for affordable housing.

First Miguel Rivera, a guy who works for economic development czar Tim Mcgourthy. It was such a pretty day yesterday! Everyone seemed to be having such a good time at the CDC tot lot! You would think all the food and good vibes would have loosened Rivera up some. Nope. All smiles, he offered nothing of value. Said he couldn’t and wouldn’t discuss the city’s CDCs. Said he wasn’t allowed to.

After the event, I checked my email. I had gotten an email from his city hall secretary, Amanda R. Amanda said Miguel wanted to know what questions I would be asking him if I interviewed him. Better yet, could I email her the questions?

Who are these pointless people? I mean, is this New York City? Are we living in Gotham, for cripe’s sake? Third-tier Worcester deserves at the very least workman like, basic, human interactions. Nothing fancy. Stop the games and let me ask a guy, a city employee, some fucking questions in his fucking office. Public’s right to know and all. I answered Amanda’s email. Told her I had button holed Miguel at a city event and that people like her made city government … pointless. Were a detriment to citizens understanding their city. Thanks for nothing.

Why are so many women TOOLS? I mean, you can be a secretary and still think for yourself!

2. Tim Mcgourthy, Worcester’s Chief Economic Development czar. The guy who holds the keys, or at least some of them, when it comes to housing and business development in our city.

I was pleasantly surprised. Tim is a nice guy. Very nice guy. Awfully friendly. I would call him down to earth and even sweet. He is the kinda guy women call adorable. At the event yesterday, he gave a very nice little speech in support of the work the WCG CDC was doing. He hung around and talked with folks and he let me ask him questions and tell him my reservations about the city’s affordable housing policy, new and supposedly improved.

Tim said he supports the CDCs but that he wants to open up the affordable housing building game to more peeps. And he wanted more home ownership. He said if developers want federal funds to build units then they HAVE TO CHARGE AFFORDABLE RENTS FOR THE UNITS. Made sense to me. I told him it would be great if all of his department’s ideas, the city’s housing master plan, was made available to folks IN HARD COPY at neighborhood centers, the YMCA and YWCA, churches, barber shops, places where Worcester people could read it, digest it, discuss it. I said the city’s huge report, a tome or door stop if ever there was one, was hard to understand. Tim agreed, said there should be a way to get thus important information out into the community.

Then I said, I think if you want to make three decker home ownership a reality for more people, the city needs to set aside A HELL OF A LOT MORE MONEY FOR DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE, REHAB ASSISTANCE. I told him I was looking at three deckers in the inner city – all I could afford – and the buildings I saw were in horrible shape, often times vandalized. Cut up into teeny apts. Copper wire pulled out. Gutted bathrooms. How was a regular working person gonna fix those disasters? The city needs to put aside so much more money for rehab. Our great old buildings have been si abused.

I also told him all the city’s talk about homeownership for all seemed very pie in the sky. Very unrealistic. I told Tim at the last city economic development subcommittee meeting, the city sounded like President George W. Bush right before he created the housing bubble.

Tim listened to my concerns. Seemed to actually care about people making good housing decisions. He said some folks would be renters and that the city has to offer them good housing choices, too.

I believe Tim M. us a good person. He said he wasn’t anti CDC and I believed him. He is such a likeable person it was hard not to believe him, doubt his good intentions. The sun shone brightly on the folks at the WCG CDC celebration yesterday. It shone brightly on Tim Mcgourthy.

Raise the minimum wage!

By Rosalie Tirella

Reports on the US economy trouble me. Specifically the sections about job growth. Seems here in America, jobs are growing in three categories: retail, restaurant, and temp help.

Scary. The lowest paying jobs. The jobs with no or few benefits like health insurance. The jobs no one takes unless they have their backs against the wall. The minimum wage jobs. The Wal Mart jobs. The jobs that barely come with anything but an $8 an hour paycheck. Usually for part time work.

Contrary to stereotypes, minimum wage jobs aren’t held by kids looking for some after school spending money or a bit of work experience. The majority of minimum wage jobs in America are held by adults who are trying to pay their bills, even raise families.

Does America need more people, many women, stuck in grueling poverty? Do we need a shot in our spending arm? The answers, no and yes, respectively, can be achieved if we raise the minimum wage to $10 or $11 an hour. By raising the minimum wage, we lift millions of people out of a kind of indentured servitude. By raising the minimum wage we will pump billions of dollars back into the economy as these workers take to the stores and shops and spend their bigger paychecks on goods their families need. Maybe a new refrigerator or a used car or even more groceries. Trust me, none of the dough will be socked away in a CD, etc. It will be spent, plowed back into the economy, making local businesses stronger, more profitable.

The multi-billion dollar big box retail stores can afford to pay their employees $11 an hour. Even local mom and pop businesses can, even though they will deny it.

Here in Massachusetts, the minimum wage of $8 an hour has not been raised since 2008. Pathetic for such a progressive, forward leaning state such as ours. Brutal for folks who play by the rules, go to work and work hard each day.

It is only fair that if you have a work ethic and go to work every day and work 40 hours a week that you earn enough money to pay your rent, buy groceries, etc. It’s called earning a living wage.

The fact that in America the minimum wage type jobs are growing like gang busters is depressing. It means all our factories are dead and that no big, I MEAN BIG, economic powerhouse has risen to take industry’s place. Renewable energy, bio tech, video game design. Add it all up and for most Americans, the equation equals shit.

We have to do better by people who in the 1940s or 1950s would have had a secure lower middle class life, complete with tiny ranch or cape a family car and maybe dreams of college for their kids.

We cannot keep creating and perpetuating a slave class, an under-class. This is America! This country is supposed to be about upward mobility … the American dream. Don’t let the dream die.